Mr. Laloko believes Nigeria’s key to winning the nations cup was using local based players.
A former Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Association, NFA, Kashimawo Laloko, has praised the Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, for ending the “Era of Big Boy” football in Nigeria.
Mr. Laloko’s remark came against the backdrop of the Super Eagles, under Keshi, winning the prestigious 2013 African Nations Cup after defeating the Stallions of Burkina-Faso 1-0 in the finals on Feb. 9 in South Africa.
Mr. Laloko told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos that Keshi had taken the bold step that other coaches could not take by fielding local players in his team.
He commended Keshi, saying that the achievement of the AFCON had brought Nigeria back into reckoning in the world of football.
According to him, the local players put in all their efforts in their matches unlike their foreign counterparts who always play “Big Boy Football”.
“Not everyone supported Keshi in the first place when he named his AFCON squad with majority of local players,” Mr. Laloko said.
“But he has been vindicated now that the same rejected squad has now become the toast of every football fan, an aftermath of their wining the AFCON cup 19 years after.
“I think Keshi believed in the strength of the local leagues and players because this have eroded the era of big boy game introduced by the Nigeria foreign players,’’ he said.
Mr. Laloko, who is also the proprietor of Pepsi Football Academy, Abeokuta, said that Keshi has instilled hope and confidence in the upcoming local players that they can graduate to the national team.
He urged other national coaches to emulate Keshi for the efforts of the local players who play in the local leagues not to be in vain.
“We grassroots coaches are also happy that our efforts will not be in vain because our players have the hope of graduating to the national team one day,” he said.
He also appealed to the National Sports Commission (NSC) to improve the local league and grassroots football, to be a breeding ground for future champions.