Former Nigeria international George Finidi has given possible reasons why players from the Nigerian League no longer move to big European clubs and why those who make it abroad often struggle to impress.
Finidi, in his heydays, left the Nigerian League straight to the first team of Ajax Amsterdam and won several laurels with the Dutch football club, including the prestigious UEFA Champions League.
Apart from Finidi, a few other players like Taiye Taiwo also moved from the local league straight to the mainstream in Europe.
Taiwo moved from Lobi Stars to the French side Olympique Marseille and was a super regular with the Ligue 1 giants.
Several years down the line, the case is very different and Finidi speaking from his base in Spain blames the downturn chiefly on the dropped standards in the league compared to what it used to be.
He said: “On the part of why players are not breaking through, it could be because the league is not that competitive anymore, the level has dropped, so when most players find themselves in Europe and see that the level of football there is a little bit higher than what they are used to, they find it difficult to cope, I think that is the major problem most of our players are having in Europe.
“They always perform well back at home but when you pick them and take them to Europe, the performance dropped, it’s just the way of adapting, if you as a player find it difficult to adapt to the way of play, then you drop out of the reckoning and that’s where the problem lies,” the former Real Betis of Spain winger added.
Ready to coach
In a related development, while Finidi is believed to be eyeing a coaching job with any of Nigeria’s national football teams, he said he would not turn down an offer from a Nigerian club if the working conditions are good enough for him.
“It is not that I don’t want to coach any Premiership club in Nigeria, if I have to coach in Nigeria, then I will need the assurance that salary is going to be paid as at when due, players will be taken care of, there will be no problems in doing that and the travelling condition will be okay.
“For now, I don’t think clubs are ready to do that, most of the clubs are run by the government, sometimes you have such problems.
“If there is a club ready to meet all these conditions, I am willing to go back, train and do the job back there in Nigeria, but everything must be taken into consideration.
“If the atmosphere is good, all the criteria are met, some of us are ready to go back and handle clubs,” Finidi concluded.
Before now, ex-internationals like Augustine Equavoen, Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Amuneke have tried out as coaches with different Nigerian clubs.