Golden Eagles head coach Fatai Amoo has had a tough time selecting players for the Nigerian U-17 national team with preparations in top gear for the team’s future engagements
The Nigeria Football Federation has frowned at player-managers, football agents, coaches, and even parents of football players who have been employing underhand tactics to get their wards into the Nigerian national cadet team.
The nation’s top football body has issued a strong warning against such sharp practices and has expressed its readiness to prosecute anyone found culpable.
The newly appointed Fatai Amoo-led coaching team have been charged with putting together a team capable of adequately representing Nigeria at the continental and global level.
But selecting a worthy group of top quality youngsters has been a challenge with several reports emanating from the national camp of some persons who demanded bribes from parents of young players to put their wards in the camp of the U17 Boys National Team, Golden Eaglets.
NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, disclosing on the NFF’s website, said the practice would no longer be tolerated.
“We have given strict instructions to the coaches of the U17 National Team, to the effect that no parent or agent or player-manager, or anyone under any guise or pretext, should pay any money to have their ward in the camp,” he said.
“Everything must be based on merit, from the invitation of players to camp to those who eventually make the team for any match or competition.
“The NFF is monitoring the situation and will not hesitate to go as far as prosecuting any individual who engages in exchange for money or other gratification to have players in camp, even a parent. This is a very serious warning, and we are not joking.”
Sanusi stated that the warning applies to all categories of National Teams.
“I have decided to centre this warning around the U17 team because this is where the practice appears to be most rampant. However, it applies to all the National Teams. The U20 National Team is also in camp, and the coaches have been handed similar instructions.
“Anyone found to be offering or collecting gratification to have a player in camp or make a team would face the full wrath of the law.”
The U17 AFCON qualifiers will kick off on December 5 in the Benin Republic, with Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria all expected to feature.
The top two teams from this qualifying series will qualify for the U17 AFCON slated for Morocco next year.
Five-time world champions Nigeria finished third at last year’s AFCON in Tanzania to qualify for the U17 World Cup in Brazil, where the Golden Eaglets crashed out in the knockout rounds.