Monday, 19th April 2021, will go down as one of the craziest days in modern football history after fans woke up to the news that 12 major clubs have decided to create a new competition called the European Super League.
Please make no mistake, the rumour has been ongoing for a while, and it even forced FIFA to release a statement that any player that participates in the competition would be banned from playing at the World Cup.
But yesterday, the reports gained more intensity with news emerging that official confirmation from all the 12 clubs was imminent.
And late last night, fans fears were confirmed as the big six clubs in the English Premier League, three clubs from the Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A, respectively, confirmed the creation of the European Super League.
The clubs involved are Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
It’s important to state that greed is the only reason behind this as these clubs feel they deserve more money, and they are being cheated by UEFA, but this is not a discussion for today.
However, the creation of the ESL will definitely have a massive impact on the players, including the Super Eagles stars.
Shortly after the 12 clubs confirmed their decision, UEFA and the federations of these clubs released a statement, saying the clubs would be banned from their domestic leagues. At the same time, their players will be denied from participating in international competitions.
FIFA also released a statement echoing what UEFA had said. With almost all the Super Eagles squad players plying their trade abroad, what does FIFA’S statement mean for the Nigerian team?
Right now, the Super Eagles are not in danger of losing their players for the 2022 World Cup, as none of their players currently play for the clubs mentioned above.
However, that could all change when the transfer window opens in the summer. Also, there are rumours that Porto have been invited to join the ESR, which means Zaidu Sanusi could miss Nigeria’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
Pinto da Costa: "There were some informal talks from some clubs asking Porto to join the Super League – but we did not pay much attention. Porto will not participate in something that's against the European Union & UEFA rules. We want to be in UCL."#FCPorto #SomosPorto #UCL pic.twitter.com/lXCjk23Tuo
— Portista (@FCPortoGlobal) April 19, 2021
But while it’s good news that the Nigerian national team won’t be affected, it also highlights the drop in quality of Nigerian players in recent times.
Back in the 90s, Nigeria had players like Kanu Nwankwo, Victor Ikpeba, Finidi George and Sunday Oliseh playing for top European clubs.
But since the turn of the new millennium, the standards have dropped, and it shows the quality of players the country has been producing.
Players from Gabon, Algeria, Morocco, Senegal, Guinea and Ivory Coast are well represented at these clubs, but Nigeria cannot boast of a single player in 12 of Europe’s top clubs.
Although the quality has improved recently with the likes of Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi at Napoli and Leicester City, respectively, it’s still a disappointment that the country does not have one player in any of Europe’s biggest clubs.
The fallout of the ESR is likely not going to have an effect on the Super Eagles World Cup chances, but it also shows that the demand for Nigerian players at top clubs in Europe has fallen drastically.