Director General of the National Sports Commission, Gbenga Elegbeleye has thrown his weight behind the inclusion of some Golden Eaglets players in the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) bound Home based Eagles.
The former Legislator disclosed in Abuja Friday that the U- 17 World Champions paraded some quality and talented players that can prove their mettle in the senior home based team.
“Looking at the way the Golden Eaglets played at the last FIFA U- 17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) it showed clearly that the team possesses quality players that can deliver. At the same time if you look at their age they are not bad to be included in the Coach Stephen Keshi tutored Home Based Eagles that will campaign in next year’s Africa Nations Championship (CHAN).
“Brazil legend, Pele if you recall played in the World Cup at the age of 17 and we have other world stars that also made their senior national team squad for the World Cup so I don’t think it is bad at all to include these teenage stars in the CHAN squad. Some of them are good enough to make the Eagles squad for the competition. Why not? I am sure they will prove their quality if selected”, the NSC boss disclosed.
The former Legislators, however, said that it will be hard keeping together the Eaglets players for future sake. He believes that the players should move up the ladder to the Flying Eagles and continue to grow and mature.
“It is practically impossible to keep the Eaglets players together for a period of time because they have to go to clubs and play for their living. These young stars are already hot properties in Europe as a result of their exploits at the FIFA U- 17 World Cup in UAE. So there is no way we can keep them together here in Nigeria.
“The plan is that they will graduate from U- 17 National team to the Flying Eagles. I also sincerely support that two of the Eaglets coaches move up the ladder to the Flying Eagles team while the other two stay to begin to scout for new players for the U-17 National team.
“We will try to find a way through proper monitoring of the Golden Eaglets players by the Nigeria Football Federation and they will follow up with the activities and progress of these young and enterprising youngsters wherever they choses to ply their football trade. We can’t keep them together now. They have to go and develop themselves and also make a living out of football. What they need at this stage is nurturing through their coaches and the NFF. The National Sports Commission too will continue to oversee this,” Elegbeleye assured.