Manager of Lobi Stars, Gbenga Ogunbote has joined in the call for invitation of home-based players for international assignments with the national team.
Head coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, has repeatedly been criticized ignoring players who ply their trade in Nigeria and selecting his team from players abroad.
Rohr has only Enyimba goalie, Ikechukwu Ezenwa who is a third choice goalkeeper in his team, as the only home-based player in Super Eagles, and has repeatedly claimed that Nigeria’s best players are based in Europe.
Ogunbote, speaking to Punch on the matter, defended players of the Nigeria Professional League, saying they can excel in the Super Eagles if given equal opportunities with their overseas-based counterparts.
The former Sunshine Stars coach, having worked with several players in the Nigerian topflight, said he was convinced of their qualities and believes they can do well in the Eagles.
“If they say the [Nigerian] league can’t produce top-class players for the national team, we have to first deal with the segregation,” said Ogunbote.
“What you need to do is to give them a room to express themselves, create room for doubt but make sure they get equal opportunities like the overseas-based players.
“We need to tackle the segregation. The moment a player leaves the country, he gets invited to the national team. Did he travel without playing in the league? He started from the league before going to Europe.
“The thing is, we are underestimating the value of home-based players; give them consideration and then you can make your judgment.”
Lobi Stars currently sit on third spot behind Plateau United and Rivers United in the NPFL, with 25 games already played.