Nigeria senior men’s national team coach, Sunday Oliseh, has shed more light on his main criterion for selection of players for international duties.
During his presentation by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Wednesday, the ex-international highlighted he will only consider players who are featuring regularly for clubs in top flight leagues either in Nigeria or elsewhere.
He went further to stress that players who have impressed at various youth levels “are the only exception to this rule.” But considering the fact that there are national team players whose clubs have been relegated to lower leagues, it was imperative for the coach to set the record straight.
And speaking to veteran Nigerian sport broadcaster, Colin Udoh, hours after the ceremony in Abuja, the 40-year-old was able to add few more special conditions which could have him bend his rules in the future.
“For players who are already in the national team and performing at a high level, they will not be thrown (out) just like that,” Oliseh told ColinUdoh.com.
“But to keep their place in the team, they will have to maintain the same level of performance.
“Also we will give them a reasonable time to find new clubs in a top division. Even if it is on loan. After that time, and especially if their performance drops, we will have no choice but to find those who are playing at a higher level.”
Explaining the basis for his decision, Oliseh cited the lack of “time” to begin tutoring players (especially when you have to build a team around certain deteriorating players).
“At national team level, there is no time to teach players. You can only manage them to play in a certain way, at a certain tempo. And players who are playing in top divisions are already used to that sort of high level tempo.
“At the same time, we cannot have players who are complacent to have, just have a club. We want players who are hungry to achieve more and improve themselves and if you are not getting regular playing time at one club, you should aspire to. One to where you can play regularly and challenge yourself against the best.”