Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries Football Club (MFM) Coach, Tony Bolus, believes Nigerian players have not won the prestigious CAF African Footballer of the Year award in recent times because the country has failed to develop talented footballers from the grassroots.
Speaking said in Lagos at the weekend, Bolus noted that all the Nigerian players that won the African award in the past were discovered and nurtured in the country before they moved abroad to continue their career.
According to the coach, without adequate planning to discover and nurture talents, Nigeria cannot produce players with the talent to challenge their mates from other countries.
“Nigerian players have failed in the CAF award because the country no longer has credible coaches at the grassroots to discover talents. It is not a coincidence that all the players that have won the award from Nigeria in the past like Emmanuel Amuneke, the late Rashidi Yekini, Kanu Nwankwo, and Victor Ikpeba were discovered in the country.
“They played for clubs in Nigeria before they became world-famous. No Nigerian player born abroad has ever won the award. This shows that there is something lacking in the aspect of the development of the game in recent times.
“The football academies, which were supposed to serve as a nursery to Nigerian clubs and the cadet national teams have now become to places where players are sold to foreign clubs. Some go or going into partnership with foreign clubs in strictly business and money-making venture.
“How can a country grow in football and produce great footballers with Nigerian spirit as we had before if things are not done the right way. All stakeholders should come together to salvage the situation,” he said.
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