NFF counts on NPL birds
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has passed a vote of confidence on domestically-based players of the national team with a declaration that they are good enough to make the cut for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Nigeria Premier League (NPL) has been on hiatus following the conclusion of the 2011/12 season leading to concerns from some quarters that local talent may struggle for fitness as national team head coach, Stephen Keshi opens his Afcon preparatory camp on December 17.
Spokesman of the NFF, Ademola Olajire has now allayed such fears insisting that the home-based stars will be as fit as their foreign-based counterparts when the camp opens.
“The camp of the home-based professionals will open on the December 17. The home boys have done a lot of work so far under Stephen Keshi. He has confidence in them as exemplified by the number included in the squad for the last international friendly against Venezuela and they did well,” Olajire told supersport.com.
Olajire also stated that the failure of the 2012/13 season to kick-off as scheduled will not be detrimental to the performance of the players.
“The fact they have not been playing won’t really affect them. When they come to camp on the 17th, the head coach will be able to look at them. We believe they will not be that bad. There are some (NPL) clubs involved in pre-season knockabouts here and there. So I don’t want to believe that the players are totally idle,” he said.
Nigeria are in Group C at the 2013 Afcon alongside Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and champions, Zambia.
The Super Eagles get their campaign underway on January 21 at the Mbombela Stadium, Nespruit against Burkina Faso’s Stallions.