It was joy unspeakable as the young Three Lions of England won the FIFA U20 World Cup in South Korea, a feat England had never achieved save for the FIFA World Cup they won in 1966.

The English however achieved this feat using all available mercenaries. Notably amongst these were six players of Nigerian descent.

From Dominic Solanke who won the golden Ball to Ademola Lookman, Sheyi Ojo, Fikayo Tomori, Josh Onomah and Ovie Ejaria.

The six jewels are part of England’s success which now gives Nigeria a perceived deception.

Nigeria, as the largest football-playing black country in the world, is known for her football artistry and mass production of footballers for global benefit. With names such as Rashidi Yekini, Stephen Keshi, Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, just to mention but a few. These are football legends made out of Nigeria.

Ademola Lookman plays for EVerton FC (Photo: Skysports)
Ademola Lookman plays for EVerton FC (Photo: Skysports)

At a time when Nigeria football is greatly ill and in need of a surgeon to revive its life, a golden generation of footballers of Nigerian descent are emerging in Europe but, unfortunately they’re all representing their countries of birth with exception of a few.

The Nigeria Football Federation, which is saddled with the responsibility of developing young footballers in Nigeria, have also embarked on a wild goose chase of pleading or begging every rising star of Nigerian descent who has associated himself with an European country to come back home and represent their fatherland.

The glittering starlets discovered across Europe now confuse our tired willingness to develop the battalion home-grown prospects. We now want to reap from where we did not sow.

In late Fela Anikulapo’s music he called such “Baba nla Nonsense” (a big stupidity).

For every critically thinking mind, it would be unfair for Nigeria to go poaching Dominic Solanke and the rest of them when the facts are there to show that these boys grew up in the United Kingdom and were painstakingly trained by various academies and clubs in the United Kingdom. So, let England enjoy the fruits of her labour.

If Nigeria could produce great players such as Jay Jay Okocha and Kanu Nwankwo who went on to achieve great things for the country and individually, then we need not concentrate our energy on chasing diaspora-born Nigerian players.
More so, with Victor Anichebe dumping Nigeria after winning a silver medal with the Nigeria U-23 team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, citing an injury he picked up while playing for the Nigeria during a qualifier which the Nigeria Football Federation failed to show concern about, shows lack of patriotism from the player.

Victor Moses is the latest player/actor who skips or selects matches he wants to play for Nigeria, especially after winning the Nations Cup and playing at the World Cup in Nigeria’s colours. These are players Nigeria begged to put on the green and white jersey. Hence, they apparently do not know what it takes to put on the colours.

Observations have shown that the diaspora-born players we beg to represent us will always run away when the jungle matures or when they feel slightly uncomfortable with our way of doing things.

Nigeria should develop her youth system and it will blossom again. Any diaspora-born player that deems it worthy to represent his fatherland will be the one to come look for us and not Nigeria running after them.