*Says over 460 players of Nigerian descent being monitored
Technical Assistant to Super Eagles Head Coach and Head of Scouting, Mr. Tunde Adelakun has disclosed that Nigeria has well over 460 players of Nigerian descent abroad, but it requires skill and tactics to make them switch allegiance, AOIFootball.com reports.
Adelakun, who made clarifications on the progress made in the area of scouting exclusively to AOIFootball.com, said they have made appreciable progress locating Nigerian talents both abroad and locally and recruiting them for the national team.
“We have made appreciable progress in scouting for players. We have a database of over 460 active Nigerians playing in various leagues abroad and the exploits of none of them goes unnoticed every week because we have a network of scouts who give us weekly updates.
“We also rely on our coaches based in Nigeria to look at our domestic league and report on players that might merit a national team call-up. We also now have a huge glut of diaspora Nigerians in various countries that we are tracking and working on.
“Our scouting project has been largely successful over the past three years since we started,” Adelakun said excitedly.
He, however, added that the task hasn’t been easy because going after players of Nigerian descent requires some level of professional courtesy and tactics or everything would go down south.
“It has not been easy. Obviously, talented players born and raised in other countries would be on the radar of their habitat association from youth level. After all, they must have grown up in their system. So, convincing them is a task that has always required tact. We can’t go in all guns blazing and claiming entitlement to them.
“We are not highhanded in our approach but rather rely on our strategies and powers to convince them to come and belong to the Nigerian project that we are building.
“We also show them good examples will be beneficial to us and that will enhance their careers in the long run. We have done well so far, as many of those we have convinced over time have indeed added strength and value to our national team,” Adelakun said further.
Asked about more quality additions like Ebere Eze, especially Chuba Akpom who in September told the press he’s now eligible to play for Nigeria, Adelakun said he and his team would follow the necessary protocol and carry out their investigations.
“We now have four months to work and will continue to search for players who are eligible. We, however, need to be careful and strategic and not just go for any player that is available and declares himself willing and ready.
“We have to be sure he has the skill in the area we need reinforcements. We have many players that we are looking at and we are working assiduously to make the best happen. We have a good track record so far and this encourages more youngsters to want to join this beautiful project,” Adelakun concluded.