I have used the expression ‘gave up’ because there are many who would have said – given our legendary a-bird-in-hand mentality – “forget it, this Spain opportunity we can see, what if we don’t win in Cairo, we would have lost both ways”. C’mon people, if we are ever going to make the NPFL great again it would come from the great stories of conquest at home and abroad, not having our clubs being easy meat.
Our clubs cannot be subservient to our national teams or in this case a PR tour. A variant of this that I have in the past howled against is our clubs having to release their key players to national team camps weeks at a time while the league is ongoing. In South Africa clubs only release their players during the FIFA windows, why not the same with us? Again I say, it is the league that is the business not the national teams.
Even worse is that, while in South Africa the PSL players form a majority of the national team, in Nigeria we force clubs to collectively release 20 to 40 of the league’s best players to national camps only to take five or less in the end.
Imagine Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho being asked to release players to the England squad outside the FIFA window while the league is in session, how is that different from us in Nigeria? I can’t even say Africa, because it is not an African problem, it is a Nigerian problem. Fans go to the stadium to watch the stars and we cannot deprive them of this because some national team coach cannot work with the same timing as his peers around the progressive world.