Foremost stadium facility expert, Ebi Egbe, has warned that the sorry state of pitches across the country will seriously affect sports development adversely if the authorities continue to neglect them.
Egbe told reporters at the weekend that no national foreign coach would invite home based players to the national teams as they usually play on undulating surfaces.
He observed that some of these pitches are so bad that they appear as if they are not meant for football in the first place.
“Whenever I see our players play these pitches on TV, I want to cry. Nigeria is too advanced for all these things that are happening to our football. If you bring the best coaches to Nigeria to coach the national team, it’s going to be so difficult for him to pick even the highest goal scorer in the Nigeria Professional Football League because of our playing surface.
“The coach can only pick goalkeepers. Don’t forget that our national team coaches don’t have time to start teaching our local players how to control the ball on zero undulating because most competitions we go to are being played on zero undulating surfaces,” he noted.
The facility specialist further warned that local players might not be able to stamp their places in the national teams even in the next 50 years unless investment are made on playing surfaces to help these talents enjoy the proper standard pitches required for their development.
He also pointed out that Nigerians must stop holding these coaches responsible for the failure of the national as these foreign tacticians limited by the honed talents available to them.
“Today, competitions are being played on zero undulating surfaces so, it’s going g to be very difficult foe these coaches to pick players from our local league! Nigerians must understand that! Don’t point accusing fingers at the coaches. We as a country must look inward. Without good playing facilities, without good playing surfaces in the league, there is no way our local players can make it even on trials. That’s why our players can make in teams like Barcelona. They can only go to Egypt, Portugal and some lower leagues,” stressed Egbe.
He then advised the League Management Company (LMC) who are in charge of running the league to enforce strict rule on standard pitches for matches, even if games can be played in four stadia.
“South Africa don’t show all their pitches on television but when you watch SuperSport, the good pitches are always shown, not the bad ones.
“Let the LMC take all the matches to few pitches that are good in Nigeria. Let them work with SuperSport and see our game improve, you will see Gernot Rohr come to these places and pick players for the Super Eagles.
They should pass a law that if your pitch is bad and it doesn’t meet the standards, you can’t play in the NPFL. In the very important. If we want our players to excel, if we want to be at the top in marketing, Nigeria must invest in playing surfaces,” he concluded.