The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has expressed happiness over the movement of Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, to the English second tier league, emphasising that the national team will be the biggest beneficiary of his return to a competitive league.
NFF second vice president Mallam Shehu Dikko, who reacted to the move during the presentation of certificate to the participant of the La Liga coaching clinic programme in Abuja at the weekend, described Mikel as an asset to the senior national team.
“The move is very good for him and the country. Having played in China, not too competitive league, which helped him to recover much energy, coming back to the English league is good for him. The League Championship is even more difficult that the Premiership. He will certainly play his heart out and get himself into shape. The move will be beneficial to Nigeria.
“Don’t forget that he is still our captain. The national team plays well whenever he plays. It does not matter to me whether our national team captain is playing in lower league. We should understand that a captain that has played 10 years for a national team is not a pushover. How many people that started with Mikel are still actively playing now?” he asked rhetorically.
On the benefits of La Liga coaching training programme, the NFF second vice president said: “We have over seven players in the national teams especially the U-17 and U-21 that are products of the series of this training programmes we have organised because they passed through you.
“We can all clap for ourselves for what we have benefitted from this coaching training programme. We are actually getting reward for this coaching clinic with La Liga. We don’t know where the next Messi will come and those who will product the next Messi.
“La Liga gave us the best hands they have available and Nigeria is one of the only two countries that have the benefit of enjoying this kind of training from La Liga.
“Don’t hold back what you have learnt. Give it back to other coaches with you and you have to keep working because the biggest success of any coach is to look back and count the number of players that passed through you.
“Our utmost objective is for our league to be a depot to source for players to feed the national team and foreign leagues. We have 200 million people but we can only register less than 1000 players in the NPFL. We have to make sure we flood the best league in the world with our available best players.
“At the end of the day, it will be good for Nigeria, our national team and the revenue that will come into the country from the earnings of these foreign-based players. I don’t care if Nigerian players join foreign league so long as they are going to play, earn money and bring them into the country because they leave, we have competent coaches to nurture more players. Others must leave for others to come up the stage,” he said.