Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick says he has no regrets over saying that locally-based players should not seek moves to “obscure leagues” in Europe or Asia.
Ahead of a recent friendly against Mexico – in which Nigeria selected a squad made up almost entirely of home-based players and suffered a heavy 4-0 loss – Pinnick revealed that the NFF would like to block moves from the domestic set up to lower-rated leagues.
The Federation would rather see Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) players remain in their home country if they cannot secure moves to the more elite leagues in Western Europe.
This has become a relatively rare phenomenon, with only Taiye Taiwo and Ahmed Musa achieving transfers to big leagues in recent years.
“We will soon stop issuing ICT [transfer documents] to our top league players going to these clubs. Our dream is to see you play for the top clubs in Europe,” Pinnick said at the time.
The comments drew criticism from many quarters – not least because the NFF cannot legally enforce such an approach – but Pinnick insists that he stands by his words.
“I don’t have regret saying what that I said about the home-based players going to obscure leagues and clubs,” said the NFF boss.
The Super Eagles will next be in action in early September, playing Liberia (home) and Cape Verde (away) in their first two Group C 2022 World Cup qualifiers.