Nigeria Sport News

Nnaji writes-off local players in national team

Chief Coach of national female basketball team, Scot Nnaji has written off the chances of home-based players breaking into the national team because ‘they still have more work to do’.
Speaking with Newswatch Sports, Nnaji said much as there are talents in the Zenith Basketball Championship, he however doubted their ability to play in big time competitions without being knocked into proper shape.
He argued that foreign-based players stand better chance to break into the national team because they have the opportunity of playing in so many competitions all through their college periods.
“The players abroad play more competitions; they have seen it over and over before they are through in the school, that is just the advantage they have. Now we have finished the Zenith basketball championship,
which other competition do we have? None again unless when they go for their continental engagements, that is why we have to look for more sponsors to be able to get tournaments for the female players,” he said.
He however declared that there is great future for basketball players at home saying with what he saw during the championship, the local players would compete favourably with their foreign-based counterparts in foreseeable future if they get the right tutelage from the local coaches.
“The coaches at home should be able to identify some of the players that have the potential and groom them to such a standard where they can compete for places with foreign-based players in the national team. We have so many young players with so much potentials. It’s good for us to have lots of them with potentials because it gives us the opportunity to be able to look at them and try to nurture them to the next level,” he added.
Meanwhile, D’Tigres coach enjoined Nigeria’s representatives in the continental competition to take their participation very seriously.
 “I want to tell those clubs who have qualified to represent the country that competition in the continent is quite different from what they experience in the league here.”
 Our clubs must really work hard to do well in the continent,” he concluded.

Mikel Obi has predicted that Nigeria will beat South American champions, Uruguay in continuation of the FIFA Confederations Cup tonight.  The African champions expectedly thrashed minnows Tahiti in their opening FIFA Confederations Cup game and the Chelsea midfielder has assured the Super Eagles are in Brazil to fly Africa’s flag highest.
How will you describe the opening game against Tahiti?
It was a great game for us getting the maximum three points with a wide margin. It was a great game for us. We gave our best and it paid off.
Your next game in Brazil is against Uruguay, what do you have to say about this game against the South American champions?
It will be a good game. I am looking forward to it. We are prepared and will go all out to earn victory against Uruguay. Uruguay will be tougher than Tahiti, but no cause for alarm. We will do our best as usual as we represent the nation and the continent well.
What can you say about last season with Chelsea?
It was okay, I made another history with my team winning the Europa League. Though I didn’t get what I dreamt of last season.
What was it that you aspired for last season and didn’t get?
I wanted to retain the UEFA Champions League trophy, but could not. But the season ended well with another European title.
What has winning the AFCON done for you?
It has added to my zeal to always aspire for trophy which has been a habit since I joined Chelsea.
In Nigeria’s last three World Cup qualifiers, the Eagles recorded a win and two draws and they got their goals rather very late.
I never gave up hope that we will get the goals needed in those games because we were playing well. We should all know that there are no longer easy games and especially being African champions means every team wants to beat us, but no matter what, we remain focused in every game we play.
What is your personal target at the FIFA Confederations Cup?
We will do our best to write our names in the history books.
Do you see Eagles winning the trophy?
Yes, we can. We will just play each game as they come, first target is to advance to the next stage, and then we will take it from there.
Are you wary of any of the teams in your group in the Confederations Cup?
No. I have never being afraid of any team; we are equal to the task. I respect all the teams here in our group because we are all champions and we will go all out against all of them.
Talking of world champions Spain in particular (cuts in)...
Our next game is against Uruguay, which is my focus now and that of the team. I am not thinking of Spain now but we are good enough to face any team in the world.

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