Jonathan Akpoborie, former Nigerian international, has stated here that he was impressed with the calibre of players currently undergoing selection process to be part of the next class of the Golden Eaglets.
Akpoborie who started his career with Julius Berger before going abroad, said he was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the players but importantly, the youthfulness of the team against the backdrop of past allegations that coaches deliberately field over aged players in youth competitions.
“I’m very happy seeing these set of players here not only because of the potentialities that they are showing during the training sessions but we all can see that they are quite young compared with some of the teams we have had in the past,” noted
Akpoborie, a member of the victorious Golden Eaglets that won the first 1st FIFA Under-16 Championship, in China in 1985. “There is no doubt about the fact that we have genuinely young players in this team and I think exposing them to proper training and preparation ahead of their qualifiers for the African qualifiers was a good decision by the NFF.”
He further commended the Cross River State government for generously accepting to host the Golden Eaglets in favourable environment since it offers both players and officials maximum concentration, even as he called on the NFF to review its decision on a blanket ban of Premier League players from the Golden Eaglets.
“Bringing the team to Calabar is a very good decision on the part of the NFF and I must also praise the efforts of Cross River State because it would really help the team against many distractions they would have encounter in order places,” explained Akpoborie who also represented Nigeria at the Under-20 level in the talented but ill-fated Chile’87 squad.
“Personally, I don’t subscribe to the idea that no Premier league player should be included in the Golden Eaglets. Agreed it is a sensible thing to do in order to curb age cheating but I also think there could be one or two exceptional cases as such, the coaches should be given that window of opportunity to look at such players irrespective of the fact they are playing in the Premier league,” he added.