In a recent interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, former Super Eagles midfielder, Friday Ekpo, emphasised the importance of reinforcing key departments of the team with fresh home-based and foreign professionals rather than an immediate sacking of Head Coach José Peseiro.
Amidst the Super Eagles’ lacklustre performance in the ongoing 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, Ekpo urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to resist the clamour for the coach’s dismissal.
“I’m not calling for Jose’s head like most people are; sacking him will be counterproductive at this point in time,” Ekpo conveyed in the interview. “These results can be reversed in subsequent matches.”
Ekpo stressed the need for a balanced team composition, cautioning against an exclusive reliance on foreign-based players, as this might pose challenges in team selection.
“No foreign-based player would like to leave their clubs just to come and sit on the bench,” he added. “We’ve done it in the past and it worked; we can do that again.”
The seasoned midfielder highlighted the significance of including home-based players, citing the impactful contribution of Sunday Mba, a player from Warrior Wolves of Asaba, during the victorious 2013 AFCON campaign.
“Sunday Mba was a home-based player, and his role was pivotal in our success,” Ekpo emphasised. “It’s the only way we can truly develop our domestic league.”
As the Super Eagles gear up for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Ekpo underscored the value of historical strategies and urged a holistic approach towards team selection and development.
José Peseiro is expected to finalise a provisional 55-man list ahead of the tournament, while participating countries have been allowed to name up to 27 players in their squads, aiming to strengthen their final rosters for the 2023 AFCON finals.
Ekpo’s insights shed light on the nuanced approach required for the team’s success, emphasising the integration of both home-based and foreign players to ensure a balanced and competitive Super Eagles squad.