Sunday Oliseh has lashed out at Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi for responding harshly to his criticism of home-based players. Oliseh had criticized Keshi for taking as much as eight home-based players to the Fifa Confederations Cup, and accused him of being too reliant on the Glo Premier League stars.
But Keshi in responding to Oliseh’s criticism described the former Borrusia Dortmund maestro’s claims as shameful since he was once a home-based player.
“It is a shame that Sunday Oliseh could say a thing like that. He was a nobody when he came to the national team.
“He started from home too, when he came to the national team, I took him as a younger brother. I later (as an assistant coach to Amodu Shuabu) made him captain and he became a super star. Who knows what these boys could become in future?”
Oliseh has however responded to Keshi by debunking claims that he started out as a home-based player, while accusing the Super Eagles coach of seeing enemies everywhere and urged him to get used to constructive criticism.
“Nigeria is bigger than anyone and for the records sake in answer to Keshi’s erroneous declaration, I was 3 years as a pro in Belgium and a regular player in liege by 1993 when I got my first call-up to the super Eagles and in those days our national league was on ‘fire’, well organised, competitive, balanced and one of the best in Africa. That’s how Clemence Westerhoff and Bonfrere Jo succeeded!” Oliseh declared on his website.
“It is unfortunate that Keshi sees enemies everywhere and maybe it is understandable but the interest of Nigeria’s progress is what we all should be seeking now and I believe making attacks like he is doing is not the right way to go about it, we are way too matured for that, at least I know I am!”
“If he can accept our support and praise, he should accept our constructive criticism in the interest of the country and making enemies left and right is not the way to go, obviously some of us do not learn from the past! The interest of Nigeria comes first than that of Sunday Oliseh or Stephen Keshi” he said.
Oliseh went further to dispel insinuations in some quarters that he had an eye on Keshi’s job.
“I can understand that Keshi feels threatened by the possibility of a sack and back stabbing, but my comments should not be seen as coming from a possible successor unless one is desperate, which I thank God I am not!”
Oliseh further made a case for the foreign-based players stating that they ate the best Nigeria has. He further accused Keshi of trying to wage a war against them.
“If you are a Foreign based pro it is not because these foreign clubs want to do you a favour, it is because you are one of the best from your country, simple. By gradually trying to wage a war against these players who ply their trade week in week out at the highest level leagues in the world we are turning our back to our best and waging a war against ourselves, they are Nigerians too I must remind.”
He however moved to clarify his position on the home-based players, insisting that he is not against their inclusion in the national team, but feels they will fare better when surrounded by more experienced foreign-based players.
“My belief is not that we should not use home-based players, far from it, if Sunday Mba was not at the Nations Cup in 2013 for Nigeria I do not think we might have won it, at least like we did. He however was well surrounded by Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emeneke etc. and made his contributions productive and easier.
“We saw how this poor boy struggled at the Confed Cup just 4 months after doing us proud in South Africa! Oboabona is one of my favourites and with some more polishing would go places internationally,” he added.
© Vanguard Newspaper.