Former Nigeria centre-back Taribo West says the Super Eagles will be a force to reckon with at the Russia 2018 World Cup if the national team coach Gernot Rohr involves some of the experienced ex-internationals in his plans.
Also, the Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games medallist kicked against a recall for Obafemi Martins to the national team.
Germany’s all-time top goalscorer with 71 goals and 2014 World Cup winner Miroslav Klose is to join Die Mannschaft coach Joachim Low’s backroom staff ahead of Russia 2018.
Italy ’90 World Cup winner Andreas Kopke, Euro ‘96 and 2002 silver medallist Oliver Bierhoff are part of the Germany national team set-up, and Taribo has called for the Nigeria Football Federation to give ex-internationals, who have played the game at top levels, especially in Europe, the opportunity to contribute towards the success of the Eagles in Russia.
“If it’s a country where things are done the right way, where those in administration have the people at heart, we must bring those who know the game to pass it across to the next generation,” the 1998 UEFA Cup winner with Inter Milan said during the week.
“I experienced different cultures working under different managers at the highest level, but I’m nowhere here. When I was at Al-Arabi, Pep Guardiola was in Al-Ahli in Qatar; when I was at Inter, he was at Barcelona. Frank de Boer was at Ajax when I was at Auxerre. It’sthe same story with Zinedine Zidane and others. Look at where these guys are now, but here, we don’t have a structure that will ensure the older players pass their knowledge to the younger ones, it’s a shame.”
He said rather than bringing Martins to the Eagles, Rohr should concentrate on working on the players who played the Russia 2018 qualifiers and making them better, adding that they gave a good account of themselves on the road to the tournament.
The Shanghai Shenhua striker last played for the Eagles in a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Swaziland but Coach Gernot Rohr hinted that the 33-year-old could get another chance in the squad after his heroics helped Shenhua claim the Chinese FA Cup.
“They should allow the boys play, they’ve done well and we can see it. They shouldn’t bring distractions into the team because that is what (bringing Martins to the team) it is. He wasn’t part of the qualifiers; I think they should focus on making this team better and encourage the players,” the ex-Milan defender said.
The former footballer-turned pastor however said there were other ways through which the country could still tap from the huge experience of Martins, who is the Eagles’ all-time sixth highest goal scorer, and not a another invitation to the Eagles.
The ex-Seattle Sounders star is one of Nigeria’s most decorated players still active in the game scooping club and personal honours at Inter, Newcastle United, Birmingham City, Rubin Kazan, Seattle Sounders and Shenhua.
“What we need to do with a player like Martins is bring him and pay him what he earns there so that the younger generation of players can tap from his experience but not bringing him back to the national team,” Taribo added.
Taribo also playedfor Auxerre, AC Milan, Derby County, Kaiserslautern, Partizan Belgrade and Plymouth Argyle.