“We had players in Arsenal, PSG, Chelsea” – Ex-Super Eagles star raises alarm over waning Nigerian talents in top clubs

Prominent European clubs show decreased interest in Nigerian talents

Former Super Eagles goalkeeper Ndubuisi Emmanuel Egbo has expressed deep concern over the dwindling presence of Nigerian footballers in top European clubs, reports. 

In an interview with Tribalfootball, Egbo lamented the stark contrast to previous eras when Nigerian players graced some of the biggest clubs on the continent.

Nwankwo Kanu was at Arsenal, Austin Okocha was a regular at PSG, and Celestine Babayaro was Chelsea’s left-back when Egbo earned his 12 caps for the Super Eagles.

While acknowledging the noteworthy exceptions of Victor Osimhen at Napoli), Samuel Chukwueze at AC Milan), Victor Boniface at Bayer Leverkusen), and Ademola Lookman at Atalanta, who are representing Nigeria at reputable European teams, Egbo emphasised that most Nigerian players are now scattered among mid-table clubs or even toiling in lower divisions.

“In contrast to the past, now you can mention only a few Nigerian players who play in Europe, like Victor Osimhen or Victor Boniface. The others simply do not play in strong teams,” remarked the 50-year-old coach.

Drawing from his own experiences, Egbo underscored the impact this trend could have on the performance of the Nigerian national team.

He noted, “During my time, we had players playing for teams like Arsenal, PSG, Chelsea, etc.

This also will impact on the performances of our national team. We have only two players like Osimhen and Boniface who are playing regularly and doing a great job with Napoli and Bayern Leverkusen.”

Aba-born Egbo, who has also knocked Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro, retired from active football in 2011 and instantly transitioned into coaching.

In 2020, Egbo guided Albanian club KF Tirana to their first league title in a decade, becoming the first coach from Africa to win a European championship.