elix Owolabi, a member of the glorious defunct 1980 Green Eagles’ set, has sounded a cautious note over the inclusion of new Super Eagles’ invitees for the a must-win World Cup knockout fixtures against the Black Stars of Ghana.
The ace midfielder and an Olympian made his views known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday while reacting to the list of invited players for the World Cup qualification match.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) released a 30-man provisional list to take on Ghana for the World Cup ticket.
The first leg of the double header is slated for March 25 in Cape Coast Stadium, Ghana, and the second leg would hold on March 29 at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja.
Notable on the list of invited players are new entrants: Leicester City Winger, Ademola Lookman and a former U-17 World Cup star, Akinkunmi Amoo, who were handed their first call-up alongside defender,Calvin Bassey; and forward, Emmanuel Dennis.
However, Owolabi, who holds a doctorate degree in Physical Education contended that while the invitation of the new players was a welcome development, the technical crew should exercise caution in rushing them to play during the crucial encounter against Ghana.
“We don’t have time, I suggest that we stick to the squad that we took to the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroun and see how we will fare.
“We should exercise caution in adding more players to the team; those calling for the inclusion of new players are football agents who don’t have the interest of Nigerian football at heart.
“The team that we took to the AFCON was good enough, they only need more time to gel while there may also be some technicality and tactical approaches to mould them.
“Having additional players looks good, but there is an established team already, there is nothing bad in adding to them, but we need to consider the time factor,” he said.
Owolabi fondly called `Owo Blow” in his hay days also said that players’ form in their respective clubs might not necessarily bring instant impact or success to the national team, adding that team bonding should be the key.
“It will be stupid of anybody to suggest that because a player is the best in Bundesliga or other leagues such a player will automatically win the Ghana match for us which is a crucial game. It should be a team work.
“From my experience in football, there is no player that can fit into such arrangements, because the excuse about players not fitting into a team is a fundamental problem of team bonding.
“Players such as myself and Segun Odegbami did not just fit into the national team like that just overnight or get automatic ticket, we had been in the team for a while and our successes were as a result of team work.
“We need to get the right people into the administration of football for it to succeed. We only need to look into the team that played in Cameroun and see the area at which we need to fortify,” he said.