Lagos – An ex-international, Adokiye Amiesimaka, on Friday blamed the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), for the three Nigerian players disqualified for age cheating at the ongoing U-17 African Youth Championship in Morocco.
Amiesimaka, a member of the defunct Green Eagles squad that won the 1980 Nations Cup in Nigeria, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria on telephone.
The former Sharks and Rangers International player said that the disqualification was because of NFF’s inability to desist from cheating at age grade competitions.
“It is a national embarrassment to have three of our players disqualified at the championship,’’ Amesimaka, a former Attorney General of Rivers, said.
Wilfred Ndidi, Ibrahim Abdullahi and Emmanuel Asadu, were banned from the championship for failing the Magnetic Resonnance Imaging (MIR) test, as a result of age falsification.
Amiesimaka said that the NFF should do away with cheating at age-grade competitions, in other to avoid soiling Nigeria’s reputation at international tournaments.
“It is a shame for an African football giant to be caught cheating at competitions. I mean, what sort of example are we portraying to the international football body?” he said.
The former national player explained that age grade competitions were developmental and were meant to service the country’s senior teams.
“It is, however, unfortunate that we (Nigeria) are still missing the point. Junior competitions are not a must-win affair, but a preparatory ground to enable young talents to graduate to the senior team.
“These young players are supposed to be the nurtured as materials for the Super Eagles,” he said
According to him, the Golden Eaglets had the potential to excel without necessarily having to cheat.
He, therefore, advised the NFF to put its house in order, to avoid such occurrences in future.
NAN reports three players each from Cote d’Ivoire and Congo Democratic Republic were also disqualified for the same reason at the championship. (NAN)