Premature relocation to Europe hindering goalkeepers’ development, says Shorunmu

• Laments Okorodudu’s hardship story

Former Super Eagles Goalkeepers’ Trainer, Ike Shorunmu, has attributed the poor quality of goalkeepers in the domestic league to Nigerian youngsters’ undue quest to move to Europe even before developing their skills.

Shorunmu, who recalled that in the past goalkeepers remained in the country to sharpen their skills and earn Super Eagles invitation before attracting overseas clubs, said goalkeepers, unlike outfield players, require careful grooming to excel.

He said staying at home to develop their skills ensured that top quality stars such as Vincent Enyeama, Peter Rufai, Alloy Agu and other great goalkeepers got on top of their game in world football.

He also blamed the poor quality of goalkeepers to the poor remunerations paid by Nigerian clubs, adding that a time will come when goalkeepers from neighbouring countries will take over the national team.

“The current generation of goalkeepers is not patient; the players don’t take time to develop themselves before venturing outside the country for professional football. 

“When some of them come for advice from me, they tell me they cannot be patient the way we were in our days because during our time, the economy was better and the league was more organised.

“Well, I don’t blame them because of the way sports people are treated in the country after serving the nation. These players have to go overseas to earn money to take care of their families and personal needs.

“Recently, I read on the papers that Jeremiah Okorodudu, an Olympian, needs help to settle his hospital bills. This issue also involves sportsmen and women in other sports.

“When these domestic players hear these pathetic stories of ex sportsmen and women after years of service to the country, how do you think they will remain in this country to perfect their trade? Football, as a sport, has a limited time span unlike other jobs where you can get very old before retiring.

“The authorities need to restructure the players’ salary structure in the NPFL. Although it will not be easy in this pandemic era, but there must be ways to address this issue,” he said.

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