Nigeria Eligible Defender Urges NFF to Emulate Morocco After Brahim Diaz’s National Team Switch

Nigeria Eligible Defender Urges NFF to Emulate Morocco After Brahim Diaz’s National Team Switch

Ero Samson
updated at March 18, 2024 at 5:29 PM
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  • Brahim Diaz recently switched allegiance to play for the Atlas Lions of Morocco
  • The versatile Real Madrid attacker was previously linked with the Spanish national team
  • A Nigeria-born defender has rallied the NFF to emulate the Moroccan Football Federation

The African football scene was recently shaken by the news of Brahim Diaz switching allegiance from the Spanish national team to play for Morocco.

The talented Real Madrid attacker, who has been in outstanding form since returning to the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer, was expected to be a key player for coach, Luis De La Fuente’s team in the upcoming international window.

However, to the surprise of many, the 24-year-old announced his decision to represent the Moroccan national team instead of Spain.

Nigeria, Morocco, Brahim Diaz, Spain, CAF, NFF, Real Madrid
Brahim Diaz opted to play for Morocco ahead of the Spanish national team. Image: @EricNjiiru.
Source: Twitter

Brahim’s choice reflects the successful efforts of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) in attracting players of Moroccan origin, a strategy that has been evident since the appointment of coach, Walid Regragui, in 2022.

This surprising announcement has sparked a range of reactions, with some Nigerian football stakeholders questioning the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) about their efforts to ensure that players of Nigerian descent choose to represent the national team rather than their country of residence.

Joining the discussion is Netherlands-born defender, Endurance Alade. The VV Spijkenisse star has called on the NFF to pay keen attention to eligible players of Nigerian heritage who are eager to play for the national teams.

VV Spijkenisse defender’s message to the NFF

In a conversation with Sports Brief, the versatile defender emphasised the need for the NFF to follow Morocco's example after Diaz's call-up.

“The Nigeria Football Federation needs players who are ready to give their all for the country. I know many players with dual nationality who are waiting for the NFF to invite them.
In my opinion, they should emulate Morocco. They need to scout and identify Nigerians who are willing to play for Nigeria. Since the AFCON, many Nigerian players around the world are eager to play for Nigeria, but the NFF needs to do their job and scout these players. I know many players who have told me after the AFCON, ‘We want to play for Nigeria.’”

Regarding the underwhelming performance of the U-20 team at the African Games, Endurance added:

“I look at the players who played in the game against Uganda. They are not playing good football. The talent is there, but they are not well-organized. I see Nigerian players with more talent and impact who are playing across Europe. The NFF needs to look further and follow Morocco's example, and Nigerian football will return to its former greatness.”

Endurance's words undoubtedly echo the sentiments of many Nigerian football stakeholders who have consistently pointed out that the NFF has failed to tap into the pool of eligible Nigerian players in Europe.

However, it remains to be seen if the NFF will adopt such practices in the future, especially with the numerous new appointments set to bring change to the coaching setup of the country's football teams.

NFF eyes Portuguese coach

In another report, Sports Brief stated that the NFF are tilting toward appointing Portuguese coach, Antonio Conceicao, as the next Nigeria gaffer.

The 62-year-old is among the flurry of managers who applied to take over as coach of the Super Eagles.

Conceicao was most recently the coach of the Cameroon national team.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).