Saka, Musiala and the Players Nigeria Missed Out on During Amaju Pinnick’s Tenure As NFF President

Saka, Musiala and the Players Nigeria Missed Out on During Amaju Pinnick’s Tenure As NFF President

Ero Samson
updated at May 7, 2024 at 6:36 PM
In this article:
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Nigeria
Nigeria
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Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
Bukayo Saka logo
B.Saka
Arsenal logoFEngland logo
Jamal Musiala logo
J.Musiala
Bayern Munich logoFGermany logo
Michael Olise logo
M. Olise
Crystal Palace logoMEngland logo
England logo
England
England
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Eberechi Eze logo
E. Eze
Crystal Palace logoMEngland logo
Fikayo Tomori logo
F. Tomori
AC Milan logoDEngland logo
Tammy Abraham logo
T. Abraham
AS Roma logoFEngland logo
Germany logo
Germany
Germany
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  • The Super Eagles missed out on a few players during Amaju Pinnick’s tenure as NFF chief
  • Bukayo Saka and Michael Olise are top-of-the-list players the Nigerian team missed out on
  • Sports Brief spotlights the players Nigeria missed out on during Pinnick's eight-year stint

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An aide to former Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, recently disclosed in an interview that Nigeria missed out on several top-tier players to the English team during Amaju Pinnick’s tenure as the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

Speaking anonymously, the assistant emphasised the autocratic approach of the federation's leadership in communicating with players and encouraging them to play for the Super Eagles.

This approach ultimately backfired, as many players who were expected to represent Nigeria chose to play for other teams instead.

Nigeria, Super Eagles, Bukayo Saka, Jamal Musiala, NFF, England, Germany
Bukayo Saka is on the list of players who opted to play for England over the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Image: Catherine Ivill.
Source: Getty Images

In the interview reported by OwnGoalNigeria, the assistant highlighted several names, including Bukayo Saka and Michael Olise.

In light of this, Sports Brief examines six of the best players whom the Super Eagles missed out on during Pinnick’s presidency at the NFF.

Six players Nigeria missed out on during Pinnick’s NFF tenure

Jamal Musiala

The 21-year-old of Nigerian descent has been nothing short of a revelation since bursting onto the scene with Bayern Munich. The midfielder, whose roots trace back to Nigeria through his father, was largely expected to represent Nigeria. However, he opted to play for Germany, even ahead of the English national team, for which he had played at the youth level.

Bukayo Saka

The Arsenal sensation was one who had many Nigerian fans downcast when he opted to play for England ahead of Nigeria. The mercurial winger has developed into one of the most lethal players in his position since bursting onto the scene.

Michael Olise

The Crystal Palace winger was invited to the Super Eagles camp as a standby player in March 2021.

The then 20-year-old was a player of EFL club side Reading. However, since his transfer to Palace, Olise has blossomed into one of the league's most exciting attackers, and a move away from Selhurst Park could be a possibility for the 22-year-old.

Tammy Abraham

The AS Roma forward was highly touted to feature for the Super Eagles, with images of him with then NFF chief, Pinnick, sparking media speculation about his potential Nigerian team debut.

However, amid discussions of switching his allegiance to play for the Super Eagles, the forward received a call-up from the Three Lions.

Fikayo Tomori

The AC Milan defender is another player the Nigerian team missed out on to the English national team. The 26-year-old, whose roots trace back to Nigeria, was also tipped to feature for the Super Eagles. However, the former Chelsea man never really seemed to consider the option of playing for Nigeria, as he featured for Gareth Southgate's side in 2019.

Eberechi Eze

The Crystal Palace midfielder is also among the players who could have represented Nigeria but chose to play for England instead.

Like Olise, he was invited to the Nigerian team; however, he did not feature due to a COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. In May 2023, the versatile attacker eventually decided to represent the White and Blue of the England national team.

Finidi responds to critics

Sports Brief in another report stated that Nigeria's coach, Finidi George, has issued a promise to his critics ahead of the June international window.

The Super Eagles are set to face South Africa and Zimbabwe as part of their quest to secure a place at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Authors
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).
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Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)