The Nigeria national football team coach, Jose Peseiro, has defended his decision to include Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi, Southampton’s Joe Aribo, and Brentford’s Frank Onyeka in his squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Guinea-Bissau.
Peseiro has selected an all-Premier League midfield for the squad, with Everton’s Alex Iwobi being the only player who has been getting regular game time.
However, there were concerns about the selection of Aribo and Onyeka, who have not played many minutes due to injuries and being out of favor with their respective clubs.
During a media briefing, Peseiro explained that he prefers to select the best players for his team, regardless of their playing time at their clubs.
“I understand the question. Many people asked why some players come and don’t play. I want to build a team,” Peseiro told the media at the press conference.
“For me, I prefer to choose the best players. The others play more times but for me the best players are the best players.”
He stated that it is his responsibility to call up the players he believes in, and if he sees a better player, he will select them instead,” Peseiro continued.
“In their teams they don’t give them chances to play, it’s my obligation, it’s my goal, it’s my responsibility to call them because I believe in them. If I see a better midfielder, I don’t call them.
“If he’s injured, it’s different, they work well because I stay in contact every time with them. I ask the coaches and they say they work well, are fit and have a good performance, but they chose other players.
“They inform me the players don’t have injuries and are fit.”
Peseiro added that the selection process is not easy, but he tries to choose players who can improve the team’s dynamics, organization, and spirit.
“Our job is not easy because you need to choose not the same players but ninety percent the same players to improve our dynamics, improve our organization and build our spirit,” he concluded.
Aribo, Ndidi, and Iwobi were part of Nigeria’s last game against Portugal in November, while Onyeka came off the bench to replace Ndidi at halftime.