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Pinnick’s Comments Are Insensitive and Embarassing – Taribo West

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Pinnick had termed the clubs as 'mushroom clubs', understood to be a reference to players growing quickly and 'in the dark'.

Former Super Eagles defender Taribo West has hit out at the president of the Nigeria Football Federation Amaju Pinnick for comments made concerning local-based internationals which suggested they should not join smaller overseas clubs.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to Mexico in an international friendly in Los Angeles, Pinnick had termed the clubs as 'mushroom clubs', understood to be a reference to players growing quickly and 'in the dark'.

He said, "We don't want to hear you joining teams in Cyprus, China or Belarus. We won't allow any agent to take you to all these 'mushroom clubs',"

"We won't issue an ITC to you and I'm going to instruct the General Secretary of the NFF. You are the pride of the nation now. We want to see you join proud footballing clubs in Europe like Villarreal, Lille, Valencia and the likes."

According to West, a member of the victorious 1996 Olympic football gold medal-winning team, players can’t be kept “against their will.”

"Such comments from the head of Nigerian football are insensitive and embarrassing. Instead of improving and focusing on developing the structures around the league, you're dictating to adults where and how to earn a living," said West.

"You cannot keep people against their will in a league that doesn't respect them, pay them, protect them or care about their welfare," added West.

Before going on to play in Europe for both Milan sides, AC and Inter in Italy, West played for Julius Berger in Nigeria.

In an international transfer report by FIFA earlier this year, Nigerian clubs released 236 players to overseas clubs in 2020.

Only Taye Taiwo and Onyekachi Apam have over the last 15 years, gone directly from the Nigerian Professional League (NPFL) to one of Europe's top five leagues. They joined Marseille and Nice respectively in France.


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