Flying Eagles coach, Manu Garba, has disclosed that he picked Kelechi Iheanacho and other foreign-based players on merit and not because they play outside the country.
The Manchester City starlet as well as Spain-based Success Isaac and Belgium-based forward Moses Simon made Garba’s 21-man list of players who will wear the nation’s colours at this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup finals in New Zealand despite being absent in the team’s training tour of Germany.
But the coach spoke on what informed his choice.
“None of those boys (overseas based) got selected because they play abroad,” he said.
“We understand their clubs couldn’t release them and you can’t blame the boys for that but we monitored their progress for their clubs and we are satisfied.”
The coach also gave a similar reason for picking the other players he’s taking to New Zealand.
“I have always said it that we would select our players based on merit and not on sentiments,” he said.
“We have been with the boys for some time now and we have selected them based on what we have seen of them.
“If it were possible I would have selected all of them because they’re all very good players but we only have to pick a specified number and we have selected only the best of them at this minute.”
Nigeria will play Brazil in their first match in New Plymouth on June 1, before other Group E games against North Korea and Hungary in the same city.