The founder and Chief Executive Officer of Team Nigeria UK and Team Nigeria International, David Buhari Doherty, has decried the perennial loss of several quality footballers of Nigerian descents to other countries.
Speaking during an exclusive interview from his base in the United Kingdom, he expressed his sadness over the loss of top players such as Dele Alli and David Alaba, amongst many others.
According to the foremost football administrator, the major thrust of the Team Nigeria UK and Team Nigeria International, is to help discover and expose talented young players of Nigerian descents to the notice of Nigeria football early and to make them pledge their allegiance and international future to the country.
"I think what really led to the birth of Team Nigeria UK and Team Nigeria International, was the case of David Alaba and some others that could have opted to play for Nigeria, but due to no relationship, support programmes, contacts with parents and players, we kept losing these great talents to other countries. And we taught it is high time we curb this painful trend of losing our talents, " Doherty lamented.
And in view of the fact that this is supposedly a clime where dignity and honesty is at a low premium, the ex professional footballer and coach, argued that trust and support have been some of the major challenges the project have had to contend with amongst others.
"The challenges are numerous. We have to ensure that we have a solid relationship with all the parties involved, the parents, academy and club directors, schools, players themselves. As well as constant media awareness for the initiative, league and developments with their clubs and academy, "he explained.
He added that other problems include fund and logistics, as well as, getting the NFF to also sign up and buy into the idea for a strong working relationship for the benefit of the game in the country.
" Funding is a major challenge, so we rely on community and individuals to support us on this journey. However, I think more corporate organisations need to stand up and help this laudable project for a long term delivery, "he further admonished.
He went on to commend the NFF for the support it has given to the project so far.
" We are receiving positive responses. And just as we understand the political and socio-economic situation in the country. However, we think the federation can and should do more to help in supporting and encouraging these diaspora talents for more inclusion into the national squad on merit. "
He continued :" This will stand as a point of attraction to many of them. And going forward, it will make our work more attractive and less streneous. "
He confidently disclosed that TNUK and TNI, is grateful for having assisted to bring the awesome talents of several young footballers including Nathan Oduwa, Ola Aina, Tosin Adarabioyo, David Ajiboye, Emmanuel Idom, Dominic Solanke, Ademola Lookman, Ovie Ejaria and many others to the notice of the football community in Nigeria.
"Some of these players have been invited to the national teams including the U23 Olympic team. Unfortunately, Viv Solomon was not released by his team, Birmingham City. While Nathan Oduwa, played in some friendly matches for the U23 squad.
The hardworking administrator with an infectious passion for the game, enthused further : "We are working on how we can empower, support and replicate same programmes in Nigeria. That is for young people through capacity building programmes in line with education and sports. As well as providing outlets for greener pastures for those that have the extra factor. "
Conclusively, he disclosed that the team from UK is set to visit Nigeria for a playing tour that would see the U17 and U20 teams playing in Owerri, Abuja and Lagos, beginning .