Should our national team rely on international stars for success?

No way. We should groom local talent. Currently, this topic sales like hot cake all over the world; countries are wondering whether they should stick to using already successful footballers trading their talent in foreign leagues, or to chew the pin and use homegrown talent.

No way. We should groom local talent

Currently, this topic sales like hot cake all over the world; countries are wondering whether they should stick to using already successful footballers trading their talent in foreign leagues, or to chew the pin and use homegrown talent.

The debate intensified during the 2010 World Cup where countries like England suffered a lot of criticism for concentrating on attracting expensive players in their leagues rather than grooming good talent for the national sides.

Currently, FIFA is discussing a law which if passed, will force all clubs in the world to at least field five nationals on the starting team. This is to enable countries concentrate on grooming talent to make their national sides stronger, instead of looking for foreign talent to fill the gap.

What this means is that; it is indeed important for players to stay and play in the national leagues of their countries for them to have a significant impact on the success of their national sides.

Our national players may be attracted to play in Europe because of the money and the glamour, which is alright by any standards; it is good for them as individuals, but not good for the nation’s sports.

I’m not going to say whether it’s patriotic or not, but personally, I think it’s a measure of sacrifice if a talented player decides to stick here in one of the teams and help the local league to grow, despite the little money he may earn.

What I propose is that if a player decides to go to Europe, don’t call him for international games. Let us have faith in those players who decide to stay; let us give them a chance to prove what they can do on pitch.

Look at all the so-called African great foot-balling countries, such as Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon. When you look at the number of players they trade to Europe, it is quite huge. Under normal circumstances, when you look at their starting squads, you expect them to beat the living daylights out of any country they play against in the Africa Cup of Nations.

However, a lowly Egypt, which has almost, if not all of its footballers playing within their home league, came from nowhere and punished those so-called greats.

As if in a contest of international versus homegrown, Egypt took the Africa Cup three times in a row, while the international stars of Ivory Coast went back to their giant English clubs with tail between legs.

You don’t have to look at Africa alone; even Europe shows the same trend. Countries like German and Spain, which concentrate on players from their leagues, get more success than the likes of England which concentrate on attracting foreign talent in their leagues.

I admit that this process may not have immediate impact on the national team’s success, but in the long run, Rwanda’s football can revolve and become more successful than it has been in the past.

mugishaivan@yahoo.com