As we very well know, most of our Nigerian players are aiming high: joining one of the glamorous and exciting career-building European leagues. It's cool, but some, and overtime, increasing numbers are finding their bearings and are migrating to Israel. Yes, Israel is small, but crazy about soccer.
One may comment that Israel is small, but we should konw that despite its size, it competes quite favourably in european competitions, for example the Champions League as well as the UEFA Cup. These make it suitable for Nigerian players seeking a headway for our upcoming Nigerian talents.
One good thing that scores well in Nigeria's favour is that the Israelis are actually searching for African Players. Yes, you just have to believe that: they are looking up to Nigerian Players. Reason: sheer physical strength and endurace.
Take an example from our next-door neighbour: Ghana. Ghana's midfielder Derek Boateng, after playing for several seasons in Greece and Sweden, suddenly leapt and found himself in Israel. So far, he has signed with the Israeli Club, Betar Jerusalem. His reason: he heard that Betar Jerusalem was about to challenge in the Champions league. The one-time player for AIK Stockholm and Panathinaikos said that since his joining the team, they have won one championship and are on their way to a second one. How about that for career advancement?
One point in favour of our Nigerian teams building up their careers in the Israeli leagues is the relative minimization of competition. What I mean is, our talents have the opportunity of showcasing their prowess without the hassles of the bigger European leagues. More bang for your buck? You could say that, and I would agree totally.
Listen to more good news in our favour: During the last African Cup of Nations' in Ghana, Israeli scouts attended with an ear to the ground, searching for players to conscript to their teams.
Israeli leagues now have players from Rwanda, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Zambia and they intend to take more. I candidly this is a welcome approach as it will strenghten the Championship muscles of some of our green boys so they can go out and do greater things. Don't you agree?
So far, Betar (The Israeli team I mentioned earlier) which is owned by a certain billionaire Jew, Arkadi Gaydamak, is now leading the Israeli league by eleven whole points. Now, get this: If Betar Jerusalem wins the title, that would put them at the top rung of the ladder, and give them a chance to attain the group stage of next season's Champion's league. Who says Derek won't feel the breeze, too?
The basic philosophy guiding this recent African player hunt on the part of the Israelis is the fact that for a Nigerian footballer, even though he may not be skilled, he would most of the time be physically fit. Fitness is the watchword: that is what they are looking out for.
Candidly, I believe that the Israeli league would be a satisfactory means of building and strengthening our Nigerian Players. Don't you?
Feel free comment on this piece: either in favour of it, or against, it would be appreciated.