Barnes says Nigerian teenagers are as talented as their counterparts in Europe, but the conditions they grow up in, do not allow them to develop.
He stated that while the Nigerian teenagers are as talented as their counterparts in Europe, the conditions they grow up in, do not allow them to develop.
“When you are 14-year-old in Nigeria, you don’t have time for football and no infrastructure to help you develop,” Barnes says in an interview with Pulse Sports.
“It is something to do with the country as a whole, you can't compare what goes on in Africa and that in Europe because there is a more stable environment to help develop these young players”
During the interview, Barnes who had 79 caps for England spoke about the balance between developing football in Africa and having a good national team.
He opined that the strength of an African national team is dependent on how many players they have playing in foreign leagues.
He cited South Africa as an example, revealing how the success of the league has prevented players from playing abroad which has also made the national team suffer.
“Do you think the Nigerian teams would have done well if the likes of Sunday Oliseh didn’t go abroad to play football,” he asks.
Speaking further, Barnes says he has never gotten an opportunity to coach in Africa but said that working with the Jamaican team gave him an idea of how things are in Africa.
The former Celtic manager managed Jamaica for 12 unbeaten games before he left his position in February 2009.
He opined that African players have the same abilities as their counterparts all over the world but need the right mentality and attitude to succeed.