Cyril C. NwokejiMonday, September 1, 2014




t is indeed heart-wrenching, painfull, very painfull that the fortunes of our dear Super Eagles, is allowed to nose dive, beacause of the activities of some very selfish, unpatriotic and corrupt members of the NFF, and some ex-members of the NFF, who are hell bent on having their way at the expense of the fortunes of the Super Eagles and indeed our football. The situation is heart- rending indeed to say the least!

Nigeria is the only country, of all countries that participated at the last world cup tournament, that doesn't have a coach presently. It is very painfull indeed; and certainly doesn't portend well for our soccer develpment; particularly vis -a-vis the fortunes of the Super Eagles , more especially in the light of the coming challenges - the 2015, Nations cup qualifiers.

Like I clearly articulated in my earlier write-up, the time to start preparing for Russia '2018, is now. Unfortunately, with the way things are evolving with our football, it seems like in 2010, we have already set the wrong foot as first step forward. What a shame!

What is the impossibility, if the NFF are serious, in concluding contract negotiations with Mr. Stephen Keshi, within fourty-eight hours, thereby allowing the 'big boss,' to return to his post, to tinker the Super Eagles, for the forth coming challenges? We have heard stories, in the last weeks of Stephen Keshi's contract negotiations, almost being rounded-up and only waiting to be signed; some reports even indicated that the 'big boss,' was scheduled to arrive Nigeria, last week Friday, the 15th of August for signing of the contract and eventual taking up of his assignment as Super Eagles coach; but at the end of the day, nothing came out of the it. Latest reports indicate that the NFF and Keshi are as far apart from each other, vis -a-vis the renewal of Keshi's contract, as they were at the end of the world cup tournament, in Brazil. So who is fooling whom ?

It is not surprising we find ourselves, in these quandary, considering what one earlier stated, to be the very unfriendly attitude ofsome NFF members; paradoxically to soccer administration. Folks recall that after the 2014 world cup tournament, the NFF board was dissolved, the concomittant wielding of the hammer, by FIFA, resulted in the government taking a step backwards, with the re-instatement of the NFF board. When the folks within the NFF, impeached the NFF President, and set up an interim committee to oversee, the activities of the NFF, sanity appeared to be returning to the NFF. Helaas it was not for long, as FIFA came 'calling ' again, this time around insisting on the re-instatement of the impeached NFF President. This has since been done; and we are now seeing new and apparently ominous signals coming from the NFF: there is now talk of postponement of the NFF elections ,scheduled for 26th August, 2014; this is now being fought out by a section of the NFF, at FIFA headquarters; there is now a wave of unbanning of some hitherto banned NFF members, apparently with a view to letting them participate at the coming NFF elections - a case of travesty of justice ?; as if these ominous signs ,are not enough, there was the reported fire that gutted a section of the NFF's offices - a case of sabotage ?; and some NFF members are now calling for probe to ascertain what really happened. It's problems, problems, galore, for the NFF, and by implication for our football. The pertinent question is: can the NFF survive this latest and apparently, unusually protracted internal wranglings, and at the same time leaving our football, particularly the Super Eagles unscathed? Mee thinks no. While hoping for the best one needs to be realistic. We have gone through this unfortunate though relatively less tortuous route in our soccer administration before, in 2010, with unwanted negative consequences - missing out at the 2012 Nations cup tournament, in Gabon and Congo Brazaville.

Folks recall, that in the aftermath of the 2010 world cup tournament, the NFF, started negotiations, with Mr. Samson Sia Sia, with a view to having him take over the coaching of the Super Eagles. The negotiations were almost concluded, when some 'confusionists' at the NFF, in their stupid 'infinite' wisdom, chose to, with benefit of hindsight, torpedoe the negatiations, by insisting the NFF, had to be more democratic, in the selection process for the Super Eagles coach. As a consequence, the NFF, changed course and stopped the negatiations with Mr. Samson Sia Sia, albeit at the eleventh hour and threw open the process of selection of the Super Eagles coach. This with benefit of hindsight, proved to be disastrous ,as an interim coach had to tinker the Super Eagles, for two Nations cup qualifiers, before Mr. SiaSia, having survived the selection process, could take over as Super Eagles coach. The Interim coach got three points out of a maximum of six and this with benefit of hindsight ,set the tone for our eventual missing out on the 2012 Nations cup competition.

One hopes the above -mentioned scenario, doesn't repeat itself, this time around; though one must acknowledge the problems now ,are much more protracted than in 2010.

On a final note, one hopes like all Nigerians, that the 'holy spirit ,' would descend on our NFF soccer administrators, so that they can put their petty selfish interests aside for the good of our soccer develpment. The interest of our football, particularly, the Super Eagles, has suffered enough; it's high time we did the right thing for the Super Eagles : extend Coach Keshi's contract soonest and let the gentleman from Illah, arguably the best indigenous coach Nigeria has ever had, continue the good work he has done for the Super Eagles.

This we hope and pray: " Iseeeeeeeeeeh! "