Cyril C. NwokejiSunday, April 10, 2016




ours sincerely read recently in the press of a meeting between the NFF Chairman and the sports minister, over the way forward for the Super Eagles, in the light of recent developments; more especially with regards the appointment of a substantive coach for the Super Eagles. The NFF chairman, no doubt, favours the appointment of a foreign coach, but this choice is, apparently, not popular with the sports minister, who was reported to have told the NFF boss, to send him a report within ONE MONTH, justifying the necessity for a foreign coach.

My misgivings with the meeting with the honourable sports minister, and his directive to the NFF, are as follows:

Who appoints the Super Eagles coach, the NFF or the sports minister?;

Does the sports minister, realise the urgency required in appointing a substantive Super Eagles coach, in the light of the relatively quick succession of competitions at the international level; more especially with the qualification series for the 2018 World cup competition, already knocking on the door ?;

If indeed he does realise the urgency in appointing a substantive Super Eagles coach, why does he require ONE MONTH, to get the necessary feedback from the NFF, that would decide the need for a foreign coach?;

Does the honourable sports minister, realise that asking for a time period of one month, to get a feedback from the NFF, with regards the appointment of a Super Eagles coach, would delay the Super Eagles' coaches appointment by at least month, and consequently delay the rebuilding process / preparation of the Super Eagles for the 2018 World cup qualifiers, by at least one month?;

In the light of the present unacceptable state and status of the Super Eagles, can Nigeria, really afford this delay?

The aforementioned posers, really trouble me, as to the way forward for the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Yours sincerely, is gradually inclined to believing that Nigeria's soccer administrators, apparently, are having difficulties, navigating the way forward for the Super Eagles, in the light of recent events.

Yours sincerely, will not join the bandwagon of those calling for the resignation of the NFF Chairman: Mr. Amaju Pinnick, but would rather call on him to show more: effective, functional, dynamic and proactive leadership, as the captain steering Nigeria's soccer ship; more especially, in his handeling of the affairs of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. One has the impression, that, in moments of 'crisis' with regards the Super Eagles, he becomes somewhat toothless, and would rather avoid stepping on powerful government toes, than take the lead, in steering the affairs of the Super Eagles.

We all saw him exhibit this trait, in the immediate aftermath of Nigeria's elimination, from AFCON 2015; rather than sack the coach ,whom he never really wanted, he became toothless, apparently, not wanting to offend the then powers that be, who supported the then coach of the Super Eagles. The concomittant delay, in appointing a substantive Super Eagles' coach, contributed greatly, in my considerd opinion, to Nigeria's failure for AFCON 2017.

The same scenario, is playing out once again: Nigeria has failed for AFCON 2017, rather than take proactive steps to ensure success, next time around, by among other steps, appointing a substantive coach soonest, in conjunction, with the NFF executive, he has started kowtowing once again to government, and in the process, shirking his responsibility, as NFF chairman!

To Mr. Amaju Pinnick, yours sincerely, will want to remind him once again, that the NFF's autonomy, is guaranteed, by FIFA statutes. This means that the NFF, is immune to government interference! FIFA, doesn't joke with this autonomy, as evidenced by their coming down harshly on errant countries. Mr. Pinnick, thus, needs not be afraid to 'hurt' the government, in the discharge of his duties as NFF chairman, the government subventions to the NFF, notwithstanding.

Another motivation, to encourage Mr. Pinnick, to always take the lead as NFF chairman, is to once again remind him, that his stewardship, as NFF chairman, will be judged mainly by the Super Eagles' fortunes!

In conclusion, the Super Eagles, may be in an unenviable position for now, but one believes that if the right administrative steps are taken; among other steps, appointing a substantive Super Eagles coach, now; preferably, in this month of April; given the abundance of talent and the typical "Nigerian fighting spirit," the Super Eagles would rise again in no time! It is in this light, that yours sincerely, is calling on Mr. Amaju Pinnick, to please take the lead, as NFF chairman!