Cyril C. NwokejiMonday, April 25, 2016




he decision taken by the technical committee of the NFF, to appoint a consortium of interim coaches for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, that would oversee the next two friendlies of the Super Eagles; and to start an open selection process for the substantive Super Eagles' coaching responsibility, shortly thereafter, comes in bad taste to yours sincerely; and indeed to any lover of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. That singular decision, makes me wonder if members of the technical committee, with all due respects, understand what it takes to prepare a team nowadays for big time international competitions, in Africa. The Super Eagles are presently in an unenviable position, not only in world soccer, but also back home in Africa. The Super Eagles that were once the most highly rated team, in Africa, as at 2008, are now the 14th rated side, in Africa ; and the 67th rated side in the world! A team that was the 5th best team, in the world, in 1994! Does these unimpressive ratings of the Super Eagles, not bother the technical committee of the NFF, and by implication the NFF? If it does, yours sincerely, even with the Super Eagles' latest failure for AFCON 2017, is yet to see the effective, functional, proactive steps being taken by the NFF, to redress the unfortunate standing of the Super Eagles.

It is not enough to speak to the press, about the determination of the NFF, to get the Super Eagles going once again; or to talk about one's determination to hold on to ones's office, in the face of mounting pressure to resign, no thanks to what the greater public sees as increasing ineffectiveness and inefficiency, on the part of the NFF, more especially as it pertains to the affairs of their dearly beloved Super Eagles of Nigeria .What Nigerians want is action!!!!! They want a more effective, functional and proactive NFF. I cannot emphasize this fact sufficiently!

When the technical committee, decides, to further postpone the appointment of the substantive Super Eagles' coach, by at least, one month, and alter the process of selection, by organizing yet another "Coaches' interview jamboree," apparently, like in 2010; one then wonders, if they understand the urgency needed to revive and revitalize the Super Eagles of Nigeria, considering their presently unenviable and unacceptable standing and the quick succession of matches at the international level. When the NFF president, sings a different song than the technical committee members, one wonders where Nigeria's soccer ship is headed to. For example, the NFF president, in the immediate aftermath of the resignation of Coach Sunday Oliseh, said at a public discourse, in the United States of America, that the NFF, was certainly going to appoint a foreign coach for the Super Eagles; one thought that was already a done deal. Even after Nigeria's elimination from AFCON 2017, by Egypt, in Alexandria, the NFF President repeated the same information to the press. This time around more details like: the coach's nationality, his purported salary, the composition of his technical staff and his purported preferred place of abode in Nigeria, were leaked to the press; and of course his determination to coach Nigeria. At that point in time, one thought the substantive foreign coach of the Super Eagles, was already, waiting in the wings, to be appointed. It was even reported the announcement was to be made after the meeting between the NFF President and the sports minister, after Nigeria's elimination from AFCON 2017. But helass, after that meeting, the sports minister, sang a different tune, and gave the NFF, one month, to justify the appointment of a foreign coach. A decision which yours sincerely, criticized in the article titled:" NFF: PLEASE, NO MORE TARDINESS IN THE APPOINTMENT OF A SUBSTANTIVE SUPER EAGLES' COACH." The NFF President, in his typical style of leadership, subsequently, went numbs, or rather disappeared on AWOL, and nobody has ever had from him since then! This is one of the criticisms, yours sincerely has about Mr. Amaju Pinnick's style of leadership; whenever there is a crisis, he refuses, or rather is not able to show leadership; and would rather out source his authority to another! The responsibility for appointing a Super Eagles coach, rests with the NFF, and not with the sports minister!

The net sum of these rather disturbing discordant tunes from Nigeria's soccer authorities, is that Nigeria's soccer ship, can be likened to a ship drifting at high sea, without a captain; and with the concomitant risks associated with that rather unfortunate state!

The consequencies of not having a substantive Super Eagles coach, before the next friendlies, means the rebuilding process of the Super Eagles, would not effectively begin, before the 2018 World cup draws, on the 24th of June! That would be three months after Nigeria's elimination from AFCON 2017! The pertinent question at this juncture is: can Nigeria afford this delay, in the light of the 2018 World cup qualifiers that would begin in October? With all due respects to the interim coaches and the likely efforts they would put into the two friendlies, in May and June; their efforts may eventually, come to nothing, if another coach takes over, as substantive coach, and comes with his peculiar style of rebuilding the Super Eagles: choice of players, playing style etc. Another question at this juncture is: Can we really afford this likely waste of time and resources, vis-a viz the rebuilding of the Super Eagles?

Meethinks, it's high time, the NFF, became more effective, in the governing of the country's soccer affairs, more especially, with regards the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Regardless of the performances of the country's other soccer teams, the performance of the Super Eagles, is and would be a major sign post of the performance of the present NFF dispensation. Their success or failure would be linked to the fortunes of the Super Eagles!

Yours sincerely, would conclude this piece, by reminding the NFF, of the caption of my last article: "NFF: PLEASE, NO MORE TARDINESS IN THE APPOINTMENT OF A SUBSTANTIVE SUPER EAGLES' COACH." Since the round leather game, is one project, Nigerians love and identify very much with, and that also unites them, they certainly deserve better!