FOOTBALL: Where we got it wrong

By Daily Sports on March 7, 2016

Views: 2,988

You see, whether we like it or not, this is not the normal times for our football, notwithstanding the patch-patch measures the very controversial Amaju Pinnick-led Nigeria Football Federation has been forging. I have oftentimes described their actions as mere pretence which mother time would expose one day. It is like if the day of reckoning is already here. For these claimants to football governance in a country that houses the biggest concentration of black people in the world, the hen is now home to roost. Further truth is that this is the most horrible NFF administration ever in our history.

Honestly, close followers of this supposedly beautiful and money-spinning sport across the globe know how Amaju Pinnick ascended to head Africa’s most powerful football federation. Therefore, I won’t bore you with that nasty and shameful story.

I got worried sometime last year when he was nominated and later confirmed penultimate week as Football Personality of the Year 2015 – please pardon me if I did not frame it well. I lost appetite when he was announced because my stomach quickly saddens. It was given to him by the very authoritative Sun Newspapers Group.

Mildly put, without any prejudice, his choice was roundly misplaced; however, I don’t know the criteria used. This article is not meant to put him on the spot for the award. I digress.

Simply put, football at the national level does not need an Amaju Pinnick who is full of himself; an arrogant Mr. Know All is never the stuff our football needs for now because he listens only to himself.

He pays attention to the Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, as the well behaved man from the Plateau can make him lose his job. But Solomon, like the biblical King Solomon, has exhibited deep wisdom tolerating Amaju even when he displayed his un-leadership ways during one of his reconciliation meeting sessions with Chris Giwa. That show of shame scored the NFF chief zero point, yet Dalung overlooked the ugly scene for harmony to reign supreme in the football family.

To be honest with you, since the present NFF executive committee took hold, the game has witnessed more controversy either in decision-making or taking of actions for which at the end of the day it only succeeds in shooting itself on the foot. Let me confess that aiding Amaju Pinnick to head NFF was the beginning of this disaster, staring us on the face presently.

Just few recaps: On ascending to power, when Stephen Keshi was in charge of the Super Eagles, out of sheer personal grudges, the most successful indigenous coach was hurriedly sacked and later recalled. That action cost the nation a place at the finals of the last edition of the Africa Nations Cup football summit. As if that was not enough, he employed the high-handed technical committee to see Keshi to the door.

Secondly, Amaju Pinnick in his characteristic manner as Mr. Know All contracted a rookie coach, Sunday Oliseh, as the Super Eagles handler, without going through due process. That was a daylight rape of the rules that guide how national team coaches come on board. Remember, he did everything possible to defend that absurdity he committed. He said Oliseh was Pep Guardiola of Africa and all those distractions he used to justify his illegality.

There are many more blunders he has committed since he assumed duties as the supremo of the football house. We were witnesses of the performances, utterances, actions and inactions of the kindergarten coach. To say that Nigerian football suffered huge loss on all fronts due Amaju Pinnick’s avoidable blunders is just saying the obvious.

As Mr. Arrogance who detests being questioned, he fell out with an equally heady Sunday Oliseh. That could safely be likened to a tale told by idiots. They are two of a kind. Companions in character. The wise saying that two captains cannot be in a ship came to the fore on this note. Amaju, his cohorts in the board and Oliseh toyed with our football!

Now the country is at the verge of being eliminated from Gabon 2017 AFCON finals, yet NFF officials that connived to rip off this nation via hiring a green horn coach for a high calibre side like the Super Eagles are walking freely in the streets of Abuja. In a civilised clime, where things are done well, Amaju Pinnick and some bigwigs concerned in this crime against the country ought to have been picked and detained to make useful statements.

They should be cooling their heels in DSS office or is it only perceived members of the opposition that DSS goes after without looking back? The NFF/Oliseh saga is corruption personified. They should be made to name members of the panel that interviewed and recommended Oliseh for employment for the high-flying job of Super Eagles coach.

Two, the venue of the interview must be made public.

Three, how many coaches applied for the job and how many were shortlisted for the interview at which Sunday came tops?

Four, Amaju Pinnick and his birds of the same feather must tell Nigerians why they did not follow the laid down due process of hiring the Super Eagles coach, but rather preferred using the window to smuggle in an inexperienced Sunday Oliseh that not even qualified to coach a team in Nigeria’s Nationwide League.

This is an important national issue because of the brand called the Super Eagles. The squad is Nigeria’s flagship side; therefore, anything that concerns the progress or otherwise of the team the Federal Government must not hesitate to be interested but also take a decisive position on it. President Muhammdu Buhari, the self acclaimed ‘corruption crusader’ and ‘Mr. Integrity’, must not keep mum. I digress again.

This saga was not inherited from the last administration; sadly this chapter was open and suddenly closed right under his regime’s nose. The noose must tighten! Nigerians are anxiously waiting for some bigwigs in NFF to be picked and questioned on their roles and circumstances that led to the engagement of Oliseh as Super Eagles handler until recently. What actually led to his resignation too must be publicly ascertained, too.

There are more questions than answers as far as this charade is concerned. For instance, Chris Green gave themselves out when he was quoted to have said that Oliseh’s resignation confirmed their fears. Green must be invited by DSS to throw more light on this. It confirms that there is more than meet the eye on the Oliseh mess.     

The DSS should do their job on this issue – not only focusing on the arms gate that is more of vindictiveness than real. I digress.

Oliseh was becoming a pin on the neck of Amaju and those that illegally brought him in; hence he used the bullish technical committee headed by Green against him. Let me refresh your memory: The NFF technical committee was originally headed by the courteous Chairman of Enyimba International FC of Aba, Felix Anyansi-Agwu. All of a sudden, Chris Green forced himself to lead the very sensitive committee and caused this crisis. He caused Siasiaand Keshi’s sack and before you could say Messi, the wiser Sunday Oliseh gave him and his collaborators a deadly upper cut and marched on them. That is why they are so angry. They were caught unawares. Oliseh hit them below the belt. Such pains!

Though I am not Anyansi-Agwu’s fan, I can stand for him for always wanting to be himself. He has a track record of leading the Aba-based billionaires to winning the Nigeria Professional Football League for a record of seven times – the highest by any Nigerian team. He pioneered the team’s winning back to back the CAF Champions League and countless Federation Cup wins. A man with such quality pedigree won’t go so low; rather, he would prefer to follow due process.

Nigerian football got it wrong the day Amaju Pinnick was by hook or crook given the nod to lead the NFF. People have always flaunted his so called ‘achievements’ as Delta State Sports Commission chair, but he should tell us what Warri Wolves has achieved despite spending billions each season. Let me not go into that failed project.

The take of Nigerians is to know the immediate and remote causes that threw up Sunday Oliseh to head the Super Eagles crew. The few months he did that should be probed. My call last week that the sleeping dog should be allowed to lie was meant to give the preparation for our double header AFCON game against the daring Pharaohs from Egypt the attention it deserves. We are keenly watching; otherwise another wrong step would be taken to bring in an unfit coach for the flamboyant Nigeria side. Meanwhile, we wait!!

•Enyinnaya can be reached via 08055068145 (sms only) or by e-mail via

Source Daily Sports

Posted March 7, 2016


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