By Patrick Omorodion
Former Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Barrister Richard Nwabufo Obienu is drumming support for Super Eagles Chief Coach, Shaibu Amodu a few days to the crucial World Cup qualifier against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in Abuja.
Barrister Obienu was reacting to Saturday Vanguardâ€™s inquiry on what he feels about the players Amodu invited for the match and specifically whom he preferred between John Utaka and Obafemi Martins.
In his usual blunt style, he said â€œnone of themâ€ and added instead that Amodu should have stuck to the 21 players he first listed and then look into the Premier League for the remaining two to make up the final list.
â€œWhat Amodu should have done was to go to the local league and invite two players to make up the number and by so doing give the local players the opportunity to have a feel of the Super Eagles. I wouldnâ€™t go for Utaka or Martinsâ€, he said on phone from his Enugu base.
He then added that now that the Edo-born coach has named his final players for the match, Nigerians should stop criticising the list and suggesting names for him, stressing that â€œhe knows who he wants and has invited them. People should stop criticising him and give him all the support he needs.â€
â€œAmodu has done well for the country, he has not lost any (competitive) match since he took over and I think that is a good result. What he needs now is encouragement towards the remaining matches and not constant criticism,â€ Obienu said.
On the $10,000 being suggested as winning bonus for the players, the former football administrator said it was not too much because the players allowances remain among the least in the world, adding however that the idea should have come from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and not the Presidential Task Force.
â€œWe had suggested increased bonus for the Eagles since the time of (Brig. Dominic) Oneya because their allowances remain among the poorest in the world. What the Task Force is doing now should come from the federation, but I have said before that this present Board donâ€™t know what they are doing.
I have never liked any Task Force for sports because it is an ad hoc arrangement. And even if there must be a Task Force, it should not be more than three people working underground and not this one they are advertising all over the place.
The other day I was ashamed as a Nigerian when a Supersports anchor man was saying the Task Force was set up to compromise referees to help our team. He went on to say that the South African referee that has been appointed to handle the Eagles/Tunisia match cannot be compromised,â€ Obienu said.