By Richard Animam & Patrick Omorodion
Nigerians are yet to come to terms with thesquandering of the 2010 World Cup ticket by a bunch of wingless Green Eagles (yes, thatâ€™s their real name) last Sunday at the Abuja National Stadium, not even Adokie Amiesimaka, a member of the 1980 Nations Cup winning squad.
Saturday Vanguard put a call to Amiesimaka, the man late ace commentator, Ernest Okonkwo gave the sobriquet â€˜Chief Justiceâ€™ during the week and his response was full of anger and venom for those responsible for the current mess.
Starting with the players, the former chairman of Port Harcourt-based Sharks Football Club said, â€œthe players assured us they now had a winning mentality and that complacency was a thing of the past, but they only dashed our hopes, they could not justify our confidence (in them) and (they) betrayed our trust.â€
Continuing he said, â€œIâ€™m not disappointed because of the draw, (because) you can never guarantee victory, but because we just did not play. It was the same complacency, lack of enthusiasm, no fire in the eye, nonchalance that we exhibited against Mozambique and Kenya.â€
According to the former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Rivers State, it could have been the same story with Mozambique and Kenya if they had good scorers but â€œit was that the Tunisians were sharper than Mozambique and Kenya in front of goal.â€
He said the 2-2 draw was a missed opportunity for the Eagles to be in the driverâ€™s seat in the quest for the groupâ€™s sole ticket for the 2010 World Cup, stressing that the Eagles â€œare now mere passengers with little say about how far the (World Cup) vehicle takes us.â€ Amiesimakaâ€™s voice rose when it came to the coach, Shaibu Amodu, as he described the burly Edo-born gafferâ€™s action of heaping the blame of the poor show in Abuja on the players as â€œdespicableâ€.
He said that for Amodu to say that the â€œplayers disregarded his instructions, for blaming the players instead of accepting responsibility, he committed the most unprofessional of blunders and displayed the most despicable trait of cowardice.â€
Amiesimaka said Amoduâ€™s action shows that â€œhe is not in control of the team, he has no confidence in his ability (and that) means he should throw in the towel for others to take over,â€ stressing that he would however stick to another Nigerian, instead of a foreigner, to take over from Amodu.
He however warned that â€œour problems are beyond who the coach is or where he comes from. The worst form of a lie is the one you tell yourself, called self deceit. Our football will continue to live a lie for as long as we have the delusion of football grandeur
The chickens have come home to roost and our assurance of success has been based on hope, but we have only been hoping against hope. We must address basic development issues, from having administrators with knowledge, true passion and sense of mission to identifying a football brand,Â training of coaches andÂ articulating true youth programmes,â€ he surmised.