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Nigeria has no team but individual players — Gen. Williams

By Bridget Amaraegbu
In the face of outrage expressed by millions of football loving Nigerians over the Green Eagles failure to beat Tunisia in Abuja last Sunday and consolidate leadership of their 2010 World Cup group, an astute sports administrator and a retired army general, Major-General Ishola Williams has called on those still weeping to “stop crying”.

SPORTSMINISTERSpeaking to Saturday Vanguard sports on telephone during the week, General Williams, known for calling a spade a spade, said that Nigerians should stop shedding unnecessary tears as good results in sports do not come by chance but through dint of hard work by all those involved in the sport.

He wondered why Nigerians expected the Eagles to perform without flaws when they are a  bunch of individual players from different backgrounds, crammed together to form a team under a very short period of time.

“Nigerians should stop crying whenever things like this happen because it’s no magic to achieve winning without a home-based team. We have all our players scattered all around the world and you expect them to come together in one or two weeks to perform miracle?” he queried.

General Williams said that
in most other countries, the bulk of their national team players play in their local leagues and as a result “they play and practice together, so they are more co-ordinated than we are. I don’t think we have a team, what we have are just players. We can’t call our boys a team unless they play together,” adding “how can you bring people of diverse football clubs and teams and call a them team.”
He argued that the countries with a strong home-based team will always perform better.

He said another reason why the country is not doing well in football is because “we don’t have plans and programmes for our football,” pointing out that “almost every football club in the country is owned by one state government or the other and so they go by the rules and directives of the governor.”

He was however mild on Amodu, saying that “I think he is still a good coach who cannot perform miracles, coaching for just one or two weeks, coaching players most of whom already have injuries and some of whom are on break.”

Stressing that Amodu needs more time with the players to get a solid team for the country, the bearded retired General said “Nigerians should be ashamed if at this age we are still calling for a foreign coach.”


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