By John Egbokhan
Former Chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Col Abdulmumuni Aminu (rtd), has called for the rejigging of the Super Eagles and their technical crew ahead of the African Cup of Nations and World Cup, both holding next year.
Speaking to Sports Vanguard at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, venue of the decisive World Cup qualifier between Nigeriaâ€™s Green Eagles and the Harambee Stars of Kenya on Saturday, the retired soldier, while heaving a sigh of relief over the qualification of the Eagles for the Mundial, said it would have been tragic had the reverse occurred.
With the Nations Cup commencing on January 10 in Angola, a lot of work still needs to be done on the Nigerian team, who last won the title in 1994, and barely managed to book their passage to the World Cup, Aminu stressed that early and good preparations were key to a successful outing by the Eagles at South Africa 2010.
â€œI am relieved that we have, at last, qualified for the World Cup which is holding for the first time on African soil. This a big moment for us because it would have been a bad thing had we not qualified, given the potentials that we have in the country. But the serious work has to start now because our team needs serious overhauling.
â€œI am not too impressed with the work done by the technical crew but I am not calling for their sack. We should look at ways to overhaul them for better results. On the players, I feel that we must always encourage them because they are the only ones we have and we canâ€™t throw them away on the basis of one bad match.
â€œWe must stand united to do a great work for these players because I see them doing well at the World Cup if they are encouraged and overhauled. But the next challenge is to inculcate in our fans the attitude of supporting our boys, even when they are down. We must be more patriotic because no matter the performance, this team is still great and we must not underrate them.
â€œNow, we go back to the drawing board and assess the technical crew and the administrative body. We have time to plan for the World Cupâ€, added Aminu.
He also thanked President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua for constituting the Presidential Task Force to ensure the qualification of the Eagles for the 2010 World Cup.
â€œI congratulate Mr. President for mandating the Task Force to bring into reality the qualification of the Eagles for the tournament. I also thank Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State for his support and we dedicate this triumph to them and Nigerian fansâ€, said the former NFA boss.