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South Africa 2010 Is Everything

By Ikeddy Isiquzo
IT is getting clearer that the Nigeria Football Association, NFA, did not know why it hired Coach Shuaibu Amodu who surprisingly qualified Nigeria for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The debates about which coach should take the team to South Africa have predictably confirmed that the NFA had no confidence in the coach it hired and did not expect he could pull off getting Nigeria back to the world stage.

Amodu is good enough to qualify the team for the World Cup, but he is not good enough to take the team to the World Cup is the NFA’s position. There are great reasons to worry, whichever way this debate goes.

The major worry is that this subject should be debated in the first place. The NFA has no plans for the present, it is not a surprise then that the future is never in its horizon. Why did it hire Amodu? What results did it expect Amodu to bring to the national team? Did he bring those results? Has he failed in the expectations of the NFA?

Amodu is not the best coach in the world, and that term is momentary and applies to the coach who gets the best result in the world when the occasion demands.

The future of Nigerian coaches is at stake. When Amodu qualified the team for the 2002 World Cup, he was not allowed to take the team to the competition. Would there be a repeat?

How would the NFA reward this coach who rescued it from Berti Vogts’ disgraceful performance at the 2008 Nations Cup, Nigeria’s worst result since 1982? When Amodu was hired, the NFA had neither the funds, nor the justification to hire another foreign coach, after the over-rated Vogts. Why the foreign urge again?

My concerns on a foreign coach are many. I would state some of them. There is a coterie of racketeers who live off hiring foreign coaches. They have enough contacts to push any candidate of their choice, usually incompetent ones. I would be surprised if they are not a work again.

The NFA does not have the capacity (not just financial, in fact that is hardly a challenge) to hire a foreign coach. This defect is built on the inability of the NFA to come up with a programme for football that goes beyond today. NFA members are not unable to know what they require in a coach, the type of coach they need and the details that should be in his contract.

I think that the future of the Nigerian coach should be another concern. Decades of having foreign coaches left our football with various landmarks. We have had coaches from practically all the continents and some of their reports have been pathetic, Vogts being the most recent example.

While we are at this, it is important the NFA tells Nigerians what its intentions are at the World Cup. So much effort went into qualifying for the 2010 World Cup that it seems an end in itself. What would a foreign coach do for the Eagles at the World Cup? What are the NFA’s expectations from the 2010 World Cup?

The qualification for the 2010 World Cup has become everything. We had a good team from the African Beach Football Championship. It got token care and delivered a disastrous result at the World Championship, its worst since it began appearing.

For the top mark of 2010, the scandal of using over-aged players for the FIFA U-17 World Cup scores. Once we qualified for South Africa 2010, using over-aged players is a non-issue.

I am told the $236,000 that disappeared from the coffers of the NFA is nothing compared to the World Cup ticket.

Probe All
NOBODY would be satisfied with the Federal Government probing only how the money allocated to the Local Organising Committee of FIFA U-17 World Cup was spent. There are lots of things to probe  the award of contracts for playing pitches that floated, other contracts, the membership of the LOC, the procedures for the activities of the LOC, the team itself. Any probe that fails to get to the root of the over-aged players who disgraced Nigeria, all in the name of winning, would be nothing. Let the probe be comprehensive.

Real Executive Rascality
ENGINEER Sani Ndanusa, Minister of Sports/Chairman of the National Sports Commission, NSC, is determined in his push to annex the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, to the NSC. In an increasingly free world, where government-private sector initiatives act as checks on each other, I expect that the Minister should have been occupied by the demands of his office, which he barely meets.

Director General of the National Sports Commission, Chief Patrick Ekeji described the NOC’s disqualification of the Minister from the race as “executive rascality”. I think that aptly describes the Minister’s interests too.

My position on this matter  neither Abu Gumel nor Ndanusa should run for this office. Gumel should be content with being IOC Member in Nigeria, Vice President of International Volleyball Federation, Treasurer of the African National Olympic Committees Association, ANOCA.

A fresh candidate with the time and passion for the office should run.

Please email your complaints, condemnations, commendations to ikeddyisiguzo@hotmail.com


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