By Jacob Ajom
Former Nigerian international, Tajudeen Disu, has slammed national team coach, Amodu Shaibu, for unwittingly engineering the current agitation for a foreign technical hand to take the national team to 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
In a chat with Sports Vanguard at the National Stadium, Lagos, yesterday, Disu who first made his name with the junior national football team, the Flying Eagles in 1983 saidÂ the foreign coach saga came about because of Amoduâ€™s penchant for putting sentiments in his team selection process.
â€œI have played under many coaches, both local and foreign and I dare say there is nothing really special about foreign coaches,â€ Disu started, but he was quick to add that under the prevailing circumstances, â€œonly a foreign coach can ensure a credible outing for Nigeria in South Africa.â€
Explaining his rather confusing statement, the former Green Eagles player said that most Nigerian coaches have failed woefully because they attach sentiments when selecting players for the national team.
â€œWe have good coaches in this country, including Amodu, but the NFF would not allow those who can stand up to them and refuse to take their nonsense to handle the national teams,â€ he said.
The NFF, according to him, has failed to give Nigerian coaches a free hand and the desired environment to function properly.
The former star said NFF capitalises on the level of poverty in the land to armtwist local coaches, adding that only very few can call their bluff.
â€œLook at the team Amodu paraded throughout the qualifiers, would you say that was the best Nigeria can boast of?â€ he asked, adding, â€œit was clear to everyone that some players had godfathers in the football house.
â€œSome NFF officials with interest in some players impose them on the coach and he couldnâ€™t talk. That is why they will either swim or sink with Amodu. And that is why I will vote for a foreign coach,â€ he explained.
Disu mentioned players like Seyi Olofinjana and Yakubu Aiyegbeni as â€œuntouchablesâ€, saying that no matter how poor their forms were, no amount of criticisms can get Amodu drop them because they have very strong links with the football house and the coaching crew.
â€œGo and find out who these playersâ€™ managers are in Nigeria. Why would he start Aiyegbeni who was yet to play a match for his club after a long lay off, in a crucial match like the one against Tunisia in Abuja when Obafemi Martins was consigned to the bench?â€, he asked helplessly.
He pointed out that it was this mix up between administering football, managing players and coaching the national team that brought so much pain to Nigerians throughout the World Cup qualifiers.