By Onochie Anibeze
Coach Amodu Shuaibu almost took everybody to the cleaners until the crazy element in Dominic Iorfa exploded. It took strong efforts to stop a free- for all fight in a meeting meant to promote unity and the way forward for the Green Eagles.
Top members of the Nigeria Football Federation attended with members of the Nigeria Coaches Association.
They were in Abuja to hold talks on the future of the Eagles and their technical crew.
Amodu has been a subject of debate in football circles in the country. Many believed that he lacked the capacity to qualify Nigeria for the 2010 World Cup, citing their matches during the qualifying series as pointers.
But Nigeria’s last minute dramatic qualification won Amodu some fans and they started campaigning for his continued stay as head of Eagles technical crew. But they appeared to be in the minority. Those calling for changes or who want Amodu to be assisted by more hands appeared to be more and louder.
Nigeria was a paradox of irony. There were fireworks and other forms of celebration in other countries that qualified for the World Cup. In Nigeria, it was controversy. Some acrimonious exchanges followed. It was against this background that this meeting was called, largely to promote peace among the stakeholders and get Nigeria’s coaches to back their own than support the campaign for a foreign coach.
Sani Lulu, the President of the Football Federation opened the meeting. Taiwo Ogunjobi, the head of the technical
Committee was also there and some other top members of the federation board and secretariat. The coaches were well represented too. But it took another day for any issue to be resolved.
When Amodu led Nigeria’s team to the Mali Nations Cup, Adegboye Onigbinde raised issues with him and Keshi. Onigbinde fumed that his observations in a match were not taken seriously. Amodu felt that he was merely grandstanding.
However, Onigbinde was eventually appointed coach of the World Cup bound team in place of Amodu and Keshi who held sway when the team qualified. To Amodu and Keshi, it was the shock of their lives.
This time again, it appeared to Amodu a similar scene was playing out and he decided to stamp a seeming authority in the meeting, probably toÂ ward off any possible underground moves He probably overdid it. He was said to have taken on anybody who tried to make insinuations or contributions, reciting his resume and how he qualified Nigeria for the 2010 World Cup.
â€œHe was very boastful and never showed any humility,â€ our source said.
We gathered that at a time, a member of the federation and one time Queens Park Rangers, striker Dominic Iorfa couldn’t hold back anymore and fired back at Amodu to stop boasting about World Cup qualification.
â€œIorfa was so angered that he made some startling revelations and everybody was awed about Nigeria’s qualification,â€ our source said, revealing many other things. The atmosphere became charged and â€œa free- for- all almost ensued,â€ our source said. While Iorfa charged at Amodu, the Eagles coach poured out vituperations and dared Onigbinde.
Nothing was resolved that day but the coaches asked the federation members to see it as an in-house matter among coaches which would be resolved. They did when Amodu apologized to Onigbinde who later, as head of the coaches association, told the media that the coaches have resolved to back Amodu for the Nations Cup but would withdraw their support if they do not succeed in Angola. And they will adjudge the team successful if they get to the final of the Nations Cup.
â€œAmodu really caused a stir but I do not blame him,â€ another source in the meeting said.
â€œIf you were in his shoes he may react the same way going by what happened to him before the Korea-Japan World Cup when he was schemed out,â€ the source said, adding â€œbut I think he over reacted and Iorfa gave it back to him but I quite understand his fears.â€