By Onochie Anibeze
This is official. Shaibu Amodu will not lead Nigeriaâ€™s technical crew to the World Cup this June.The Nigeria Football Federation has finally decided that a foreign coach will lead Nigeria to South Africa. The decision was taken in Angola after Egypt beat Nigeria in their first match. The defeat by Ghana in the semi-final only confirmed this. After deciding on foreign coach, Amodu and his men qualified for the quarter-final and the Stephen Keshi option arose.
Amodu had asked that the former Eaglesâ€™ captain who was, until last week, the coach of Mali, be appointed to assist him to prosecute the World Cup matches. He said he preferred to work with Keshi than a foreign coach.
It was logical from his own perspective. A foreign coach would boss him but Keshi would assist him. And the football federation could have probably considered the Keshi option had Amodu kept on winning although they were still mindful of the position of the Presidency that approved the hiring of a foreign coach as demonstrated by the Presidential Task Force. NFF President Sani Lulu said at the weekend in Angola that the federation may not sack Amodu but would certainly go for a foreign coach.
It therefore means that the foreign coach will determine Amoduâ€™s fate. Top foreign coaches always move with their crew. They are allowed to work with their staff which include the trainer, the goalkeepersâ€™ trainer and fitness trainer. â€œWeâ€™ll not sack Amodu unless he decides to quit,â€ Lulu said in Angola at the weekend. The prospect of remaining in the World Cup team may be Amoduâ€™s attraction to hang on but if the foreign coach says he would not want to work with any member of the current technical crew it will mean the end for Amodu as a member of the World Cup technical crew.
The class of a foreign coach the NFF will hire will determine this. They had already held talks with Zambiaâ€™s coach Herve Renard, the young French man who once assisted Claude Re Loy, easily a known face in African football. Le Roy himself has been contacted too.
They also had contacts with Mart Nooij, who coached Mozambique and Namibia coach, Tom Saintflet. Renard appears to be topping their chat as they held talks with him for the second time at the weekend. But the search for a foreign coach will continue. Between February 5 and 6, the PTF will meet in PortHacourt and names of foreign coaches will be considered.
Meanwhile, Demola Olajire, the spokesman of the football federation, has issued a release saying that even players will be affected in the overhauling that will take place in Eagles. SportsVanguard exclusively reported last week that the likes of Kanu Nwankwo will not make the World Cup team.