By Onochie Anibeze
The Nigeria Football Â Federation appear to have lost their cool on coach Shaibu Amodu and indications are that they may have to move on without the Edo- born coach.
Federation sources said that the coach upset the members in Angola when he told them in a meeting that the Nations Cup team was good and had the potential of doing well at the World Cup and would, therefore, not be changed.
Amoduâ€™s confidence grew after beating Algeria 1-0 to win the bronze. The said meeting was after the bronze medal feat. The Federation was said to be so upset that they immediately agreed to hold an emergency meeting in Abuja on Friday.
Â The Federation said that changes in the technical crew and the players had become absolutely necessary. It was another way of telling Amodu that he would not be in charge of the World Cup team.
Â Amodu is being bashed in the media by Nigerians for not considering young players who would have added aggression to the team. He lost to a Ghanaian team that was not fantastic but very youthful. Ghana lost six of their regulars to injuries but rather than rely on experienced but ageing players, the coach fielded young players for them to acquire experience. Nigerians expected Amodu to emulate Ghana.
Amodu has always been known to stick to his guns. He did in Angola and maintained that the team he selected was the best for Nigeria at the moment. He would not change that position in spite of criticisms based on facts. Africaâ€™s football legend, Abedi Pele, expressed concern over selecting players who were not used, maintaining that doing so denied younger Nigerian players chance to acquire experience.
â€œWe respected the position of higher authorities that a foreign coach be employed but we are still considering the best option for Nigeria,â€ a top member of the federation said while they were still in Angola. The Federation, we gathered, was still exploring the possibility of beefing up the technical crew with some assistance for Amodu but they may no longer insist on that after Amodu appeared to remain adamant to calls for changes.
â€œThat really upset everybody and if I were them (the Federation) I would have sacked him (Amodu) the day he told them he would not change the team,â€ said a top football official who has the ear of the Federation, adding â€œitâ€™s like giving conditions to your employers because he was telling them many other things.â€
Whatever happens, Amodu feels that he has done well enough to be allowed to lead Nigeria to the World Cup and that disengaging him now would be detrimental to Nigeriaâ€™s World Cup campaign.
And he hopes to turn the team around before the World Cup â€œI still have about four months and I strongly think that this team can be better before the World Cup. The team is good but we can do better and we have between now and the World Cup to reshape things,â€ Amodu said on radio yesterday. It was a seeming appeal for him to remain the pilot of the plane.