By Patrick Omorodion
Again we have hired another coach, Stephen Keshi to take over the Super Eagles after his former team-mate and friend, Samson Siasia was adjudged to have failed by the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, according to the contract he signed with the body.
The euphoria is on and everybody is already telling Keshi what he should do and how he can take the Eagles to Eldorado. Nobody however, is looking into the local league and what manner of coaches we have running the league, the supposed nursery for home-based players who could grow to replace the ‘big’ Europe-based who lack the hunger to deliver these days.
Recently, news filtered in that no Nigerian coach is listed by CAF as carrying its licence. The news does not perturb those who are supposed to be in-charge of the game here.
Precisely on the first day of this month, South Africa’s version of our NFF, SAFA came out with categorisation of coaches for the different strata of the country’s football, with a ruling that from the 2013/14 season, any coach without proper qualifications will not seat on any bench of a football club.
The level of the coaching qualification licence ranges Level One for National/Inter-provincial tournaments and second division or Vodacom league, Level Two for National First Division to Level Three for the PSL, that is the Premier Soccer League, the equivalent of our NPL, Nigeria Premier League. Coaches are to be trained at the various levels to form a nucleus of a coaching fraternity.
SAFA also stated that “it must be ensured that the Level One graduates are trained at Levels Two and Three so that there can be a legislation for the NSL/PSL to hire from the Level Two group for the First Division and from the Level Three group for the Premier League.”
By this, they want to have “about 32 coaching slots for the First Division and the PSL, at least 60 coaches need to be trained at Level Three to make it viable for the PSL to hire from the Level Three pool.”
They however stated that they will not shut the doors against foreign coaches for the clubs but will allow them only “as long as they bring in more experience and expertise, but the condition for that is that they must always be assisted by a qualified local coach for skills transfer.”
This a focused FA with the development of their country’s football uppermost in their heart and not the NFF whose administrators are interested mostly in what will accrue to them personally and therefore frustrate anybody who wants to stop that.
The NPL is supposed to be an affiliate of the NFF but the only time the NFF is interested in the league is when they want to appoint a particular referee for their own clubs or want a piece of the sponsorship money the league body receives like we noticed when the Sani-Lulu Board fought Chief Oyuki Obaseki over the sponsorship money the NPL received from its sponsors.
South Africa is planning ahead and in future when Nigerian clubs crumble before theirs in continental competitions, Nigerians will again be lost on what the cause may have been.
Now is the time to ensure that the right structure is put down for both the league and national football to flourish so that our football will take its rightful place, not only on the continent but globally.
Keshi’s 3 votes
Stephen Keshi has taken over as coach of the Super Eagles and some people are claiming to be in the know of how he got the job. These same people did not vote for Keshi when they had the opportunity to do so in 2008.
At that forum, the NFF had ‘bought’ over some of them to vote for Shaibu Amodu, who was their preferred choice over Samson Siasia and Keshi. Some of these people even wooed this writer to vote for Amodu because “he is our Edo brother”.
I would not have that and voted for Keshi, not because he was my friend but because he had done it before, qualifying little Togo for the 2006 World Cup. Keshi also had another vote from Vanguard’s Group Sports Editor, Onochie Anibeze and another from Brila FM representative.
Amodu came first from that exercise, Siasia was second and Keshi third. In that order, they have handled the national team with question marks for Amodu and Siasia. Three years after, Keshi has taken over. Will that be his lot too? Only time will tell.
Keshi started his job with a friendly against Botswana yesterday and has another test with Zambia on Tuesday. He has promised to look inwards, giving local players an opportunity to fight for shirts in the team. This, if implemented, will give the local players the confidence they need and ultimately boost the local league.