By Eddie Akalonu
One time Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Football Association, NFA, General Gregory Adebiyi (rtd) has warned that the Alhaji Aminu Maigari-led Board of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF may mislead Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi.
Describing the NFF’s action as retrogressive, the retired army general told Saturday Vanguard sports that he has never heard anywhere in the world where a coach is granted a free hand to prepare a team to a major competition without the input of the football federation.
“It’s outrageous to hear such coming from the football federation. I rather think the technical committee of the NFF should work closely with Keshi because no one person can achieve the goal of a country acting alone. That is strange talk to me. I’ve never heard an FA anywhere in the world make such type of statement.
They should ask for his programmme, scrutinise it and make input where necessary in agreement with Keshi but not to interfere or take total or partial control of it or impose ideas or programmes on Keshi,” he said in Lagos.
Continuing, he said, “ What I mean is, the FA cannot leave the coach to work alone but he should have complementary input from the FA technical committee.”
General Adebiyi, who was also the former chairman of NFA’s technical committee said while doing this, care must be taken to avoid the mistake of 2002 where after Shaibu Amodu qualified Nigeria for the World Cup in Korea/Japan was shoved aside and his place taken over by those who were supposed to be his advisers.
Another area he disagrees with the NFF is the setting of targets for the Nations Cup instead of the bigger stage which is the World Cup as he queried, “how can an FA implore coaches to qualify the country and reach the semi final of a competition we have won in the past.
I mean Nigeria has won the African Cup of Nations twice and the African Women Championship six times, besides picking Olympic Games tickets for the country in both men and women. So by now targets should be on the world stage and not Africa.
It looks strange to me that Siasia and Keshi at different times were given conditions to qualify Nigeria and get get to the semi final the same conditions for a competition we have won in the past. The same goes for Uche Eucharia and Kadiri Ikhana who got same conditions recently in respect of the African Women Championships. How can that be,” he asked, insisting that, “We should be marching forward and not seen to be going backwards.”