THOSE expecting someone to take responsibility for the Super Eagles latest flight from action would get only excuses from the Nigeria Football, NFF, which pleads collective guilt. Nigeria is out of the 2010 World Cup. Hopes pinned on the two remaining games are wasteful optimism.
Nothing is new in NFFâ€™s attitude. In February 2008, when Nigeria had its most outstandingly woeful Nations Cup performance since 1963, NFF blamed everyone but itself and more nauseatingly pursues its second term agenda â€“ a project members of the moribund board pursue with uncommonly distinguished passion.
On its return from the disaster in Ghana, NFF members carried on as if they did no wrong. Their project to keep themselves in office is a consuming ambition. NFF after months of vacillating hired a coach it said would fulfill Nigeriaâ€™s ambitions of being at the first World Cup in Africa. The next one would not come before 2030.
Samson Siasia was the best at the interview. NFF was unhappy with that. It organised some sports journalists to vote for the coach they wanted. They chose Shuaibu Amodu. The result showed on Sunday night, a team that played as if the game had no importance whatsoever.
Millions of Nigerians invested their emotions in this game. They jammed the Abuja National Stadium. Others watched from home as the Eagles cascaded through pitiable levels of performance before flying out of the competition.
No explanations are enough for this result. The team had all the money it needed. A Presidential Task Force, the Presidentâ€™s most profound investment in sports in two years, raised billions of Naira and splashed it on the team.
We spent years shouting about the state of the team, its non-competitiveness, and most recently that the coach should at least play one game since July when he pulled off a stunning goalless draw in Rades against Tunisia. They ignored the suggestions.
An obscurant NFF said the coach knew what to do, as if he would bear the individual pains of Nigerians over the absence of the Eagles at the 2010 World Cup, an eight-year absence.
Nigerians must know this NFF is the most independent in more than 30 years. It manages as it pleases. It justifies its inactions with threats of FIFA sanctions if it is sacked.
For more than six months, NFF has been unable to account for $236,000 (about N36.58 million) stolen from its coffers. The money was left in an office drawer as if it was mere pieces of paper. Police investigations linked the suspect to a top official of NFF. The National Sports Commission, NSC, conducted a probe, but kept the report in order not to interfere with the World Cup qualifiers. Another scandal is that 29 of Nigeriaâ€™s 36 players for the FIFA U-17 World Cup were over-aged.
Who would sack this beyond shame NFF bunch? Is it Chairman of NSC Mr. Sani Ndanusa who approved $10,000 bonus for last Sundayâ€™s disgrace?