By Tony Ubani
NOT so many people were happy when Samson Siasia agreed to tinker the Flying Eagles to the U-20 World Cup in Egypt. After a glorious outing that saw him lose to Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina 2-1 in 2005 in Holland and lost yet again to Argentina in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, everybody agreed that at last, a Samson has finally come to judgement in our indigenous coaches. Nigerian fans hailed him as the next man to take over the job of coaching the Green Eagles.
During the interview for the Eagles job, Siasia excelled beating all the coaches to the number one position before a final abracadabra saw Amodu Shuaibu as the
helmsman. When Siasia agreed to coach the U-20 team, many warned him that he was walking straight to a minefield.
â€œI saw it as a call to national dutyâ€, Siasia said on arrival from his misadventure trip to the land of the Pharaohs. Sports Vanguard gathered that some officials of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, were indeed happy that Samson Siasia failed in Egypt. A very reliable source at the Glass house said that they popped champagne in their office the day that Germany beat the Flying Eagles 3-2. â€œThere was celebration in the NFF office.
They celebrated the defeat loudlyâ€, our source informed. And why would they celebrate the fall of the Flying Eagles? â€œThey were celebrating the fall of Siasia. They were not comfortable with his rising profile. They knew that his success in Egypt would automatically put him in pole position for the Eagles job. Besides, they are not comfortable that Nigerians love him. He is also very confrontational and does not engage in the petty deals other indigenous coaches do with the Glass houseâ€.
Sports Vanguard sought the views of Siasia at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja after he won the AIT/MTN Coach of the Year Award. â€œI am one person who does not believe in rituals. But what happened in Egypt was more than the ordinary. Tell me, why is it that we played well and the goals refused to come? We did everything possible but some negative forces worked against us. What it means is that I will look very well before accepting any future assignment. But for now, I need to rest before thinking of my next line of action. But for sure, I am all for footballâ€.
When Siasia was announced as the winner of the Football of the Year Award winner, the Transcorp Hilton hall erupted in cheers. He took microphone, wiped his clean-shaven head and apologized for not doing well in Egypt. â€œI know that I disappointed a lot of Nigerians in Egypt. For this, I apologizeâ€, the hall went into rapture. â€œI accept responsibility of our failure in Egypt. The NFF gave me everything but everything went wrongâ€, he added.