By Kate Obodo
The growing call forÂ the sack ofÂ SuperÂ Eagles chief coach Shaiubu Amodu has continued to attract more comments as some Nigerians and Sports Administrators vary in their opinion. For some, it is unreasonable and unfair to sack a coach after securing the Nations Cup and World Cup tickets, both events holding next year.
Former NFA board memberÂ Elder Bode Oyewole believesÂ the NFF persistence onÂ foreign coach to leadÂ the team is uncalled for. He argues that if they must employ a foreign coach then he must beÂ a world class coach, anything short of thatÂ would not be accepted.
He stood in defense of the Edo state-born technician, that having mandated the coach to get the ticketÂ for the country, there is every need for the coach to be given the opportunity to lead the team to the forthcoming competitions.
â€œEver since we got the ticket,Â it has been sack Amodu and give us a foreign coach. For a long time, we have been seeking for foreign help when our local coachesÂ fumble, how long are we going to continue in this form? It would have been a different ball game if he did not qualify. Of course, where he did not qualify inÂ such situations we are free to demand for any foreign coach but the case here is different.
â€œHaving brought us this ticket, I think the best way is to proffer solutions on how the team can forge ahead in the forthcoming competitions. I must confess, Iâ€™mÂ not in support of this move if there is any. But one thing is sure, that if there is anything like that and there is a persistence from Nigerians and the NFF, it must be a world class coach.
â€œWhen I say world class I mean coaches like Alex Ferguson, Guus Hiddink, Jose Mourinho, RaphaelÂ Benitez amongst others. Anything less than that is not acceptable,â€Â Elder Oyewole said.
When asked about the chances of the team in the Nations Cup where they are drawn withÂ Egypt,Â Mozambique, Republic of Benin, Elder Oyewole said the team would survive the group stage but warned that for this to happen the team needs to be reorganized. The team should be filled with talents who are hungry for honour and not players who feel they have arrived and can not play well for their fatherland.
â€œDrawn with Egypt,Â Mozambique, Republic of Benin is not bad and will not pose anyÂ problem because I know we will definitely succeed at the end. But it can not be complete if the team remains in its normal shape. There shouldÂ be fresh legs in the team. Some of those that are beingÂ paraded in the national team are bench warmers in their clubs and I donâ€™t see why they should be featuring especially in an important tournament,â€ he concluded.
‘ Why must Amodu toil for a foreign coach‘
Even before grabbingÂ Â the 2010 World Cup,Â Super Eagles chief coach Shaibu Amodu had been under the scrutiny of many football administrators and football fans. To many, he lacked the basic technical input needed to lead Nigeria to the World Cup while others believed he should be left alone to finish what he started.
This school of thought brandish Amodu records during the World Cup qualifiers. One man who has followed the development carefully is Port Harcourt based lawyer and ex international Adokie Amiesimaka. Adokie, as he is fondly called, has played and administered the game and his views are always respected by many.
As the controversy on whether to sackÂ Amodu or allow him take the team to the forthcoming Africa Nations Cup in Angola and World Cup in South Africa next year rages,Â Adokie believes time has come for Nigerians to eradicate theÂ idea of foreign coaches and focus more on how to expose and improve our domestic coaches on the international scene.
Amiesimaka whose views on age cheats during the FIFA U-17 World Cup held in Nigeria, drew a lot of attention, said over years the country has dwelled so much on foreign coaches, which according to him, have brought nothing credible to the country.
The former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Rivers State is a firm believer in local coaches and on several occasions have come to their defense. He believes the foreign coaches are not better than the local coaches and had always stressed that the local coaches be given an opportunity to prove themselves.
â€œWe have had foreign coaches from the Middle-East, Europe, South America, for over half a century, yet nothing wonderful has happened to the team.
â€œEngland only grudgingly hired Fabio Capello, an Italian, to orientate its football philosophy to continent of Europe.
Why donâ€™t foreign coach sympathisers also mention that real super powers in world football Brazil, Italy, Germany, Argentina , only use domestic coaches?â€
â€œIn our case, what do we want a foreign coach for? Which one? How will he be different from his predecessors? Have we thought it through or just acting on impulse, as usual? How successful was â€œmightyâ€ Gus Hiddink of the Netherlands in Russia? Still that basic question: if a coach is good enough to win a prize, how is he not good enough to take it? he queried.
â€œAnd why should a Nigerian toil only for a foreigner to take the benefit on the world stage? How can we squander this earned opportunity to showcase our coaches in a tournament every professional coach wants to experience? Canâ€™t we see it is the opportunity our coaches need to improve their job prospect globally, as well as boost our image? Incredible that this can even be a matter for debate. It is Unbelievableâ€, Adokie summed up.