By ONOCHIE ANIBEZE
Last week, I took note of the moves to engage a foreign coach for our national team and suggested that Amodu Shuaibu could be promoted team manager of the team while Stephen Keshi is engaged to head the technical crew that may include Siasia, Amokachi, Sylvanus Okpala.
There should also be a place for goalkeeper trainer and Alloy Agu could continue. I argued that itâ€™s late to engage a foreign coach as we just have two months to the Nations Cup and few months to the World Cup. I argued that my option will bring in fresh ideas that may fire up the team and at the same time maintain reasonable continuity. Amodu could be the boss of the technical crew as team manager.
May I add that he could also even be made the technical adviser. But being somebody who has closely watched the team and how they executed matches, I repeat here that the team will be better with some assistance from one or two more great Nigerian hands. I understand the fears of some insiders who quickly decided on foreign coach immediately after the match in Nairobi.
They knew what they went through for Nigeria to qualify. I took their experiences and the toiling ofÂ Amodu into consideration before arriving at my conclusion so that we could have a combination of FORCES for the World Cup. Below are some responses:
What Nigeria needs now in the Eagles is continuity and the option in your article of November 20 is laudable. But my fears: Will Keshi, Siasia and Amokachi have rapport?
Moses Edmoses, Delta
Mr. Anibeze, please read Adokiye Amesiemakaâ€™s Sunday Punch of November 22 on why Amodu should remain coach of the Eagles and take the team to Cup of Nations and World Cup. It will be interesting to read your counter arguments. Be man Mr. Anibeze. Pick up Adokiyeâ€™s gauntlet.
I told you this before and you said I should shut up. Now you admit? Blatter said 25-year-old Fortune is not overaged. With proper arrangement, man pikin fit see God. No be so?
On the Kenya match, the referee saw the offside, but he saw something else Nigeria is well known for internationally; which is also why he didnâ€™t award penalty against us.
You talk the way all winners do? Vision for mission. I read your column always and this piece is the best. I wish they will include you in the team. and I hope those in charge take this masterpiece seriously.
F. Martins, Warri, 08023328850
I was thinking of Kalika to assist Amodu, but your solution is better.
Amodu, Keshi, Siasia, the Bull and Okpala. thatâ€™s the technical team we need for now. Haleluya! Every true Nigerian man or women should support it. Nigeria should not go to World Cup with a foreigner in charge. We should have outgrown that by now. Letâ€™s fail together or rise together.
If we donâ€™t give them chance, who sill? Will the NFF have the sagacity to take such a decision and see to itâ€™s fruition? I doubt but Iâ€™m happy that the God, who performed the miracle in Nairobi and Maputo will do it again. The God that gave you the wisdom to suggest thatÂ will not allow it to waste. Thanks.
A.G.E. Okotie, 080332464441
I read your piece on the above subject matter (page 49, Friday Vanguard 20th of November) & while I appreciate the reasons let me remind you lest you forget:
Amodu & Keshi were dropped because of our below per performance in the 2002 African Cup of Nations. Even though we got to the third place, our display was dismal. When Amodu took over from Bonfere a few players like Oliseh were not sure that Nigeria would qualify, so theyÂ Â did not show up for some of the last qualifying matches. In came Friday Christopher in our last match to man the defensive midfield position and his performance was great.
In 2002, during the last two friendlies before the Nations cup, Benedict Akwuegu scored the only two goals, yet Amodu dropped him from the Nations cup and took Victor Ikpeba who had not played active football for a while. Bathlomey Ugbechie was playing more regularly than our great Okocha in their French club then, but he was also neglected for Ikpeba and Victor Igali.
If you had a video of the matches played during the Cup of Nations you will see that over 65% of Olisehâ€™s passes were faulty. Make no mistake, Oliseh was a great player and one of the best we have produced.Â But by 2002, his time was up, Victor Ikpebaâ€™s time was up along with a couple of our players, but Amodu and Keshi did not realise it. Our traditional wing play was no more.
The Team that eventually played England in our last World cup group match was the Team that should have gone to the Nations cup with young bloods like Vincent Enyeama, Utaka, Akwuegbu, Friday Christopher etc.Â But Amodu and Keshi chose to keep re-cycling some players.Â We were in a tough group with Argentina, Sweden and England. Onigbinde experimented with a few young stars during the firendlies andÂ maybe because he did not play any competitive match he chose to still bring back West, Shorunmi etc.
Ike Shorumi struggled with all the corner kicks against Argentina, struggled with kicking out goal kicks etc. Against England he dropped West, Shorumi etc and used Enyeama, Friday Christopher, Akwuegbu etc, and that was our best game of that world cup.
Keshi helped Togo qualify for the world cup, but when he got to the Nations cup, his team could not even win one match.Â There was nothing to write about the way they played and the Togolese FA dropped him.
Back to the present, the Nigerian Team has no character, we have a very static midfield, with so much space between the defence and the midfield and a lot of space between the attack and the midfield. During our match with Tunisia,Â our bench was close to our left full back position, yet we saw Taye Taiwo wonder away on at least two occasions before we conceded the second goal very late in the game.
In a Country of over 140 million people we can not find a left legged winger, we can not find a defensive midfileder who will provide cover for the back four. Olofinjana has continued to show he has no business playing for Nigeria, yet our coaches keep playing him. Our coaches have not thought about converting Taye Taiwo to a left sided midfielder instead of the defence where he makes a couple of wrong judgements. In the midfield he can provide additional holding midfield capability and dash forward while we still have a left full back behind him.
Non of our National coaches came to watch the semi final of the African champions league between Kano Pillars and Heartland. ItÂ was a shame. Recall that when Kunle Awesu was aging, Father Tiko watched Adokie Amaisiemeke play during NUGA games for Unilag and that was how we got a great star play for Nigeria before joining a club.
I am one of those who feel we should get Samson Siasia as Head Coach and if it is possible recruit a Foreign Technical adviser who should be a world class coach. Nigerian players need discipline, a coach who will command the respect of the players and field players based on fitness.
But we need the coach now so he has opportunity to play competitive football and not just friendlies. Bora did not have the opportunity to play the Nations cup before the world cup. Onigbinde did not also have the opportunity to play the Nations cup before he went to the world cup.
We therefore need to make the necessary changes before the Nations Cup, and we should go for Siasia.Â If we are able to look for a really good International coach as Technical adviser, so be it.
Long term football development still rests in the concept of football academies. We all miss the YSFON years where we were able to expose, build andÂ nurture real young stars. I still reminisce with a feeling of nostalgia, the days when Henry Nwosu, Clement Temile, Stephen Keshi, Humprey Edobor were picked from their Secondary schools to either play under 21 or play for their club sides.
Now we pick our so called under 17 players from club sides. The whole essence of youth competition is to invest in the development of young stars which means that the bulk of these chaps should come from secondary schools _ Shell cup competition, Principals cup etc.
Amodu has done a great job andÂ a lot of Nigerians have a lot of respect for him right from when he took the relatively unknown BCC Lions to great heights to his achievements at the National level. But we really need to over haul our Technical crew.
Engr Charles Oranyeli
Gosh! Against the run of play, against all odds, against a team that lacks every criteria you call a team, from poor marksmanship, poor team spirit, poor defending, poor coordination, e.t.cÂ A team its Head coach has not helped matters from his utterances likeâ€™â€™ I inherited a poor teamâ€™â€™, to â€˜â€™Lack of quality players in the teamâ€™â€™. Yet, we qualified for the world cup 2010.
Well, a lot of Nigerians will call it luck but I call it a miracle. We did not deserve it but it happened. These Eagles need to be rejuvenated but who will do so? If this team is not rejuvenated soon, we might not make any impact in the World Cup. I thankÂ God for putting a smile on the face of millions of Nigerians. Congrats to all Nigerians.
Echika Ugwuoju writes from port harcourt
Your submission on coaching crew option for Green Eagles is very beautiful but only on paper. Amodu to be promoted team manager? Siasia to assist Keshi, while Amokachi is also promoted to play 3rd fiddle from his current 2nd. Maybe Okpala will be goal keeper trainer or who performs that role? In Nigeria setting, this will definitely be house of chaos and destruction. Let it remain as it is or go outright for a foreign coach.
I always read your column. I hope those in glass house will take this serious and not struggling over money and neglect what can save Nigerian football as you always suggest in your analysis. If they like, let them hear.