By Richard Animam
THE on-going 27th Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Angola has again brought to the fore the poor quality Nigeria is parading at the 15- nation tournament.  Before the Super Eagles left for Angola, very little was seen by Nigerians in terms of the team’s preparation thus no one could truly assess the team. Preparation was carried out in secrecy and players who were nursing different types of injuries were selected to represent the country at the expense of players who are fit and hungry for glory.

•DANGERMAN: Osaze Odemwingwie (m) in action for Eagles

Commentators said so much, but Super Eagles coach Shaibu Amodu would rather have his way and the outcome of that was a 3-1 drubbing by defending champions’ Egypt in the team’s opening match in Benguela.

One man who has spent a lot of time talking and writing about the Eagles is Port Harcourt based lawyer Barrister Adokie Amiesimaka.

The ex-international could simply not understand why Nigerians find it so difficult to see the rot in our football.  Adokie can not also phantom why Amodu did not bring in Samson Siasia to assist him in the technical area.

According to Adokie, Siasia is a good coach with flare for attack and wondered why Amodu did not include him in his technical crew. Having watched Eagles poor play against Egypt in Benguela, Amiesimaka believes Amodu should not be the man to take Nigeria to South Africa 2010.

“I strongly recommend that Stephen Keshi and Samson Siasia be engaged to take Nigeria to the World Cup. I expected some players from Siasia’s team to form the bulk of the Super Eagles in Angola but I am surprised there is none. Why? Does Amodu  have any problem with Siasia, if that is true, then let Keshi and Siasia lead Nigeria to the World Cup and drop Amodu. Amodu has done enough, lets thank him and relieve him of the job”, he said.

On the issue of hiring a foreign coach to supervise Amodu, Adokie said Nigeria does not need a white coach, stressing that we have domestic coaches who are better than the white coaches being taunted allover.

“I am aware of the controversy over whether it should be a domestic coach or a foreign coach. It has been a lingering issue. Let’s not forget, Stephen Keshi (a Nigeria) the Mali coach, he has achieved the greatest feat in Nations Cup history against a white coach playing at home. From 0-4 he came back to 4-4. I remembered when we played against Tunisia in June in Abuja and we were leading 2-1 and they leveled up and Nigerians were complaining that, had it been a white coach, the Tunisians would not have leveled up. But what would they say about Keshi  now.

“The thing about coaches has nothing to do with being foreign or home-based. It is the same knowledge that they obtain and apply, that domestic coaches too apply. So when we are talking about coaches let’s not put so much emphasis on whether they are foreign or domestic.  It has nothing to do with a coach being black or white.
Illusion about Eagles:

“We are disappointed with our team because we have an illusion that we are the giant of Africa. We are not. The chickens have come home to roost. It is an entire package. We have to look at our football holistically. We will be making a mistake if we look at individuals. Our football no longer exists.  Even in the past, we struggled but now the reality has caught with us. Our football has gone to sleep.

Look at the age of most of our players. Many of the players are much older than we imagine. If we can use older players in the Eaglets team how much more the senior team. “Consider fitness, Many are injured. Obafemi Martins is recovering from injury, Yakubu Aiyegbeni is recovering and many others are recovering from one injury or the other and add that to age, it gives us poor fitness.

“ Most of the players are old and injured and that results to poor fitness. We do not have any player to look  on to. The players have a fitness problem.  Against Egypt, the match ended for Nigeria after 32 minutes.  Our team stopped playing after 32 minutes and surrendered the game to the Egyptians.

Bringing in Kanu for Mikel was wrong. Maybe Amodu brought Mikel to play the attacking midfield position and believed that Kanu could do a better job. But that did not happen. Kanu is the most intelligent player in the team. He has that natural intelligence, but unfortunately, age is not on his side. He is one player who has commitment. Kanu is not young. If you see  him not playing well, it is not because he does not want to play well, it’s because  his body can’t carry him anymore.

It’s high time he retired from active football and the country should give him a good testimonial in acknowledgment of his selfless service to the country and advise him to hang his  boots. We  should not think of winning any major tournament for the next 10 years. This is the time for us to build. If we fail to do so, we will continue to have the kind of heartache that we are having now.

Preparing in secret
Of all the teams in the competition, Nigeria was the only team that prepared in secret.  I don’t see  how that  has helped us. It is better to train in the open, so that people can see your team and criticize you. That way, you can make good changes in the team. Look at the Egyptian team, nine out of the starting eleven are home-based. Look at our team, not one home-based. The NFF also has a problem. Why set a target for the team when you know that your team is riddled with injured players.


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