By John Egbokhan
Former SecretaryGeneral of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Sani Toro, has predicted that Nigeriaâ€™s campaign at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa would end on a catastrophic note because of the perceived dependence of Coach Lars Lagerback on the technical committee headed by Taiwo Ogunjobi, in the selection of the preliminary squad for the tournament.
Speaking against the backdrop of the unveiling of the 30-man team, which would later be downsized to the final 23-man squad for the World Cup, kicking off in less that 27 days, Toro said that Lagerbackâ€™s admission that he took counsel from the FA technical committee in the composition of his provisional team, has made nonsense of whatever technical ability he professes to have.
Speaking yesterday with Sports Vanguard, the former Bauchi State Sports Commissioner, demanded to know from the former Sweden coach, the criteria he used in picking his players, stressing that the 62-year-old tactician has yet to deal with the players in training to know their strengths and weaknesses.
â€œHonestly, I am puzzled as to the factors that the coach used in selecting the players, since, we are all aware that he has yet to meet the players, train with them, or even lead them to play a friendly match, where he would have had a chance of knowing their style and performance.
â€œBut I became more concerned when Lagerback said that he relied on inputs from the technical committee in the compilation of the team, a development that I seriously fear may lead to catastrophe at the World Cup because the coach is supposed to invite players for such a major tournament like the World Cup.
â€œIf we have to succeed, Lagerback has to be his own man. He must not be seen or known to be relying on people in the FA for the selection of players because that would compromise the process, due to the wayÂ human beings are.
â€œBesides, some of the players that the coach invited are certainly not playing at the desired level anymore but that is another matter for another settingâ€, added a fuming Toro, over the telephone line.
He also raised hell over the way that Lagerback has been operating since he was appointed on March 1.
â€œSince his appointment, the coach has been moving from everywhere without doing the job that he was contracted for. He need to get serious or else, he would lead us astray and our semifinal target at the World Cup may just end up a mirageâ€, said Toro.