ByÂ Richard Animam
Former U-23 national team coach Samson Siasia is known for his candid comments on football issues. He is one of the few coaches on the local scene who has been able to look straight into the eyes of NFA officials andÂ tell them the truth.
His views often times have seen him on the black books of those who ran the NFA in the past but that has not stopped the ex-international from saying it the way it is.
Siasia, presently on the pay roll of Heartland FC of Owerri as Technical Adviser, described most of the Super Eagles players who represented Nigeria at the World Cup hosted by South Africa as cowards.
According to him, it was obvious there wereÂ problems in the team but none came out publicly to say it because they were afraid of being ejected from the team.
â€œThey knew there were problems in the team and they refused to speak out. They could have spoken with members of the NFA or the Presidential Task Force members.
These people would have been able to solve the problem but they simply refused to talk. When they finally decided to open up, it was too late for anyone to do anything about the situation.
That is certainly not the right approach. That is why they do not want some of us in the system, because we will not keep quiet while things go wrong. As a result of that attitude, Nigeria is smarting from what can be said to be her worst outing at the World Cup, while Ghana is enjoying her best outing at the World Cup and taking all the accoladesâ€, Siasia said.
As regards the quality of people who should be in the new NFA, the former Flash Flamengoes of Benin striker said he believes we need people who can take football to the next level.
â€œFirst, we need some form of a forum where we can put heads together and discuss and appoint people with the interest of the game at heart. I am confident that we have people who can bring Nigerian football out of the woods.
TheÂ ex-internationals can also be very useful in the new NFA. Look at what France is doing. It is not possible for everybody to be a national team coach, so we need to use ex-internationals to scout for Nigerians playing in Europe and other parts of the world.
â€œEvery day, some of us get calls from the United States and other countries where our players ply their trade. They do not know how to get in touch with the federation. The ex-internationals can come in handy here.
There are Nigerians in Europe who want to play for the country but do not know who to contact. The ex-players can come in and serve as a link between the players and the NFAâ€, he said.