The bad blood generated by the power struggle between the Sani Lulu-led Board of the Nigeria Football Association, NFA and the Presidential Task Force, PTF set up by the Federal Government to ensure Super Eagles qualification and respectable participation at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was re-echoed Tuesday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State by Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
The occasion was the AIT Football Award bankrolled by the Rivers State government where Governor Amaechi, who was Chairman of the PTF, recollected the attitude of most members of the Super Eagles who were ostensibly on the side of their coach then, Shaibu Amodu.
According to kickoffnigeria.com, the governor was speaking at the awards ceremony and commenting on his frosty relationship with the NF and Amodu for the first time described the Eagles as a ‘disrespectful’ bunch with the exception of two of them, Osaze Odemwingie and Vincent Enyeama, who incidentally re winners of the AIT Football Award, Odemwingie for 2009 and Enyeama for 2010.
Enyeama and Odemwingie who gave the Eagles some respect in the eyes of fans both during the qualifiers and the World Cup proper had kind words from the governor when he said, “I like these two boys who have been nominated today, because of their attitude, their dedication and commitment.”
He however lashed out t the majority of the plyers, stressing, “Most of the Super Eagles players were disrespectful to us in the PTF. They refused to talk to us, maybe because they feel they play football and are big men, only these two (Enyeama and Odemwingie) made the effort to do so. They are respectful and responsible and that is why it is showing in their game at club level and in the national team. The others have to learn to be humble.”
He said his job as Chairman of the PTF was very difficult one, adding that he would never accept to offers to serve in a similar capacity. He also used the opportunity to address the issue of the chartered aircraft used by the PTF during the African Nations Cup in Angola and kept on standby for 10 days, which drew ire from the public after the NFA alarmed Nigerians that the PTF was distracting the Eagles by their presence in Angola.
“We did not spend a kobo of taxpayers’ money on the aircraft. The owner of the airline told us that the aircraft would be with us for as long as the team remained in Angola, he said, adding, “I pray I do not have another opportunity to serve in the PTF. It is a difficult job.”