By OKEY NDIRIBE
ABUJA— The Minister of Sports and Chairman of National Sports Commission (NSC) Yusuf Suleiman has cautioned Nigerians over the attempt in some quarters to heap the entire blame for the nation’s failure to qualify for the 2012 edition of the African Cup of Nations on the Chief Coach of Super Eagles Samson Siasia.
Suleiman told journalists in Abuja yesterday that what happened last Saturday was a national disgrace which should be seriously analysed by all stakeholders including the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the technical crew as well as representative of the players.
He further said that what happened in this year’s qualification for the continental fiesta whereby some of the finest football playing nations like Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt and South Africa failed to qualify requires proper appraisal even as he admitted that most of the so-called smaller countries have greatly improved their performance.
According to him: “We are going to sit down and find out what happened. We should not apportion blames; you see if it was only Nigeria you can take a unilateral decision but where the likes of Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Algeria and South Africa failed to qualify, I think the problem is becoming endemic; I may have my reasons which I will not want to say publicly.”
Suleiman further stated that the Sily Nationale of Guinea was more committed; that is why they defeated the Super Eagles”.
According to him: “The duo of Ikechukwu Uche and Ahmed Musa were seen as very determined because unlike most of the other players, they were hungry for success.”
The Minister who expressed his anger over the defeat insisted that the issue may be beyond the NFF and the Coach adding that he will have to seat with the leadership of the federation to find out what went wrong and how to get the country back to the winning ways.
The Super Eagles failed to qualify for the 2012 African Nations Cup to be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea after the Sily Nationale stunned the home crowd at the Abuja National Stadium last Saturday with a late minute equalizer to end the encounter in a 2-2 draw which sealed the hope of Nigeria being at the continental fiesta.