By JOHN EGBOKHAN
1980 African Nations Cup winner Adokiye Amiesimaka has said that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have set the stage for the Super Eagles to fail at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The first match of the World Cup between Brazil and Croatia is just 62 days away from kicking off in Sao Paolo, while the Eagles get their campaign up and running against Iran on June 16 in Curitiba, amidst hopes of reaching the quarterfinal stage for the very first time, since they made their debut at the 1994 edition in the United States of America.
Eagles’ other preliminary matches are against Bosnia-Herzegovina on June 21 in Cuiaba and against two-time champions Argentina on June 25 in Porto Alegre.
Optimism is high in the Eagles camp that the team will better Nigeria’s best ever feat at the Mundial but ex-international and former Attorney-General of Rivers State, Amiesimaka has cautioned that Eagles may just be lucky to get out of the group stage in Brazil.
Speaking in a telephone interview with Sports Vanguard, Amiesimaka accused the NFF of working against the success of Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, who he described as the best coach in Africa, but who ironically, he added was not being helped by the football ruling body in the country.
“We are hoping against hope to think that the Eagles will have a great World Cup in Brazil. I say this because the NFF have set the stage for us to fail. We will be lucky to get to the second round, in a group which is considered weak.
“Keshi is a world-class coach and even the best in Africa but the guys in the NFF don’t want Keshi to succeed. Let us not deceive ourselves that we are going to Brazil to excel.
World Cup is not for dreamers or for people, who are playing dirty politics. It is not a kids thing. It is a serious competition for serious people, who must be united to surmount on the obstacles on the way. We may just be lucky to get out of the group.
“Keshi wants Sylvanus Okpala on board as his assistant coach but the NFF don’t want Okpala because of pettiness. This issue has not been resolved and it is going to hunt us in Brazil.
NFF do not have the interest of Nigerians at heart. All they are after is for Keshi to fail, so that they can get their foreign coach to manage the team. They want Nigeria to fail to satisfy their interest”, added Amiesimaka.