Still smarting from the recent twist in the leadership tussle that has engulfed it, the Nigeria Football Federation is faced with a serious issue that bothers on ethics, morals and integrity. And it has to do with coach of the national team, Salisu Yusuf. The board we were told is ready to act.
Coach Yusuf was in the news for the wrong reasons early in the week. According to a video clip made available to Saturday Sports Vanguard by the BBC, the coach was filmed while accepting a $1000 bribe from Ghanaian undercover journalist Anas, ‘Tiger Eye’ PI Agency, who posed as a players’ manager. The money was given to Salisu during the WAFU Nations Championship which the coach led Eagles Team B to the final. The Eagles eventually lost to Ghana in the final.
Salisu was caught unawares. But the Kano born tactician, who is highly respected among his peers and football administrators in the country told his benefactor (on tape) that team selection was based on performance. Although we were not told who the players in question were, reports have it that they were already key members of Yusuf’s squad at both WAFU and CHAN championships.
Vague as the report is, the establishment of the fact that coach Salisu Yusuf received money from the so-called players’ manager, remains incontestable. Yusuf has since dismissed the allegation of bribe. “No,” he said, vehemently. “It was a gift and not a bribe.” he insisted.
The Nigeria Football Coaches Association has risen in strong defence of their own, re-echoing what Yusuf said that he received “a gift and not a bribe.”
In a communique signed by it’s chairman, Ladan Bosso, the association said,“it is clear to the blind that the coach’s stand wasn’t distorted by the “triviality“ of the pecuniary gift made to him,” adding, “prior to the issuance of the gift, the players in question had already made the team and were in fact among the pillars of the team.”
Intriguingly, the coaches added, “we do not think that the integrity and reputation of football has been affected by this.”
But Yusuf’s employers, the Nigeria Football Federation see it from a different perspective. The disciplinary committee of the Nigeria Football Federation recommended that the Super Eagles coach be fired. NFF President Amaju Pinnick and his vice Shehu Dikko are said to be very disappointed and bitter over the conduct of the Kano-born coach, fueling suggestions that he won’t survive the axe from the board.
We also gathered that coach Gernot Rohr is yet to react to the incident which has sent shock waves through the Eagles backroom. “The technical adviser is yet to say anything regarding the Salisu issue,” was all an insider told our reporter.