NFF adamantly on wrong track

The effects of Super Eagles’ ouster from the Qatar 2022 World Cup is still a big subject of discourse in many parts of the country especially among football stakeholders. Many investments will be lost and many other plans for a proposed deal or sponsorships have been shattered. Journalists banking on sponsorship to cover the Mundial are having their hopes hanging in the balance.

One can go on and on about the effects but it was generally believed that lessons would have been learnt from the shocking setback. It is expected that the chieftains of the Nigeria Football Federation and the handles of the team will buckle up to do things in a better way going forward to avert a recurrence of the misadventure.

As a body, the NFF has not shown that the future will be better taken care of in terms of planning and provision of all necessary things for the players. The Nigeria/ Ghana World Cup playoff ties ended with bonuses and allowances not paid to the players and officials. It is sad that the entire team prosecuted the encounter without getting anything from the federation despite all the grammar and propaganda of the body about handling all logistics correctly. The return tickets were provided but the players and officials entered camp in Abuja and spent their own money on a daily basis for about 10 days of camping for the back-to-back encounters decided in Kumasi and Abuja. Rather than face reality of the problem areas and take responsibility for Nigeria’s failure, the NFF led by Amaju Pinnick has been chasing shadows.

No doubt, Austin Eguavoen did not do well enough in the playoffs but the NFF fired the entire crew because of the World Cup ouster as if the federation had no hand it at all. If the ticket had been won, the NFF would be all out about all the efforts of the federation but somehow, Eguavoen and co were fired.

Sad enough, with less than a month to the 2023 Nations Cup qualifiers against Sierra Leone, the NFF failed to name a coach. Rather it was the assistant coach announced in April that picked a controversial list of 30 players for the two friendly games to be played against Ecuador and Mexico. It is great to not that eight home-based players were invited but there was no explanation on why Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Paul Onuachu and Odion Ighalo were excluded. However, there was disturbing news that world football governing body, FIFA, ordered the Nigeria Football Federation to pay the sum of one million, forty-five thousand dollars ($1, 045,000) compensation and salaries to former Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr. Rohr was fired as Super Eagles head coach in December 2021 while still being owed several months salaries as well as bonuses and allowances.

The NFF says six months of the money was paid but the German reported Nigeria to FIFA and the world football governing body has ordered them to pay him $1,045,000 (about N433,873,550.00 officially) to cover his entitlements and additional compensation. FIFA ruled that the NFF had no justifiable reason to terminate Rohr’s contract in the manner that they did, especially as they were owing him a large sum. This is a global disappointment for the country especially as the same NFF was so desperate and hasty to sign on Jose Peseiro as replacement of Rohr with a salary of about $50,000.

It was learnt that the ministry of sports insisted on a proper evaluation of all shortlisted candidates. The technical committee of the NFF had recommended Perseiro along with three others – Philip Cocu, Laurent Blanc and Ernasto Valverde – for the Eagles manager job. Sad enough, the NFF is already thinking of piling up more debt with another foreign coach but the ministry of sports is also making efforts to have government take over the payment of the salaries of the Eagles supremo. With less than a month to the first match of the qualifiers, the NFF has not announced the name of the new manager as at May 12 and it was a surprise that Salisu Yusuf, whose image was tainted by FIFA over integrity issues, rolled out a list of 30 players for the friendlies slated for May 28 and June 2.

This is absurd and one wonders if the NFF chieftains have good conscience about the development of the game in the country. It is fine that domestic league players were invited but nobody deemed it fit to explain the absence of key players on the list. No lesson has been learnt about the ouster of Eagles from the World Cup just as the NFF has moved on without doing things differently to get better results. The NFF certainly is on the wrong track. So Sad!




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