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‘Go-Slow’ At The Bottleneck Of Selecting Super Eagles Coach  –Odegbami

‘Go-Slow’ At The Bottleneck Of Selecting Super Eagles Coach  –Odegbami

At the end of AFCON 2023 in February, Jose Peseiro, the Portuguese Manager that took the Super Eagles to Cote D’Ivoire became history. His contract was not renewed by the Nigeria Football Federation despite getting to the final of the championship and putting up a credible performance through most of the championship. The majority of Nigerian football fans insist that he is not good enough for Nigeria’s ambitions into the future.

Since then, some 6 weeks later, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has been unable to announce a new gaffer for the senior national team. There appears to be a ‘go slow’ at the bottleneck of selecting the right manager for what would be a new national team.

Two friendly matches were played under a temporary arrangement with the Nigerian assistant coach to Peseiro, Finidi George, in charge. The team won the first friendly against Ghana, but  lost the second. The loss to Mali may have sealed Finidi’s fate as the new coach. Despite the team’s unpreparedness for the insignificant friendly match, Finidi working alone on the bench without any other member of the technical crew, and several players not available or reluctant to play, those that don’t like the face of a Nigerian as head, have been unrelenting in condemning Finidi’s seemingly poor technical performance in that match.

Since then, with 6/7 weeks to the next very important World Cup qualifying match to play, the debates and controversy have dominated the media space over who should lead the team.  Should it be another foreigner, or a Nigerian for a change? There have been 200 million opinions. Every Nigerian has become an expert. In the midst of these discordant voices, the NFF must make an announcement soon.

Also Read: The Role Of The Sports Ministry In Nigerian Sports –Odegbami

One thing is clear, except amongst some academic hard-line critics of Nigerian coaches, there appears to be little appetite for another half-baked foreign coach in Nigeria. The rackets attached to the hiring of foreign coaches may not find accommodation in a beleaguered government trying to reduce corruption in the system. The NFF does not have the funds, and the federal government will not accommodate the humongous fees of foreign coaches in the present dispensation.

So, it will be a Nigerian as next manager of the Super Eagles.

Why has the NFF not identified the most suitable amongst those that have indicated an interest, or that the body has identified and appointed a new national coach?

There is a lot of politicking ongoing. Nigerian coaches appear not to tick all the boxes of requirements, not  eliciting the confidence of several officials of the NFF with vested interest in particular aspirants.

As things stand, however, a decision has to be taken now.

Most fingers point in the direction of a former international player.

He appears to be the preferred choice of most Nigerians in the media, particularly the Social Media.

I will not be surprised if Emmanuel Amuneke gets the final nod to lead the team. It will become a huge task to dispel the serious reservations about his choice by those familiar with his antecedents when he was in one of the junior teams.


PARIS 2024 Olympics – My Olympics story!

I have just made up my mind to attend the Paris Olympic Games this summer.

It will be my first time at the Olympics and not as an athlete.

In 1976, at the Montreal Olympics in Canada, I attended as an athlete but did not participate. Along with the rest of the world, I tasted the incursion of politics into sport, and the first deployment of sports diplomacy in international affairs.  the names of all the athletes from 30 countries that were involved in the boycott of the games were not recorded in the International directory of Olympians at the International Olympic Committee, IOC.

In 1980, without officially qualifying for the Moscow Games, but benefitting from the crisis that followed Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan, leading to the boycott by several Western countries led by the USA, the Green Eagles were invited to the Moscow Olympics. I led the Nigerian national football team and doubled as co-captain (with Ahmeed Adio) of the overall contingent to become a registered member of the exclusive club of Olympians.

Also Read: Nigerian Football – Stuck In The Mud Of Leadership! –Odegbami

I would have attended the 1996 Games in Atlanta, USA, as manager of Chioma Ajunwa and Charity Opara. Unfortunately, when I applied for a visa to the Games from my base in the UK at the time, the interview date given at the American embassy was weeks after the Games would have ended. That’s how I sat at home in London, and missed the opportunity of attending the Olympics as a manager of athletes. My two wards won a Gold and a Silver medal.

At the 2010 Games in London, I was at ‘home’. I watched the Games as a tourist, attending a few events LIVE from the stands,  but most from the  giant screens at the Nigerian village set up for the huge Nigerian population in the UK.

During the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, I became inventive. I did the seemingly impossible.  I became an invisible ‘fly on the wall’ reporting from Nigeria everything about the Nigerian contingent at the games with the deployment of technology and the collaboration of athletes and officials at the games.

Now, Paris 2024 Games are here.

I have a strong feeling Nigeria will come away with several medals. The feeling is strong. There are some obvious athletes in the winning zone already.

Having said that, the spirit of the Olympics is more in participating than in winning. That’s why as many athletes as have achieved the qualifying times and distances should be given the opportunity to experience the Olympics. I hope Nigeria will take all the athletes that attain the qualifying standards to Paris 2024.

‘Winning’ is not only about coming ‘first’. 

From AFCON 2023, Nigeria gave a new and interesting definition to ‘winning’.

The country’s national team, the Super Eagles, for 4 weeks, provided the glue that united the country at a time when the country was going through difficult times in perennial economic, political and social challenges.  As the Super Eagles, a team that was not given a chance to win by fanatical Nigerian football fans on the even of the championship, started to play well and to win matches in dramatic fashion, the spirit of nationalism took over the country. Temporarily, for a few weeks, Nigerians set aside their hardship, divisions and differences, and focused attention on the feel-good success of the Eagles on the football field. Even President Bola Tinubu became a part of the championship, following the Super Eagles on television all the way to the final match. With hopes sky-high,  the entire country rallied around the team and supported their bid to win the most prestigious sports trophy in Africa, only for the hopes to be dashed at the last hurdle.

Despite the disappointment of that defeat, the country demonstrated uncommon appreciation of what the team had done for the psyche of the citizens during the period, a reminder of positive possibilities beyond AFCON, by spreading out the Red Carpet to welcome back the football heroes, compensating the team that came second with rewards unheard of in sports history. It was a beautiful confirmation of that Olympic truism that to be a ‘winner’ you do not have to come ‘first’.

God willing, I shall be at the Paris 2024 Olympics to report Nigeria’s success, first hand!


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  • Tristan 2 months ago

    Why don’t you tell us who you think should be the SE coach, instead of playing coy. You write articles on your authority as a former player and a current stakeholder in Nigerian football. Instead of going to media houses broadcasting that Nigerian coaches are capable. Tell us who you believe is the right choice. Name that person. That way in the future we’ll be able to assess the quality of your advice.

  • The nff is a sham. This is an organization that receives all sorts from FIFA and CAF.
    According to a report, IFA’s development program, FIFA Forward, has provided approximately $2.8 billion to its 211 member associations, six confederations, and regional associations between 2016 and 2022. From 2023 to 2026, each member association will receive up to $8million.

    CAF’s annual subsidy to African federations will increase from $227,000 to $402,000 from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025.

    AFCON winner: $4 million, Runners up: $3million

    Assured Funds for nff in 2024

    FIFA : $2 million
    CAF. $402,000
    AFCON: $3 million
    Total funds: $7.402 million

    The nff is not broke, it is only managed by Brokers with corrupt minds.
    Why cry to the sports ministry for help that could lead to the end if your term. With the exemption of Oliseh and Egbo, none of the ex-internationals have the resume and capabilities to lead a global brand.
    A foreign coach is the best option at the moment. If you can’t get a good one, look for the best among the local coach based on records in the past 5years.
    Amunike will not make the top 10.

  • @Larry, That money is long gone, already divided, there is also sponsorship fees from Nike and other Nigerian corporate bodies.

  • By the way add Afcon budget to it, mind you those players are yet to get there allowances and match bonuses in full.

    • Ipetu Madu 2 months ago

      This is serious. NFF Jibiti have a lot to answer for.
      NFF barawo

    If EFCC investigates NFF ONIGBESE, does that constitute government interference?
    Perhaps we can get FIFA’s permission first before the investigation commences.
    We want to know what happened to the $4m Afcon money and all the other monies NFF have received in the past year. Every penny needs to be accounted for.

    • This is how it should be done but unfortunately, the system is very toxic and as long as you part of the government, you above the laws.

      Isn’t that shameful?

      Look at the way NFF and Sports minister are doing now to hire a coach for Super Eagles.

      EFCC have lot to do and they must start from Amaju pinnick. Then move to politicians. Ire o. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • The nff and the sports ministry are playing out a script. They both know the games they are playing. They think everyone is their mumu.

    In the end, Gusau and his thieves go chop breakfast. No Wcup in 8 years will consume not only Gusau nff but Picnics’.

  • Ipetu Madu 2 months ago

    Thins man is funny . Just say who you think should be the SE coach, simple. This epistle from Odegbami will not wash.

  • We hail thee 2 months ago

    Why would any sane country’s ministry of sport and FA after setting up the technical dept to recruit a coach spent time and resources only to turn around and jettison the same dept.recommendations? Who does that?
    Who now takes the blame in case of failure of the adopted fire brigade approach?
    In the recent past I thought Senator Eno was a knowledgeable minister.
    Little did I know he has a fish brain and has started planning to fail so early.smhhhhh…

  • The truth of the matter is we can’t keep coming here to rant about the NFF being corrupt. Please present your facts rather than typing figures here and there. Do you know the expenditures that comes with all this. This $7 million is probably the monthly budget of some FA’s abroad. Pinnick one time said it cost close to N300 million just to organize a friendly for the Super Eagles. The Super eagles are not the only association on the books of the sports ministry. It’s just that the super Eagles are global brand that’s why they get ore attention. Do we know the cost of running the NFF on a daily basis. The issue i can only have with the NFF is not properly generating revenues for the FA. Below are areas they need to critically start to generate funds for not only the super eagles but other national teams.

    1. Stadium naming rights
    2. Ticketing and hospitality
    3. TV rights

  • They say, we use money to make money in local parlance. A 3 million naira paid coach pm will ruin the 3 billion dollar worth businesses that will thrive overtly or covertly in Nigeria if we qualify for the world cup.

    Why not stop these poor men mentality and get a good coach we can pay less than or equal to 50k dollars pm to take us to the world cup.

    But those that I know in the NFF and Ministry of sports are MENTALLY POOR and cannot think of the losses. A Finidi George who has been in the dugout with Enyimba is way better than an Amuneke who has been jobless for 2years.

    Amuneke can even ruin our chances albeit THE REVENGE OF THE OBIDIENTS

    • Na wa o, how do you know he has been jobless for 2 years. Are you PA to know that? He could be a consultant for a team we might not be privy to know about or probably has an academy he is running. Nigerians and yeye assumptions here and there

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