Monday, 29 February 2016



As a Nation we love our parties, we love having our 'chilled' drinks while we expound on the state of the nation in every which way it hits us, and then -- no doubt we love our women too, and then also we love our football. No, we are passionate, fanatical about our football. Curiously also, we love ignoring antecedents, history, precedents although their stories provide the meaty flesh we love to ruminate on all year through.

About 7 months ago the NFF(Nigeria Football Federation)  President , Amaju Pinnick, cited insurbodination and lack of committment as the reasons for sacking coach Stephen Keshi, while in the same breath, boldly told Football loving Nigerians that he trusted that Coach Sunday Oliseh ' had the temperament to work harmoniously with the Technical and development committee...'

While many had applauded this move, The Online Editorial  [ click to read the full story ] had raised a red flag citing Olishe's many instances of questionable temperamental disposition. That post had ended with the question : "Is Sunday Oliseh's appointment really a master stroke, or just a loaded gun looking for a burst-up?"

Seven months on the answer is clear to all : NFF and Sunday Oliseh have parted ways in a not so tidy manner. It was infact, in a messier manner than when the NFF parted ways with Keshi. On the 26th February 2016,  week Sunday Oliseh tendered his resignation , accusing the NFF of not giving him the needed support to deliver on his job.  [  click to read Oliseh's resignation letter here. ]

The NFF-OLISEH burst-up not only provided juice for the media but is now bordering on issues where a few people are calling on the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) to investigate the body. This may be a debate for another day.

The Online Editorial's focus is really on something less complex : There really is nothing wrong with the Amaju Pinnick led NFF to have come clean. He should have simply told Nigerians that he only wanted to give his 'country man' , Oliseh--(they come from the same State ), a chance. If he had come out candidly to say that, a few of us who are doggedly analytical would have understood. The debate we are now going to raise would have had no place.

But to have categorically said that Oliseh had the ' temperament to ...' clearly indicates one of two things. Either the leadership of the NFF was grossly incompetent and lacking in the ability to read character, and draw credible inferences from available data, or, ( and this I believe is a greater sin) -- the NFF deliberately, calculatedly lied to soccer loving Nigerians for some veiled , dubious reason.

In either case the NFF should do the honourable thing and come clean to Nigerians. They not only owe Nigerians an apology, but they should as a duty to this nation address the issues concerning Sunday Oliseh and his assistant Jean Francois Loscuito's claims of being owed salaries going several months back. Oliseh's assistant, Loscuito is being owed about One Hundred Thousand dollars ( according to an interview he granted to Brilla 88.9, ). This is a major embarassment to the NFF and Nigeria as a whole. On air, Mr. Loscuito almost in tears appealed to the NFF to please pay his salary as he had a family to provide for and outstanding medical bills to settle. This is not the NFF a man of Amaju Pinnick's stature should be leading. As a former sports professional himself the NFF President should relate to the plight and desires of professional sports people in Nigeria.

All said, a more important question for us however, is how does all of this affect soccer lovers in Nigeria?

Answer: If the NFF does not give the interim coaching crew the needed support, Nigeria's qualification for the next African Nations Cup will be in jeopardy. If Nigeria again does not qualify we can only imagine the loss in terms of business opportunities nationwide, loss of earnings to NFF from CAF and of course real exposure for our footballers.

In the final anaysis, this absolutely avoidable state of affairs leaves a huge quesion hanging over the Amaju Pinnick led NFF: Is he the right man to lead the NFF beyond the tenure of his first term? Mr. Pinnick still has a few more years to answer that question.

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