IN NOVEMBER 2010. Samson Siasia was appointed head coach of the Super Eagles after “beating” his erstwhile national team skipper Stephen Keshi in an interview process conducted by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). One year later, November 2011, Siasia has been sacked and now replaced by Keshi.
T HIS is the third and final part of my “Memoranda from Soccertalk archives” in which I have recalled articles earlier published in this column for the attention of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) as we seek to chart a new way forward for Nigerian football.
LAST WEEK, I started a series on “The Way Forward for Nigerian Football” by recalling the recommendations made by a committee that I was part of in 1999. In continuation of the memoranda that I promised to submit to the current executive committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on charting a new way forward for Nigerian football, I have again recalled below an article that was originally published in this column on October 28, 2002 (Nine years ago).
I AM WRITING this on the morning of Tuesday, October 11, 2011. It is three days after Nigeria’s Super Eagles were sensationally eliminated by Guinea’s Syli Nationale from the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations race and the whole country is still seething with anger, disappointment, shock and disbelief.
I HAVE obtained exclusive details of the strategy that Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer wants to adopt this weekend in Abuja in order to beat Nigeria to the sole automatic qualifying ticket from our group for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
THE rows upon rows of empty seats at last Sunday’s 2011 Federation Cup final between Enyimba of Aba and Heartland of Owerri at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos has brought to the fore, once again, how deeply apathetic the local fan base has grown towards Nigerian domestic football.
THIS WEEKEND’S 2011 Federation Cup (FA Cup) final between Enyimba Football Club of Aba and Heartland Football Club of Owerri is the perfect tonic that Nigerian football needs to break away, even if temporarily, from the protracted crisis that is strangulating our domestic football.
I CANNOT readily remember the occasion nor the date anymore. But the venue was the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos and I was chatting with friends and colleagues at the VIP lounge following the conclusion of a football match details of which escape me now.
SASMON SIASIA’s honeymoon as coach of the Super Eagles is effectively over. At the time of writing this, the news flittering out of the Glass House in Abuja was that the top hierachy of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) was ill at ease with the list of players that the coach had drawn up for the must-win Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Madagascar in Antananarivo on September 3, 2011.
I CAN IMAGINE some readers muttering under their breath after reading my headline: “Mumini has come again with his wahala! Everybody is praising the Flying Eagles for a wonderful showing in Colombia, but here he is putting a question mark on their performance. Let’s find out what the problem is this time.”
“The NFF has always had a reputation for being a spendthrift. In one breath, you will hear top officials complain about lack of money to execute important programmes. But, in the next breath, you will see a bus-load of them embarking on a flight of fancy to go and “support” the national team.”
I was in Osogbo, capital of Osun State over the weekend for a conference of my group, The Companion, when news broke that Chelsea Football Club of England had signed President Goodluck Jonathan as their new manager for next season to replace the sacked Italian, Carlo Ancelloti.
THERE IS HOPE for a better future for Nigerian sports after all. I came to this happy conclusion following the inauguration of the Adokiye Amiesimaka - led committee set up by the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, to determine the modalities for the establishment of the Nigeria Court of Arbitration for Sport (NCAS).
HE ONLY place to be this weekend is the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos where arguably Nigeria’s most accomplished footballer ever will be formally “pulled out” of the national team, the Super Eagles. On Saturday, June11, 2011, Nwankwo “Papillo” Kanu will be honoured with a testimonial match that is worthy of a legend.
I AM writing this less than 24 hours after Barcelona defeated Manchester United 3-1 in the final of the 2011 European Champions League at the Wembley Stadium in London, England on Saturday, May 28. By the time you are reading, what will be the talk of the town is the international friendly match between Nigeria and Argentina in Abuja on Wednesday, June the 1st. Currency of news and local relevance suggest that the Nigeria-Argentina game should be my focus this week in Soccertalk, but that would be letting history happen before our very korokoro eyes without properly documenting it. Barcelona’s performance last weekend is the stuff of legends and it will be talked about for a very, very long time.
NIGERIA received a double wake-up call over the weekend when West African neighbours Togo dethroned our home-based Super Eagles in the WAFU Nations Cup on Saturday, while Ghana eliminated our Super Falcons from the race to the 2011 All Africa Games on Sunday.
A FEW WEEKS ago when I featured Peter Osaze Odemwingie as the lead subject in this column, it was for the wrong reasons. The player had walked out on Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia over a disagreement and then gone on to confront the coach on Twitter. That prompted me to ask him to “shut up” and apologise to his coach which he promptly did. Case closed.
CAMEROUN, Nigeria and Real Madrid were forced to eat humble pie of various sizes in the past one week as the football menu snowballed across the globe. And Chelsea now have a chance to benefit from coach Carlo Ancelotti’s new found humility as the English Premier League is decided this weekend at Old Trafford. Everything points to one fact: Confidence is good, but arrogance can kill!
BY THE time Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid complete the final episode of their 5-Series best seller El-Clasico (The Classic) in the on-going football season, both sets of players will probably be extremely tired of seeing each other’s faces.