By Nelson Ekujumi,
Following the sack of the former Super Eagles Coach Samson Siasia by the NFF, the most appropriate thing for the Football body to have done if it had been composed of persons knowledgeable in football, would have been to address the national virus of failure that has finally caught up with our beloved sport, football, by doing a serious and sincere soul searching of where we did go wrong and where we go from here.
But alas, the NFF has decided to gamble once again with our collective destiny by appointing a replacement in person of Stephen Keshi as the senior national team manager. I am still waiting for them to appoint other coaches for the other national teams that have exhibited failure, after all that is, according to them, the way forward.
A major malaise that has befallen Nigeria as a country is the dearth of responsive and responsible leadership who would publicly admit its mistakes and genuinely seek forgiveness and assistance.
Since the appointment of Stephen Keshi, the NFF have been busy trying hard to justify why he is the most qualified coach to take Nigeria to the Promised Land as if they didn’t say the same thing when they appointed Siasia. Even though, the sack of Siasia was in line with the aspirations of most football followers in Nigeria, the truth is that our football administration was a disaster waiting to happen. Was Siasia also responsible for the failures of the Under 17, Under 20 and the Falcons at their various levels?
A society can only move forward by positive hard work rather than gambling that has become a way of life among our people. It’s an undisputable fact that Nigeria is a huge gamble in which those in positions of authority believe that the solutions to the myriad of problems confronting the society lie in wishes and Good luck.
The chicken came to roost last Saturday, when the Super Eagles hosted Botswana and played a goalless draw. Instead of admitting the big trouble that our football have run into, some people are busy churning out excuses why the Eagles played the way they did.
Another fundamental problem with our football just like our country is that we are no longer a producing country but rather a consuming one. Gone were those days when we had policies of churning out talents in various fields. Then, we had organizations like YSFON and the rest that helped in discovering raw talents that were nurtured to bring us glory. Today, what we have succeeded in doing in our football just like in our political life, is that we are recycling failures, at both the coaches and players levels. All the coaches that failed the national teams at one time or the other are in the technical committee of the NFF. The same players who failed under Amodu Shuaibu, Berti Volt, Lars Largeback, and lately Samson Siasia are the same ones being paraded today by a failed Under 21 Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi.
Watching the Super Eagles in the match against Botswana, the question that worried my mind is, are these the best that Nigeria with a population of over 160 million people can offer? I absolutely disagree. But one thing which came out clearly in the match is that there is no difference between Siasia and Keshi.