By NBF News

Obaseki canvasses support for Lagerback
Sunday, March 07, 2010
The outgoing Chairman of Nigeria Premier League (NPL) and 2nd Vice President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Chief Oyuki Obaseki, is soliciting for support for the newly appointed national team coach, Lars Lagerback.

Obaseki's call is coming on the heels of the controversy being generated by the five-month contract worth $1.5million (about N225million) awarded to the new Super Eagles' coach.

Some Nigerians are of the opinion that the contract has no plan for Nigerian football since its focus is only on the World Cup, and therefore, they are saying that the contract sum is much for a job that will only last for about five months. But Chief Obaseki has a different opinion and has challenged those who harbour such views to support the new Eagles' handler instead of finding fault in the contract.

The Bini high chief explained that though the Swede signed a five-month contract with the NFF, the contract is subject to extension if Lagerback does well with the team at the World Cup in South Africa. He, therefore, called on Nigerians to rally round the new Eagles' helmsman so that he would deliver on his mandate.

“I don't understand the Nigerian press,” Obaseki began. “You were writing and saying that Nigerians need a foreign technical adviser. Now Lagerback has been appointed as one and you people are already finding fault on his contract with the NFF. “What do you mean by the contract does not have any plan for the Super Eagles after the World Cup? We have just given the coach a contract. I therefore suggest that we should allow him to execute the job first before we begin to x-ray whether the contract is good or not.

“If Lagerback succeeds at the World Cup with the Super Eagles, his contract will be extended, but where he fails, then we will know what to do. So, in my opinion, instead of dwelling on whether the contract is good or not, we should give the new technical adviser the necessary support to succeed in his assignment.”

On the rumour that Lagerback rejected the assistants the NFF picked for him, Chief Obaseki said there's no iota of truth in that rumour. According to him, what happened was that the Swede has his own assistants, who he said he would be working with in conjunction with his Nigerian assistants.

Obaseki says the Swede is not the boss to Nigeria, but the other way round, and as a result, he cannot dictate for the country in any way.

“I wish to state clearly that Lagerback is not our boss. He cannot dictate to us, instead, we are the people that will always dictate for him based on what we want. He is coming with his assistants but we will give him some of our men to work with also.

“However, I want to state categorically that there is no iota of truth in the story that Lagerback rejected the assistant coaches the NFF recommended for him. What happened is that he told us that he would be coming with his own staff, but we are going to give him our own men to also work with. That is the truth of the matter,” Obaseki stated.