Nff, Coaches And Nigeria’s Football

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SAN FRANCISCO, March 02, (THEWILL) – The recent shocking resignation of Super Eagles Coach Sunday Oliseh, has again rekindled the debate on relations between the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and the Super Eagles coaching crew.

Oliseh, the ex-Super Eagles captain was contracted by the NFF in July 2015. But only eight months into the contract, his exit, in circumstances he described as “contractual violation of their working agreement,” has opened old wounds.

According to him, during the period in review, he received “so little help” from the NFF and was compelled to operate under “un-conducive working conditions.”

Coming at a time when the team has a date this month in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against the Pharaohs of Egypt, we see this flux as taking football in Nigeria ten steps backward, in what has become a characteristic ding-dung affair between the NFF and the coaching crew.

THEWILL is deeply worried about the unceremonious exit of coaches from the national team. On one hand, it has created instability in the team and lowered public confidence in the ability of NFF to take the nation's football to higher heights. It has also revealed that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way the NFF relates with the Eagles' coaching crew. This perhaps explains the culture of inconsistencies and controversies that have clogged the path of Nigeria's rise among soccer giants.

Unfortunately, this recurring altercation is often blamed on same reasons as unpaid salaries, match bonuses and allowances. The NFF is also accused of undue interference in players' selection, shady deals and corruption.

Despite NFF's penchant for denials and defence of these allegations, the matters raised by Oliseh are not new. Without prejudice to contending issues, the damning verdict is that the soccer governing house needs to be re-organized for better performance. We therefore call on the NFF to reflect on these and make amendments accordingly as it is an independent body.

Nigeria has had dozens of local and foreign coaches over time, whose tenures incidentally ended dramatically. Of these numbers, virtually all had at least, one rift with the NFF.

We recall that the status of Nigeria's football reached its peak during the Clemence Westerhof days. This was partly due to the frequent intervention of then Vice President, Late Augustus Aikhomu, who by-passed the then NFA (NFF used to be known as NFA), offering Westerhof an-unhindered passage to the presidency for all requirements including his welfare and players' allowances.

That rare privilege was what changed the tide of our football during the period. It was therefore not a surprise that it was only during his time that Nigeria's football got its all-round boost, with a top ten ranking in global football. Westerhof won laurels and led the nation to its first World cup appearance at USA '94 where the team made an impressive showing.

THEWILL urges the Muhammadu Buhari administration to intervene by reenacting a similar panacea so as to rescue the Super Eagles from instability and oblivion.

Football has become a very important economic and developmental sport for nations. It is a multi-billion dollars business hence Nigeria must put its house in order if it wants to reap from the bounty.