RELIEF FOR WHIPPING BOY AMODU
National Football coach Shuaib Amodu must be thanking God today not necessarily because Nigeria, in the opening round, crashed out of the current World Cup series going on in South Africa. Amodu should be thanking God because he was not the coach in charge. Otherwise, by now, all of them - amateur football commentators, the football authorities (NFF or what is the name) the Sports Commission and possibly the Sports minister (admittedly new in office) would have supported and called for the dismissal of coach Amodu.
Here was a man, Shuaib Amodu, who got Nigeria qualified for the final series in South Africa, only to be unceremoniously dropped for a foreign coach who could not get his country qualified for the same series. Trust Nigerians for their lack of appreciation. Those proved wrong and shamed in their conspiratorial decision to Amodu, all out of sheer envy, would now turn round to attribute Amodu's success in qualifying Nigeria for the finals of the World Cup to sheer luck. Perhaps so. Was it therefore sensible to dismiss a man (Amodu) with God-given luck for another, a foreigner at that, cursed with bad luck?
Yes, mere luck was on Shuaib Amodu's side to scale over all obstacles deliberately mounted for him by our football/sports authorities all the way. Amodu was given the condition to get Nigeria to the semi-finals of the last African Cup of Nations competition. Amodu went beyond that by securing third place for Nigeria.
So openly humiliated, Nigerian Sporting/soccer authorities were still determined to block Amodu when they set a new condition that Amodu must qualify Nigeria for the World Cup. Like a miracle, Amodu achieved what his enemies considered impossible. It was therefore more than luck on Amodu's side. Throughout, God elevated him above those traumatising his career. In thanking God, Coach Amodu must also forgive those against him.
We must not deceive ourselves. Even if Amodu took Nigeria to South Africa, Nigeria might still have been knocked out at the opening series because our soccer standard is such that cannot yet carry us far. Our low standard therefore has nothing to do with the competence or incompetence of Coach Amodu. That was the bitter truth predicted in this column when an unknown foreign coach was hurriedly recruited for Nigeria.
And what type of foreign coach would openly, desperately and unashamedly be begging Argentina to help Nigeria move to the second round by beating Greece? Is that what the World football competition is about? Is that for what the foreign coachwas paid almost ten times the emoluments his Nigerian superior achiever, Shuaib Amodu was paid?
Well, rather than acceding to the request of Nigeria's foreign coach, the Argentinians went about