By Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

We have read the decision of the Presidency to suspend further participation of our senior football Team due its dismal out in the on-going world cup in South Africa in any International Football Championship with misgiving. As much as we agree with the Presidency that we need to address the rot in our football administration squarely the idea of stopping international participation of the Super Eagles may do more harm than good. if our suspension by CAF for two years after we failed to defend the Nations Cup which we won in 1996 in Tunis in South Africa championship in 1998 is anything to go by; the consequences of this self imposed ban by our President can only be better imagined than explained. The consequences of CAF's ban on us due to the action by the Abacha's Administration to cause us not to defend the Nations Cup we won in 1996 in South Africa in 1998 on our football development are still very visible in our football today in which we lost a generation of our best footballers to inactive in International competition. Should this self ban takes effect it means that we would have lost the generational changes we envisaged for the Super Eagles in the 2012 Africa Nations Cup which qualification starts by October this year and prepare the new Team we should raise for the 2014 World Cup which we may not participate as we will not be involved in the qualification series. As much as the Presidency of Dr Jonathan Goodluck means well for the country, this particular step will take our soccer backwards instead of improving on it.

To say that the ill-fated national team was not wholly prepared for the ongoing football mundiale 2010 in South Africa would amount to stating the obvious. That the team assembled was the worst ever in our short history of participation at the world cup was evident in its dismal outings against the Greek and Korean National teams, hitherto underdogs at previous world cup editions.

Our concern is not to apportion blame or proffer deductions as to why the team failed, since it's obvious that the lack of adequate preparation was its major undoing. We would rather use this opportunity to offer suggestions for future preparations ahead of major football tournaments like the 2012 Nations Cup and the 2014 World Cup as follows:

1. An immediate disbandment of the existing team and a constitution of a new team from the 2009 silver winning Team coached by Sampson Siasia to be beefed up with the likes of Mikel, Anichiebe, Enyeama, Apam, Adeleye and Emmanuel Ekpo as core members. Whilst acknowledging the stellar roles in time past of most of our aging players that include the legend Kanu Nwankwo, Yakubu Aiyebeni, Jospeh Yobo, Shittu Danny etc we are of the opinion that they need to exit the squad to make way for younger more vibrant players.

2. Rather than banning the national team from international competition or relieving the National Team Coach, Lars Lagerback of his duties as is being said in various quarters, we suggest that he should be retained but with some modifications in his contract. His Swedish assistants should be replaced by Nigerians who will understudy him. We wish to further suggest that Coaches Stephen Keshi and Sampson Siasia be appointed as assistants to Lagerback.

3. In the event of the above not being an option for consideration, then Stephen Keshi should be contracted to head the coaching crew and be assisted by Sampson Siasia.

4. The targets before either Coach Lars Lagerback if option two is adopted or Stephen Keshi if option 3 is adopted is to qualify the team for the 2012 Nations Cup and lead it to victory and ensure its qualification for the 2014 World Cup and ensuring its advancement to the semi-finals of the event.

5. Finally, the FA Technical Team should be overhauled to include the likes of football experts like Keshi, John Fashanu, Mikel Obiku and others while the following should constitute the Monitoring Team that will scout for new players for the Super Eagles - Mumuni Alao, Mike Mayaki, Paul(Sport) Bassey, Uche Okafor, Austin Okocha.

We are ready to pick up the bills of Stephen Keshi and Sampson Siasia if they are appointed to show our seriousness on the future of our football in Nigeria.

We agree wholeheartedly with the Presidency that the era of leaving our football in the hands of mediocre people -whose only concern is about the financial windfall they get without recourse to the effects of its actions on a sport that has overtime become a rallying point for all Nigerian and indeed the world- is over. Now is the time to start attaching importance to this issue that bind us together albeit in a professional way with all sense of commitment, vision and direction. Finally, we appeal to Mr. President to please help the future of our footballers to adhere to superior reasons and discard this idea of imposing any ban on our football to avoid what General Sani Abacha did to our football which effects is still affecting us after over 12 years now!.

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,
Media Consultant to
Prince Tonye Princewill