…ONEYA OPENS UP ON AMODU’S WORLD CUP BAD LUCK
…Oneya opens up on Amodu's World Cup bad luck
By GEORGE ALUO
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Way back in 2002, Gen. Dominic Oneya (retd) was at the helm of affairs in the then Nigeria Football Association (NFA) when Coach Shaibu Amodu made his ill-fated second missionary journey as Super Eagles' manager.
Amodu, it would be recalled, took the Eagles to the Mali 2002 Nations Cup after qualifying the country for Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup. Amodu, in the process, made history by becoming the first indigenous coach to qualify the Eagles for the mundial.
Unfortunately, the Edo State-born tactician failed to land in Asia with the Eagles as he was told to step aside by his employers, the NFA. The soccer federation, in sacking Amodu then, hinged its action on poor performance of the team in Mali and indiscipline on the part of the players and officials.
Eight years after, Amodu is suffering the same fate again as his World Cup dream has been shattered with the hiring of Swede coach, Lars Lagerback, despite being the one that secured Nigeria the South Africa 2010 ticket.
What is then Amodu's problem, one is wont to ask? Gen Oneya, a man who should know, gave an insight in an exclusive telephone chat with Daily Sunsport.
The former Governor of Benue and Kano states stated without mincing words that Amodu is the architect of his problems, insisting that the coach made the same mistakes of 2002 in 2010.
“I don't think what happened to Amodu is a case of anybody not liking his face. It is clearly a case of the coach not learning from the mistakes of the past. The same mistakes he made in 2002 reared their ugly heads in 2010. Amodu knows what I am talking about. I wouldn't want to discuss the mistakes on the pages of newspaper. But I must say it is sad that Amodu failed to make amends and become wiser after almost a decade,” Oneya said.
Oneya, who is now a member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Nations Cup Organising Committee said Nigeria would have gone the way of Zaire, who were beaten black and blue at the 1974 World Cup if we had hit South Africa with Amodu's Angola 2010 Eagles.
“I was in Angola on CAF duties during the Nations Cup. I must say that the team I saw in Lubango, where the Eagles faced Algeria, was to say the least, a bad side. If we had taken that kind of team to the World Cup, it would have been a disaster.”
Continuing, Oneya said: “Thank God the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) bowed to the clamour for the technical crew to be beefed up with a foreign technical adviser. One thing one can be sure of is the fact that Lagerback will pick the very best of legs for the South Africa battle. Though the coach is coming a bit late in the day, with proper planning the Eagles can still do well in South Africa.”
Oneya, who is billed to grace the Glo/CAF Awards this week in Accra, Ghana, said it is a shame that Nigerian players are no longer being reckoned with at the big stage. It would be noted that no Nigerian player made the short list of players pencilled for the award, which the likes of Nwankwo Kanu and Rashidi Yekini won in the past.
“It is a shame that our so called stars are no longer being reckoned with even in Africa. This is a clear sign that our football is on the decline and the need for us to do something fast,” Oneya said.