Not time yet to judge Super Eagles – Coach




Golden Eaglets

Notwithstanding the superlative performance of the Super Eagles of Nigeria against Sao Tome and Principe which saw the Nigerian team whip their opponent 10-0 to set a national record, it is too early to effectively appraise the team, a former member of the Green Eagles and the current first Vice President of the Nigerian Football Coaches Association has declared.

Speaking as a special guest of the former University of Ibadan Footballers Association virtual interactive programme over the weekend, Dr. Abiodun Isiaka Salami, a former Green Eagles star in the late ’70s opined that it was early to appraise the team solely on the strength of their last match against Sao Tome.

According to the Ibadan-born soccer tactician, “Nigeria beating its opponent 10-0 is a great result but let us watch the team in other matches before we conclude. We cannot judge the Eagles by that performance alone. Let us wait for them to play other matches before we arrive at a conclusion”.

The former IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan dazzling winger, who left the Green Eagles camp in 1979 to further his education, stated further, “Nigeria has not arrived yet. Don’t let us think we have arrived after one match. No, we have not because there are still other teams we have to play against before we can effectively appraise the team”.

The seasoned Coach who recently retired as the Director of Sports, University of Ibadan further declared that the NFF does not consult the Coaches Association before hiring coaches for the national teams.

“Most of the time, I avoid talking about the issue of the NFF because of the reactions I got recently. It is unfortunate that the NFF does not contact the Nigerian Coaches Association before they appoint coaches into the national teams. We just read it in newspapers that they have appointed coaches for the teams. On some occasions when this comes out, I always rise up to the occasion by telling them it is not the proper thing to do,” he said.

Speaking further on the issue, he said, “There was a time we gave them an option about what used to obtain in the olden days. I told them what worked in the olden days was that the football association used to write to the state chapters of the FA to send the names of two coaches with their credentials to the NFA and the credentials would be screened. We had coaches from 36 states and the best out of the 36 states would be chosen and they would be sent to attend either local or foreign courses to update their knowledge. When they came back from the courses, they would then the assigned to the national teams”.

Dr. Salami also canvassed the employment of local coaches for the national teams.

According to him, “the Senegalese Coach is a local coach but it’s unfortunate that Nigeria is very dogmatic about foreign coaches. How many times have you heard Europe or South America taking coaches from Africa to handle their teams? But in Africa, we believe in foreign products. There are coaches in Nigeria that can do it better than some of these coaches we bring from abroad but the NFF will not look our way. Am happy that some of our coaches are doing well in Flying Eagles, Under 17, Flamingoes and so forth.”

Dr. Salami was the Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA) coach between 1993 and 1999 and coached the NUGA football teams to the world university Games (FISU) in Palermo, Italy (1997) and Palma de Mallorca Spain (1999).

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