‘We gave Okpala job on compassionate ground’

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has descended heavily on the ousted Super Eagles’ assistant coach Sylvanus Okpala, describing him as one who is not grateful for the magnanimity of the federation that came to his rescue when he faced non-payment issues with Rangers FC of Enugu.

Answering questions from newsmen in Abuja, chairman of NFF media and publicity committee, Chief Emeka Inyama, who noted that he was not obliged to comment on the matter between the federation and Okpala since it is in court, however, blamed Okpala for not giving the football authorities time to sort out issues with him.
According to him, “For us, Coach Okpala has taken Nigeria to court. Currently, he is in Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), Switzerland, and commenting on a matter in court is sub judicial. He has not only taken NFF to court, he has also sued NFF president and the secretary general in their personal capacity.

“So, we expect him to allow peace to reign by waiting for the outcome of the court’s decision.
After refraining to speak on the issue, Chief Inyama went ahead and declared:  “Okpala’s action is unfortunate because he came to the NFF to intervene when he had non-payment issues with Rangers and we later decided to offer him the appointment as an assistant coach of Super Eagles.

“But his actions since he was told to go have left much to be desired. He worked for Rangers and they owed him one or two months’ salary. At that time, he wouldn’t allow NFF president or general secretary to rest. He would always come to NFF office from 6 am to 6 pm, pleading with them (Alhaji Aminu Maigari and Barr. Musa Amadu) to intervene.
“We saw his plight and felt he was good enough to be given Super Eagles appointment and if at any point we think otherwise, we have the right to tell him to go.”

Okpala was one of the assistant coaches with the country’s senior national team during last year’s Nations Cup which they won and was asked by NFF to step aside when the team returned from South Africa, citing paucity of funds as the reason for his sack.
Only recently, Super Eagles handler, Stephen Keshi, made a case for the return of Okpala but was turned down by the NFF that toyed with the idea of bringing a foreign assistant to replace Okpala.

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