Lagos Lawyer,Festus Keyamo has said reports reaching Nigerians that the NFF has decided to hire a foreign “technical assistant” for the Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, to prosecute our World Cup campaign is a decision that is unpatriotic, untenable, illogical and consequently unacceptable to Nigerians.
He said Nigerians cannot also be swayed or fooled by the reported decision of the NFF that Stephen Keshi will remain the Head Coach of the Super Eagles, whilst the foreigner will merely “assist” him. This is nothing but a smoke screen to execute the hidden agenda of the NFF.
According to Keyamo,the decision of the NFF is unacceptable for the following reasons.First,“When Lars Lagerback was brought in as a technical adviser five months to our 2010 World Cup preparation, he did nothing but to break up the bond the team had created, lowered the morale of the indigenous coaches and players (who never worked with him) and that led to our disastrous outing at the World Cup in South Africa. In addition to that, the issues of corruption surrounding the hiring of his services have not been properly addressed till today. After initially negotiating the sum of $500,000 dollars with Lars Lagerback (i.e $100,000 dollars per month for 5 months), the bill overnight jumped to $1.5Million (for three months) with Nigeria even paying his taxes. Those who did that damage to the country were never brought to book and the issue was swept under the carpet. Now, it is obvious that certain corrupt characters want to cash in again on the issue of a foreign technical adviser.
Second “The state of our football before Stephen Keshi and his crew took over was that we even failed to qualify for the 2012 Nations’ Cup and the team was in disarray. Sponsors abandoned the team. Now, nearly two years later, we have won the Nations’ Cup, qualified for the World Cup, took bronze at CHAN, and raised a bunch of local boys that can easily walk into the main Super Eagles. If that is not progress, then I don’t know the definition of progress. Now, the sponsors are back and Nigerians are again watching their team with some hope.
“Instead of encouraging the coaching crew, the imposition of a foreigner in their midst will lower their morale, blunt their patriotism and kill the spirit in the team. This should never be allowed to happen.
Third “The reason given by the NFF that the CHAN Eagles, could not break down 10-man Black Stars of Ghana is very puerile. Examples abound all over the world where 10-man team revert to defensive roles and frustrate the opposing team. The greatest teams in the world have lost to 10-man defensive teams, e.g, Barcelona (at its peak) did not get the required 2 goals against Inter Milan in the semi-finals of the Champions’ League in 2010 despite playing nearly 70 minutes against a 10-man Inter Milan side.
Acoording the human rights lawyer,a third-place finish for the CHAN team hurriedly assembled six weeks to the tournament is not a bad result, considering the fact that the other leagues in Africa are even better organized than the Nigerian Premier League.
“Stephen Keshi, the Head Coach has said it repeatedly that he does not need a foreign technical adviser.
Keyamo asked “Since Keshi is supposed to remain the Head of the team, what is the use imposing a technical adviser on him that he is not prepared to consult? Is that not the waste of public funds?
“All over the world, managers of teams are allowed to choose their back room staff. Stephen Keshi has said if he needs an assistant, it will be Sylvanus Okpala. So, why not bury the hatchet with Sylvanus Okpala for the good of the team? Are we going to allow ego wars to destroy the Super Eagles? Again, from where will the money come to fund the foreign adviser, when the NFF complain it had no money to even pay the local assistant, Sylvanus Okpala?
“This decision cannot just stand. I am appealing to all well-meaning Nigerians, sport enthusiasts, patriots and the sports community in Nigeria to oppose this decision. This is the same attitude of the NFF that led to the unjust dropping of Shaibu Amodu, who twice qualified Nigeria for the World Cup, but was not allowed to lead the team to the Mundial. We cannot continue to destroy our own because of corruption.
“The plain truth is that the decision of the NFF is borne out of corruption and the need to cut Keshi down to size. The NFF is allowing selfishness to destroy our football.
“If the decision is not rescinded, I will be reaching out to anti-corruption groups, and the Sports Community to march on the Glass House in Abuja”Keyamo said.