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2009.01.06 10:24:59

A new year has come and undoubtedly the big question on the mind of every soccer loving Nigerian right now is … can Amodu lead the Super Eagles comfortably to the 2010 World Cup in near-by South Africa?

The past year 2008, was undoubtedly a year to quickly erase from the mind as far as Nigerian soccer is involved. The solitary bright spark came from the Samson Siasia inspired Olympic team that "against all odds" went ahead to reach the finals of the male soccer event at the four-year event in China.

A certain Berti Vogts assisted by a perennial "show-watcher" in the name of Augustine Eguavoen, began the year in the most disastrous fashion by taking the "Almighty" Super Eagles to their worst outing at the African Nations Cup in almost 16 years.

The Nigerian team paraded at the tourney looked more like a hockey team that just found out that the game they were involved in required the use of legs.

The disgraceful outing, which was orchestrated by the then Nigeria Football Association (NFA) now Federation (whatever they hope to achieve with the name change is still left to be seen) and hatched perfectly by the boring and dour ex-German international (who eventually ended up being the fall guy anyway) ensured that the hollow centre that is the "Super Eagles" which was being covered by past glory became fully exposed for the whole continent to see.

The Nigerian team became (and if you ask me, we still are) the laughing stock of the continent, and the world soccer governing body FIFA, who had hitherto kept the country at a suspicious ranking level quickly acted upon the unfolding revelations ad dropped the country down the pecking order like you would to a hot frying-pan.

The NFA (I still prefer referring to them by that name) decided to replace (can't exactly say for sure that this is the right word to use for what the ignominious body did to Vogt's anyway) the German they "begged" to come in the first place. Unfortunately for them, they continued with their character of listening to popular demand, rather than doing what's best for the country and decided the best thing to do was to get an indigenous coach as replacement. Really it amazes me so much that the NFA would always chose to get their next line of action from what the press desires from them. The fattening salary they get, along with all the allowances is just for them to pick up a soccer tabloid or browse the net and then make their decisions I guess.

Anyway, in their usual fashion the NFA decided to return to their recycle bin to pick up a washed-out coach in the form of Amodu Shuaibu, who would be better off sitting in his verandah with a tooth-pick in his mouth, reminiscing on his past achievements in his coaching career (if he can remember any) and quietly enjoying his retirement period. A certain Samson Siasia and his fellow ex-international Stephen Keshi, who had both proven themselves worthy candidates with exceptional feats in recent times, were quickly ushered out of the race to avoid "succeeding" with the Nigerian team.

Siasia was to put temporary smile on the faces of Nigerians as he "single-handedly" (despite several attempts by the NFA to ensure his team's failure) guided the Nigerian Olympic male soccer team to a fantastic tournament in Beijing where they came away with the Silver medal. Well, that sure put a dent on the NFA's aspirations to ensure total failure for the Nation's soccer team. The Glasshouse went wild and set up machineries to ensure it never happens again. And surely they succeeded in their sinister quest.

Who the hell is "Coach Jossy Lad"? Why would they bring an hotelier to coach the Nation's female soccer team? Beats me!

That fellow brought series of shame and disgrace to the Nations once untouchable status in female football as far as the continent is concerned. And like his "calamitous" compatriot, Ladan Bosso, his ability to always verbally attempt to provide explanations for his inexcusable lack of football tactics made me wonder if the NFA just casts die to pick their coaches.

The Nation's U-17 team also put further smiles on the faces of the NFA, and sadness for the soccer loving Nigerian as they were knocked out of the qualifying race for the African U-17 tournament by neighboring Benin republic in a shameful and disgraceful exhibition of Soccer played in the "Cricket style". Alphonsus Dike! Another senile "tactician recruited by that same group of fattened oafs called the NFA (No Future Ambition).

Well we had started counting our losses for the year and hoping for a better year when Okey Emordi (A bald headed figure, whose knowledge of soccer is purely based on "monkey-post" tactics) ensured Ghana!, yes Ghana, knocked us out of qualifiers for the newly inaugurated African Nations Championship (CHAN) right in our house.

A year without any form of silverware for the country, no thanks to the "antique" collection of indigenous coaches our dear NFA pumped into the system. To tell you how bereft of soccer knowledge these coaches were, Belgian born tactician Maurice Cooreman, was doing well with Enyimba in the CAF Champions League and lo and behold the spirit of NFA came upon the Enyimba management and they brought in old cargo Eguavoen, along with his cohort of charlatan show-spoilers, and the Enyimba team that was riding high in he tournament suddenly crumbled like a pack of cards (I think cookies would best explain what they did to that team).

Well 2009 has come, and this is a World Cup qualifying year for the Super Eagles, a tournament year for the U-17 and U-20 teams. With Amodu in charge, I get nightmares of Angola. I wake up sweating terribly in the middle of the night because I get dreams of Tunisia flogging us at the Abuja stadium. My palms suddenly get wet when I imagine "Ladan Bosso", the radical racial activist, taking the U-20 team to the African Championship. I get dizzy with headache when I cannot conjure up a team that we can call U-17 that can successfully get past the group stage o the World Cup to be hosted by Nigeria (Hopefully those Stadiums would be 40% ready before the tourney kicks-off). I still see Columbia on the horizon, with our players perpetually calling for the offside flag.

If the truth be told, all is not well with the Nigerian soccer scene, it could get worse in 2009, unless…………………….



Awenlimobor Sylvester


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