Nepotism bane of Nigerian football, says Onigbinde



FORMER Super Eagles’ Coach, Adegboye Onigbinde, says the crisis bedeviling the nation’s football and the hullabaloo over Coach Stephen Keshi’s sack by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) would not have arisen if the country had a good programme for the national teams.

The former NFF technical director, who says he didn’t see any reason for Keshi’s sack, adds that Nigerian football would continue to stutter until the right programme was put in place by the federation.

He says, “What I know and what I have been talking about for over half a century is that the coach of our national team at any point in time is not the major cause of our problem, but a lack of a developmental programme.

“If we had a good developmental programme on ground, even if 10 Keshis should resign, there would be another 20 Keshis standing by to take over. If we had a good national developmental scheme, you will know who is number one, two and number three. The same thing is applicable to the players.

“Why are we finding it difficult to raise a national team? It is because there is no functional developmental programme. I have written series of papers and I have granted several interviews and I have given series of speeches. I have written volumes of papers to the NFF over the past 50 years. And for the people who are there, let’s leave them to do their jobs, I don’t want to make more enemies at 77.”

On the speculations about the new Super Eagles’ coach, the Modakeke high chief said: “Whoever is coming in is coming at the discretion of the NFF. They have their standard and they have their target, which I don’t know. I read in one of the newspapers that they are bringing in a foreign coach and I also hear that of Sunday Oliseh, whichever one it is, we can only pray for them to do the right thing.

“Talking about Oliseh, I know he has served this country meritoriously and there is no negative thing I can say about him. I was reading in one of the newspapers that the NFF is discussing with him. No doubt, he is a fine gentleman, but from the background that I read, they said he has something like an advanced qualification somewhere but with very little coaching experience, if any at all.

“And he is being considered to coach the Nigeria national team! But is it every former player or star player that can become a coach? Why is Pele not the best coach in the world today? Maradona has been running from pillar to post wanting to become a coach, has he succeeded?

“Platini, when he retired from football, someone suggested to him to become a coach, and he said it was ‘only crazy people who went into coaching’, which means he ruled himself out of it. If you have PHD in Physics, you may not be able to transfer knowledge unless you learn how to impact knowledge into other people; that is the mistake we have been making in this country.”

Onigbinde went down memory lane to show how a genuine intention by the federation could turn round to haunt Nigerian football. “Some years ago, when a 37-year old foreigner was considered as a technical director, the man came before us (the technical committee); I looked at him, concluded within me that if I should pose just two questions to the him, he will run away. How can a 37-year-old man be a technical director of football in Nigeria? When did he get the experience; the knowledge, the intelligence, and experience? When one talks, they will come to a conclusion that one is looking for a job.”

He posits that nepotism in ruining Nigerian football, adding, “At 77, I don’t know what kind of a job I am looking for. That is not to say that if people still felt I have something I can offer my country since I am still fit, I will do it. But I don’t have to beg for it; neither do I want people to beg me to serve my nation. But talking generally, this is one of the problems with Nigeria, not only in football, not only in sports, we are running a system in this country, a system of who you know and not what you know. Who is right and not what is right. And that is why the country is almost upside down now. What other honour is higher than what destiny has bestowed on me in football?”

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