Selfishness, nepotism bane of Nigerian football, says Onigbinde

Chief Adegboye Onigbinde

Chief Adegboye Onigbinde

Former Super Eagles’ Coach, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, has described as unacceptable the crisis bedeviling the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the resultant negative effects on the various national teams.

These have not been the best of times for Nigeria as the nation’s various teams, including the Super Eagles, U-21 and U-17 sides will not be appearing in next year’s CAF organised nations’ competitions. This is in addition to the latest FIFA rating, which places Nigeria’s senior national team in the 70th position, the lowest in the history of the country’s participation in world football.

The women national team, Super Falcons, have not fared better as they failed to qualify for the just concluded Rio Olympics football event.

Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Onigbinde said the problem was selfishness and nepotism, arguing that if those administering the country’s football put national interest above their personal gains, the nation’s football would not be in its current position.

“I have written series of books and I have been talking for long on what needs to be done for us to get back on track as far as managing our football is concerned. But the problem has always been that people put their interest over the nation’s aspirations; a case of personal interest overriding that of the national interest. Just like the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, said in 1983 that the people get the type of leadership they deserve.

“Every issue that I have raised in the past is still valid till today. If what the authority now thinks at this stage of our lives is the need for a foreign coach, then we are not moving forward. Though as a patriotic Nigerian, I cannot think ill of my country. But we should know that nothing comes by magic, as we can only achieve success by deliberate planning, not by accident,” he said.

The former FIFA technical committee member, who feels that the indigenous coaches have not been treated fairly, added: “The appointment of a foreign coach means that they have condemned our coaches to nothing. But the question I will ask is, has any Nigerian coach been given the same provision as the white coaches? Would they do to a white coach what they did to Siasia before the Olympics?

“What procedure do they use in selecting the Nigerian coaches before appointing them? I know of a normal procedure, which is accepted worldwide. I know before the choice of a coach is made there has to be an advertisement, then you shortlist, the interview stage comes next and the final appointment. How many times have these processes been followed? All they do is to close their eyes pick someone and later turn around to say every local coach is bad,” he said.

Onigbinde said many of the local coaches that have handled the senior national team based on their principle were often labelled stubborn, adding, “by Nigeria’s dictionary, when you are principled it means that you are stubborn and if you are a gentleman, it means that you are stupid. So what else do they expect from such a coach that wants to give his best to the country? It is only God that will help us.”

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