By Izuchukwu Okosi:
FIFA licensed players agent John Shittu has admitted that he has no influence on his client Mikel Obi’s decision to play for Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Mikel missed the 2008 Olympics but could be in Rio if U-23 Eagles coach Samson Siasia includes the 28-year-old as one of three overage players.
“I think it’s too early to discuss who will be in the Nigerian football team to the Olympics,” Shittu told Completesportsnigeria.com. “You talk about Mikel, but it’s a decision for Mikel to make. Fortunately we have very good young players all over the world and FIFA acknowledges the Olympics.”
Shittu has also given a thumbs down to the decision of the Nigeria Football Federation to hire a foreign coach for the Super Eagles in the aftermath of the resignation of Sunday Oliseh as the head coach of the national team.
The NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, had in a function in the USA revealed that the Federation have reached its “last bus-stop” on hiring indigenous coaches and will henceforth go for foreign coaches.
The NFF though appointed a consortium of Nigerian coaches headed by Siasia and also comprising of Emmanuel Amuneke, Salisu Yusuf and Alloy Agu to be in temporary charge of the Eagles as the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Egypt on March 25 and 29 approach.
“For me, Nigeria don’t need foreign coaches for the Super Eagles. I will advise the Nigeria Football Federation to stick with our local coaches,” Shittu added.
“The game in Africa is different from that of Europe or South America. The best coaches, the world class coaches are not easy to hire. Will the NFF be able to accept such a coach’s conditions and perhaps salaries. We should be proud of our own. What class of foreign coach are we going for anyway, that’s another thing.”
On the task of beating Egypt to enhance Nigeria’s chances of qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, Shittu stressed all Siasia need do is invite the best Nigerian players currently based on form and fitness.
“Samson Siasia is on interim basis. Since he could not qualify the Eagles for the 2012 AFCON, he has a chance to redeem himself somewhat if he can defeat Egypt home and away or at least get a draw away.
“But more importantly he should invite players on current form and fitness. He’s going to work with good coaches too. I wish them the very best,” Shittu said.