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Odegbami: A Tale Of Two Countries – Between Nigeria And Ghana!

Odegbami: A Tale Of Two Countries – Between Nigeria And Ghana!

If I were the person in charge of sports in Nigeria I would instigate the banishment to Sambisa Forest of any football administrator that dares to suggest that the country imports another foreign coach to handle any of the country’s national football teams.

It is now clear to all that the damage done to the psyche of the Nigerian people in the past 6 years, under a German coach that could not perform, is incalculable, saddling an entire country with the humiliating burden of being a party to what amounted to ‘419’, a scam, paying for services unrendered, and making Nigerians, known globally for being smart, streetwise and well-educated, look like fools and bungling school children before a bemused world.

In the end, having learnt their lesson, Nigeria still finds that it is still inextricably tied to an asphyxiating contract that hangs around the neck of the country’s football, slowly sucking its blood whilst the ‘vampire’ lounges by a private swimming pool in Germany laughing at the country’s stupidity.

Some nights ago, I realized that Nigeria is not alone in this shameful situation. Ghana is in a similar fix. This is a neighbouring country that has a rich documented history and a solid foundation of international and domestic football, and a very sophisticated, enlightened and knowledgeable followership of the game.

Both countries have boarded similar boats, and have been sailing in similar turbulent seas; both have also suffered from the affliction of not knowing when to shed off the cloak of colonial mentality, that everything indigenous is not good enough, and anything foreign is better; both have stuck to foreign coaches to handle their national football teams; and both have now failed woefully. The debris of their failures now leaves a foul smell of foolishness in the air.

Also Read – Odegbami: AFCON 2021 – The Shame And The Pride!

The case of Ghana is even better to understand as the coach initially led the Black Stars to a successful World Cup outing some years ago. Unfortunately, reality has been unraveled before Ghanaians in the past few days, that the World Cup success was a smokescreen. The country is now paying the price for their short-sightedness with, probably, the most humiliating defeat in their history, losing to a team that hardly exists in practice, has no records of any sort in African football, has never played or won a match in any championship in their history, a little-known island-country in the Indian Ocean called Comoros Island.

Football may be just a game and matches are unpredictable, but some things are just not acceptable. Like Ghana losing to Comoros Islands.

In my close to half a Century relationship with African football, I have not encountered Comoros Islands in any football competition. Even now, I have had to activate the google search engine to confirm that the island is actually in Africa, and is not some exotic faraway Polynesian paradise in the Pacific. This country of less than a million inhabitants dealt Ghana a most humiliating defeat, reducing the great Black Stars, with their constellation of professionals in several top European clubs, to bungling school boys.

The worst part of this whole scenario is the reported story of the frustration of the Ghanaian Minister of Sports who found himself unable, like his Nigerian counterpart some weeks ago, to extricate his country from the stranglehold of a contract document signed with the foreign coach that led the country down this humiliating path, that makes Ghanaians look stupid – a contract without a clause about how to get rid of a non-performing coach without emptying their country’s treasury.


Nigeria interim coach, Austine Eguavoen

I read about the reports from Ghana and realise that Nigeria, a country of people globally renowned for being smart and streetwise, is also still unable to unshackle itself from a similar contract, with the shadow of Gernot Rohr still hovering over the country. Nigeria is yet to pay the German his severance fees. The country might have to empty its treasury to do so, or end up in the jail of FIFA.

Yet, even as the matter remained unsettled, another plan was being hatched to hire another foreign coach to take over the same team. There was obviously a ‘madness’ virus in the air. Did anyone think Nigerians will accept being taken down the same old, tested and failed path again?

What is wrong with Nigeria and Ghana, these two so-called African football giants, that makes them fall for such cheap crap, a scam, clearly designed to feast the beasts of corruption? Why would these two countries that are struggling against poverty in their land and amongst their people engage in such blatant and reckless financial brigandage that attract no consequence to the perpetrators?

Ghana and Nigeria are close neighbours along the West African coastline, intricately connected culturally, socially and economically. Both countries were colonised by the same Great Britain, with similar political foundations, to a large extent. The foundation of their football is also similar, originally grounded in British tradition, honed by England’s legendary, dribbling wizard, Sir Stanley Mathews, who went round some African countries in the 1950s to influence and glamorize the game and establish the tradition.

Also Read – Odegbami: Nigeria At AFCON

Both countries became the fiercest rivals on the football field but remained the best of friends outside it. They must be taking pages of lessons from their common experiences at AFCON 2021. At this point, their interest must be beyond the trophy. It must include confronting the demons of corruption, of slave mentality, of self-inflicted inferiority complex, and of not valuing their own.

Ghanaians are wondering why their country should have been parting with $35,000 Dollars every month (and for several years), to pay a coach who was constantly on ‘vacation’ abroad in the pretext of coaching a national team of players that are all based in Europe and unavailable for any coaching.


Ghana coach, Milovan Rajevac

Nigeria’s case was worse. Nigeria was paying her own German coach $45,000 Dollars every month for 6 years. Do not try to convert to the local currency. You will lose your sanity if you do, realizing that the humongous sum, deployed wisely, could have changed the lives of thousands of Nigerian footballers at the grassroots. The thought is so annoying.

After 3 matches in Cameroon, the light of the Black Stars has been dimmed. The team has returned home in tatters. The foreign Coach waits to collect the rest of his booty and to return to his narrow interests in old Yugoslavia.

At the same time, the Super Eagles are on a new high with a Nigerian coach at the head of a consortium of other Nigerian assistants in a wholly indigenous technical team, cruising confidently, soaring high, playing football of the Nigerian brand and looking like potential champions already. It will not surprise anyone if the team gets to the final rounds and even wins the coveted trophy.

If they don’t win it, it would not matter, because useful lessons have already been learned and the ‘drugs’ of stupidity would have worn off.

Nigerians have seen enough now not to return to the failure of their immediate past.

Personally, I was thinking of going to the streets to protest in the unlikely event of Nigerian administrators attempting to hire another foreign coach and further rape our collective intelligence. I have changed my mind. Now, I shall head for the civil courts to stop them.

The Super Eagles have become like good red wine, maturing nicely from match to match and making all Nigerians relieved and happy.

Even if the team were to lose at this point, they would have saved Nigerians from further humiliation and reckless financial brigandage. Already, they have shown possibilities of what the team can do and be when handled by their own coaches that understand their psychology and are grounded in the rich culture and tradition of Nigerian football.

Segun Odegbami

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  • Richie 2 years ago

    Mathematical Segeeeee…..easy with the “vampire” language oh, Rohr’s lawyers no dey sleep o..even though they’ve been banished, they can still sue you for gross defamation from across the Atlantic. 😀

    • U are here . I thought u shud be in Cameron to have a look at the team.

  • William d conqueror 2 years ago

    Will they listen with the fraud amaju picnic at the helm. The whole nff should be jail if they try to employ another fraudster.

  • SE will beat Tunisia on Sunday and I am so sure about it as these are my reasons
    1) SE is the only team in the Afcon that has not conceded a goal from open play while Tunisia has conceded 2 goals from open play.
    2) SE has scored against all it’s opponents so far in the Afcon while Tunisia has scored against only one opponent which is poor Mauritius.
    3) SE is playing on its home turf in Garouha because they have played all their games there and the home fans are behind them unlike Tunisia.
    4) SE has scored first in all the matches they have played so far and Tunisia has not conceded first and won the same game in this Afcon so far.
    5) SE plays the best Brand of football in the Afcon with a very devastating counter attack while Tunisia plays possessive football that in very vonulrable to counter attacks.
    6) SE has the compliment of their full squad while Tunisia has alot of absentees for the game due to Corona virus.
    7) SE has beaten a North African team already in this Afcon while Tunisia has been beaten by 2 west African countries already in this Afcon.
    You see it will take a very big miracle for Tunisia to spring an upset on Sunday except SE experience a very drastic and unexplainable lose of form within this few days to the match……… Tunisia does not stand a chance against SE and you can take my word to the bank.

    • Good analysis bro

    • Ralph 2 years ago

      Lol….hahahaha..Go home bro. and don’t forget to take your coach along.

      I`m glad you realised that the Tunisian team is depleted, and if the SE can still be outplayed by such team, with all the advantages they have and such a start studded team then that coach shouldn’t be anywhere around the team. Its unbelievable there are people who are still clamouring for him to be given a chance.

      And he is a Technical Director that a potential coach will report to from time to time, seriously ? how can national coach be reporting to a Technical Director who knows next to nothing about tactics?

      Loads of rubbish.

  • Moses Inyang 2 years ago

    Well we will see what happens.I still believe that if a coach is good,he is good and not dependent on the colour of his skin..The Ghana talked about failed very woefully with their ex-internationals before bringing back the white old foreigner.Remember Stephen Appiah and Akunnor?.Eguavoen is good not because he is nigerian but because he is very technical/tactical,has a suitable temperament for the job as shown in his ability to motivate the boys and always talk and behave as if he is going to war not because he is our own.I see other other coaches with similar traits like Emmanuel Amuneke and Even Manu Garba

    • Moses Inyang 2 years ago

      The NFF should be appointing coaches transparently and without all these corruption and scams whether the coaches are foreign or local.It does not matter where the coach comes from but his acumen.

  • pompei 2 years ago

    It took me a while to find Comoros on the world map.
    An archipelago of small islands located between Mozambique and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.
    Completely unheard of in the football world. Well, that has changed now!
    Everybody now knows Comoros as Ghana’s conqueror. That is their claim to fame.

  • Moses Inyang 2 years ago

    The NFF should be appointing coaches transparently and without all these corruption and scams whether the coaches are foreign or local.It does not matter where the coach comes from but his acumen.

  • Sam Gbadebo 2 years ago

    It is always logical to make Eguavoen a substantive coach by signing a 4 or 6 year contract with him, pay him his salaries and emoluments. Even Rohr that is not as qualified as Eguavoen was well paid though sometimes in arrears. And by the way, why is that Portuguese Peseiro without CV not in Garoua? He should advised not to bother because we will never welcome him since our amiable President, Buhari said we must all accept his local content policy, assuming Buhari hasn’t forgotten. Now there is a golden opportunity to prove the efficacy of local content. Up Eagles, God bless Nigerians.

    • Nigeria don’t have coaches, The interim coach inherited someone team

      • Sam Gbadebo 2 years ago

        Every coach inherit team from the outgoing one, use your Google. And I think you are referring to the former SE coach, Rohr. Even at that, Rohr couldn’t utilize the team, Eguavoen came in and within ‘just’ 2 weeks transform the team into a winning one, winning all the 4 matches his charges have so far played which includes defeating Egypt an African football giant. I hardly see another coach whether foreign or local with such quality. Could you please mention any with confirmable facts?

      • By someone team u mean rhor’s tea you are dumb so eguaveon should use ivory coast players because Nigerian players are rhor’s team
        Maybe rhor didn’t start with players too from the previous coach

  • Quite frankly, Eguavoen, against all odds delivered and deserves to be made Super Eagles coach on permanent basis. Nigerians are now happy to stay glued to their TV sets to watch the Eagles play the Nigerian style of Africa ti ki ta ka. All over the World, our own SE have been receiving attention from all and sundry, clear signs something positive has happened… It hasn’t been like this in many years, the last time was during the late Stephen Keshi, another indigenous coach. GOD LUCK EGUAVOEN.

  • Let Eguavoen or Odegbami build their own team ,

  • MuYiwa 2 years ago

    There are no longer minnows in football. Nations and clubs like Spain, France, Belgium, Man City etc, were sometimes called minnows or underachieving teams. While nations and clubs like Hungary, Nott Forest, USSR etc were the once seen as heavyweights in football. It’s not about the skin colour of the coach but the seriousness of the people managing the game in the land.

  • Sunnyb 2 years ago

    Uncle Sege a great Iroko tree u predicted what’s happening to the super Eagles years ego, many called you names, some insulted you, but u never wavered in ur beliefs. Great job the mathematician.

  • Timothy Okon 2 years ago

    Apart from being a tactician with good football pedigree, and within a short time proving himself to the view of millions, coach Eguavoen has also shown interest in our domestic league. It will be better to allow him continue by giving him every necessary support to deliver more. I am very concerned about the aboundant talents that are wasting away in our local areas, untapped. A very good plan has to be in place to involve those footballers in the villages. God bless Nigeria.

    • I like that. Your point is akin to that of Mr. Pius Obemhen Belgium Blueprint that involves harnessing local talents from the grassroots.

    • I like that. Your point is akin to that of Mr. Pius Obemhen’s Belgium Blueprint that involves harnessing local talents from the grassroots.

      • Timothy Okon 2 years ago

        I have read the Belgium Blueprint and it is the only way forward if we are to look beyond Afcon. Whether the SE win the cup or not is immaterial. The country needs to dedicate time for planning.

  • Capable 2 years ago

    Peseiro is history and Eguavoen has been made the permanent coach. You can take that to the bank.

  • Bola Anidugbe 2 years ago

    Thank you for this piece sir. I hope the “whole gangs of NFA 419” are going to read it with a tiny amount of conscience

  • Paseceiro 2 years ago

    If Eguaevon can win the cup . Give him the job.

  • james 2 years ago

    If the.GFA dares to go for another foreign coach, they should all be lined up and shot for refusing to see the reading on the wall.
    Let’s change the stupid outdated unproven view that ONLY FOREIGN THINGS, HOWEVER BAD, are suitable for us.
    Let us build upon the Coach Gyamfi tradition of excellence!!!!

    • Thank you brother for that!!! Say it again and again, Louder Africans need to cherish our own, period.

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