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Odegbami: AFCON 2021 – Under Threat

Odegbami: AFCON 2021 – Under Threat

There is something about the next African Cup of Nations holding in two weeks’ time that does not snugly fit into my spirit. To start with, AFCON 2021 will be taking place in January 2022. That’s the first anomaly.

In two weeks, all things being equal, I intend to be in Cameroon. The last time it was held there in January of 1972, when the country failed to win it on home soil. That disappointment of that failure has lingered since then, and the psychological Calabash is to be shattered after 50 years.

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Unfortunately, there is a growing threat to the hosting of the championship that had already been postponed twice in the past year in response to the dangers of the Coronavirus, with all its devastating effect on human activities. Football has not been immune from the havoc the virus has wreaked on humanity.

The most powerful man in world of football, Gianni Infantino, the FIFA President, is considering advising the CAF and the Cameroonian Football Federation to seriously consider postponing the championship once again to a more auspicious time. His worry has little to do with the health conditions, but with the interest of its most powerful confederation, UEFA, how hosting the event this January will adversely affect several powerful clubs around Europe when their African players go away for between 4 to 6 weeks of African championship.

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That has always been an issue through the past several decades. Some clubs actually suffered and paid for their absence.

Also Read – Vieira: AFCON Is As Important As European Championship

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At a time in the past some European clubs took the extreme action to shuttling their players to and from the venues between matches and ferried them back in special planes back to Europe to play in their leagues.

The physical and mental toll of such an arrangement made it unsustainable. It was the craziest possible arrangement that was doomed to fail.

Take Liverpool FC now, for example.
The club’s two best goal scorers are heading to the African championship. Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane play for two of the best national teams in Africa, Egypt and Senegal respectively. The two countries are likely to remain in the race for the trophy till the end. That means that in addition to the mandatory 2 weeks before AFCON, and the four weeks of the championship, the players could be away from their club’s services for at least 6 weeks.

The fate of Liverpool in the race to the top of the English Premiership may hang in the balance with the absence of these two key players.

There are several other clubs with similar situations, but in different degrees.

The European clubs are putting pressure on the FIFA President to intervene and get CAF to either postpone the African championship or cancel it outright this year, until something can be worked out to accommodate the interest of the most powerful block in world football.

Meanwhile, the situation is compounded further by the escalating issue of the Covid-19 pandemic situation that will not go away.

This is hoping that Cameroon will ensure strict compliance with safety health measures during the championship for all attendees, and leave FIFA and UEFA to sweat out their problems without disrupting AFCON 2021.

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Another foreign coach for Eagles – our mumu continues!

Apparently, there is a new foreign coach for the Super Eagles waiting in the wings.

On the eve of AFCON 2021 that is the disturbing news beneath the surface of Nigerian football. An unknown coach from Venezuela has been interviewed and hired by the Nigerian Football Federation and will be unveiled after the championship in Cameroon. I even hear he will be in the stands during AFCON observing but not coaching the team, waiting to take over from Augustine Eguavoen irrespective of Nigeria’s outcome.

What is even more shocking and annoying is that the man’s claim to fame is that he is recommended by his friend, ‘The Special One’, Jose Mourinho. This must be a joke! Jose, who, himself, has been ‘wobbling and fumbling’ from club to club in Europe, unable to find his feet and register any further success in coaching since his ignoble exit from Chelsea eons ago.

Also Read – Odegbami: Eagles, Pawns In The Politics Of Nigerian Football

It is hard to believe that Nigerians will fall for this crap, this cheap stunt, to be led like sheep, after the humiliation the proudest Black people on earth were made us go through with the shameful handling of Gernot Rohr, a misadventure that should have taught them a lesson never to attempt to fool Nigerians again. It seems some people still think that our mumu is forever.

If not that this is an acute case of what the legendary Jamaican singer, Bob Marley, described as ‘mental slavery’, how can anyone offer Nigerians a coach whose best ‘credential’ is a recommendation by a coach that the country would have second thoughts of hiring himself with his ‘fall’ from the Olympian heights of coaching at some point in distant history, and still groping for answers to his problem?

Have we become that stupid to just accept any such blatant abuse of our collective psyche?

Haba, do the NFF realise the damage such an appointment would do to Nigerian coaches with better qualifications that will be denied, once again, the opportunity to garner the experiences the officials say they do not have (and no country would offer them anyway) by handling their own team after the failure of the racket with foreign coaches?

I have checked. This foreign coach is not known in any big football circles. He does not dangle any serious credentials. Venezuelan football is not even known in these parts, not to talk of Venezuelan coaches. He does not come with an intimidating profile. He did not win anything for his country either as a player or a coach. So, what are we talking about?

I am wondering why Nigerian coaches and players, particularly the current generation of retired, ex-internationals-turned coaches, whose opportunities are being sold to undeserved foreigners, are not on the streets already, screaming blue murder and calling for the sack of the entire NFF.

If I was a Nigerian coach, I would head for the courts today and sue the hell out of whoever brings another foreign coach to handle the national team of this country, and imprisons Nigerian coaches and the entire country in another spell of colonization in the process.

This would be very damaging, and mark a permanent blow to the confidence and careers of qualified Nigerians waiting for years in the shadows to serve their country and earn some respect.

When Nigerian officials, who have also failed glaringly everywhere (except in the write-ups of their pen-pushing collaborators in this racket with foreign coaches) continue to treat qualified Nigerians as not good enough to coach their national team, they too should be disallowed any peace and respect. Having failed to deliver themselves, they too should be fired and replaced by foreign administrators. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander.

The issue now has become that of racial self-abuse, if there is any such condition. What is wrong with us that we continually run ourselves down? When shall we respect who we are, tell our own stories and proudly project our own to the world?

If the report of this new foreign coach is true, it will truly be a hard and bitter pill to swallow, and a tragedy for our Nigerian football heroes who have excelled playing the game and are now denied teaching it.

The day the next foreign coach lands on the shores of Nigeria, I, for one, will shall lead or join the chorus of railing against an ill-advised and arrogant appointment.

My stand and act may amount to nothing, but my name should never be found written amongst those who would be silent in the face of such a tyrannical act against the proudest of the Black people of African descent on earth, at a time in history when they are suffering some of the worst cases of disrespect around the world.

Some of us are waiting for that foreign coach to come and face his own ‘hell’.

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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 25
  • Debo Muri 1 month ago

    Well said Chief Odegbami, yourself a complete footballer whose shoes no one wears till date.

    CAF continues to inform us that the tournament is going ahead as scheduled. We see to that.

    And for the Venezuelan or whoever,
    the fact is, it will be foolhardy for any foreigner to leave his country and start flying down to a country with so much insecurity, kidnappers, herdsmen, bandits challenging even the state actors. It is obvious people will tell him to run for his dear life or at best be careful if he so desire money over his life.

    As authentic Nigerians, we can’t fold our hands to allow our own Super Eagles of Nigeria to fail to qualify for the WC and not even talking of getting to the WC finals.

    We have so much trust and faith in the local content policy which Minister Sunday Dare recently introduced that saw Coach Eguavoen leading other Nigerian to steady the team with a mandate to deliver. Nigeria Sports can never go back to the dogs again.

     
  • chuks haifa 1 month ago

    Talking like a dictator. If you don’t agree to what I want then I give you hell. He can impose his will if he is NFA president, but for now he is not.

     
    • Lopar 1 month ago

      A local coach, Coach Belmadi is handling the Fennec foxes of Algeria and they have been doing well. What is this distraction about hiring a new coach when we already have experts taking us to cameroon. Nobody will tell us that the so-called Mland is better qualified to Mr. Eguavoen who did not only played the game at the very height and had been to the nations cup winning a medal. Nigerian leaders sometimes we need to know how you people think self. Can’t we copy from African example?

       
  • Thank you Odegbami, Happy Christmas first of all. We need more of you to speak out otherwise these people will truncate our chances of doing well in Afcon and even going ahead to win the World cup. Football is a game of 11v11.

     
  • The NFF told us should the Nigerian Head Coach to Afcon does well, he will be supported to take our own SE to the World cup. That is all we know. Let us pray for SE to win trouphy in Cameroon because there is no need for argument.

     
  • Ali Gafar 1 month ago

    The way I see it, now that Coach Eguas will win Afcon in February and continues to coach our Nigerian National side, the moment he gets tired, he will hand over to Okocha or Ahmed Musa who I am aware will also go for coaching course after afcon. After Okocha, Musa, then let them pass the barton to another Nigerian. Senegal is a classical example in coach cisse and they are no2 in CAF.

     
  • Westerhof Clemence

     
  • De Star 1 month ago

    When I rightly concluded that Amaju Fraud-Pinnick is the most corrupted GOLD MEDALLIST among the past NFF chairmen, one little mind here was trying to defend the fraudster.

    Amaju Fraud-Pinnik thought he was smart , he first gave us unpopular Local coach that fans never requested for unlike the Amunike, Egbo, Manu Garba plus Rufai/Cal Ikpeme/Ike Shorumi/ Enyema ; but he was beaten to his game , when 99% Nigerian fans declared, they were ready to swim or sink with their local Eguafon, rather than going for another quack average coach as Rohr .

    Nigeria cannot stop being a laughing stock and backward in thinking; we are now back to stones ages when the western world took a map and decided to divide African continent among themselves; and colonized them , Nigeria not exception ; now in similar version Jose Mouhrino seat in Italy sending his fellow white Man to go and colonize Nigeria ( super eagles coach has now become paddy-paddy coaching arrangement

    What a joke , what a country !!! Can anyone in his right sense blame Jose Mouhrino for not looking at the direction of a quality Nigerian coach Egbo that had won league in Europe before being sacked ( If Nigeria did not rate their own fellow black , would anyone have expected a white Man to help them open their eyes to see the quality in a black man as Egbo ?)

    What a Country! the one that beat my imagination are the duo of supposed expose ex Internationals (King Kanu and JJ Okocha both who are the Living Legends) , that were taken cheaply, with a comical ambassadorial coaching roles … OMG The Okochas King Kanus with their exposure who ought to have been running the affairs of the football federation as Chairman, are now playing the roles of sombie to Amaju Fraud-Pinnick at a time their wiser colleagues in other African countries are not only running the affairs of their football federation but even their country as a whole ( today Samuel Eto is the elected Cameroonian FA, while our own equally decorated Ex International King Kanu is a laughable Coaching Ambassador) ; George is the President of Liberia , while JJ Okocha and Kanu are being brainwashed by the fraudster Amaju Pinnick .

    I don’t know how Chief Segun Odegbami intend to lead protest of Capital No to second slavery because of corruption, are the Legends Kanu and JJ who appears in cloud 9 with ceremonial coaching roles given them by the wiser Fraud-Pinnik , join the protest ?

    If Nigeria is a sane country, Pinnick that sacked a longest serving SE Rohr after almost 6 years of waste , ought to have been thrown into jail without option of fine ;

    In any case we are watching

     
    • Harry Elliott 1 month ago

      Many of us know how you feel to be given the short end of the stick, it is indeed sad going by your post. Only take it easy after all, Coach Eguavoen won’t be there forever. What is compulsory now is for Nigerians to continue to support our own to succeed, bring Afcon gold to Abuja, they will also take us to the World Cup. It is mandatory we think Nigeria first. From Asagbaa of Asaba.

       
  • As much as the mathematical is highly revered, he is not right on the foreign coach issue. Nigerian coaches are lazy. After the golden generation discovered by Westerhof, most local coaches that handled the SE told us we didn’t have quality players around the world and never replaced the aging generation until we crashed out of successive Afcons. Gernot Rohr took the hard line and started using small boys and today we have a cream of top players again. Players that we were told were not good are being hailed by everyone now. I hope we have learnt our lessons that local coaches contributed to not discovering and giving unknown young players opportunities in the SE to replace the golden generation quickly. They always want established stars.

     
    • Samuel S. Popo 1 month ago

      Sadbeast, mental slavery is a disease that you need to be cured of. Why do you think we should be spending our hard earn currency on a foreign coach who even when given the position couldn’t take the Super Eagles to quarter finals of the World cup. Here is an indegenous coach promising to win the cup for the first time in the history of Africa exploit in the world cup. You must be silly.

       
  • Omo9ja 1 month ago

    God bless you baba Segundo Ódęgbami. Well spoken baba. Kai, I hope Amaju Pinnick and his company NFF are reading this.

    “I am wondering why Nigerian coaches and players, particularly the current generation of retired, ex-internationals-turned coaches, whose opportunities are being sold to undeserved foreigners, are not on the streets already, screaming blue murder and calling for the sack of the entire NFF.

    If I was a Nigerian coach, I would head for the courts today and sue the hell out of whoever brings another foreign coach to handle the national team of this country, and imprisons Nigerian coaches and the entire country in another spell of colonization in the process.

    My stand and act may amount to nothing, but my name should never be found written amongst those who would be silent in the face of such a tyrannical act against the proudest of the Black people of African descent on earth, at a time in history when they are suffering some of the worst cases of disrespect around the world.

    Some of us are waiting for that foreign coach to come and face his own ‘hell’.

    Fellow Nigerians, we shouldn’t allow Amaju to sell us again. Oga Rohr contract signed by NFF should be questioned by EFCC.

    Now, another one is coming? Nobody can talk anymore. Amaju is now acting as the owner of the Super Eagles? This is not us Nigerians.

    Buhari is doing his own. It seems like we don’t have a president. Crime rate is huge in every state in Nigeria.

    Politicians are enjoying 24/7 electricity while the citizens are enjoying darkness in their homes.

    Now, it is Amaju that troubling our football and if we Nigerians doesn’t act quickly, he will destroy our football for us. Our mumu don do my people.

    Oga Rohr that is not qualify to coach Enyimba FC was the one in charge of the Super Eagles for almost six years? It is a shame if we don’t know Nigerians. Wake up Nigerians.

    Why Amaju do not trust his own people? Is Amaju even honest too? God bless Nigeria!!!

     
  • Hassan Fia 1 month ago

    @Wale:
    I know how you feel. Only a senseless expatriate coach would think of coming to Nigeria to pick up a job at this time. The security situation is terrible. Recently, The US sent a cable to her nationals detailing the security situation in Nigeria they mentioned banditry, insurgency, even now they said kidnappers are killing and roasting human beings in the South East, many of these things are terrible.

    It is very very bad that right from the arrival hall at the airports down to travellers destination, it takes by the special Grace of God for travellers to be survive. I think we need to work on the security situation first so as to endanger the lives of foreigner.

    Having said that, the present SE coaching crew is capable and ready to do us proud. Just be patient.

     
    • @ Hassan. I agree with you on the insecurity situation but moving forward, we need to trust our local coaches. However, they need to enhance themselves more. Lots of Nigerians use their money to do this, even going for courses overseas. Football is not different. Pitso is in Egypt, Amunike was in Tanzania. It is not a matter of colour. Do it right, and no one will notice your colour. Rohr got it right with the young talents he gave opportunity to, but technically, he failed. Let’s move on and get it right for Nigerians. Colour does not matter. A lot of Nigerians don’t even support local clubs. So?

       
  • Apart from the kidnapping, Boko boys and bandits that could scare the foreign coach away, their families may not have rest of mind. I want to believe we are not encouraging the whiteman to come and be kidnapped for money making purpose. That will be bad. The Venezuelan had better seek good advisers before plunging his family into trouble. The government of our president Bihari is working very hard on insecurity in the land. He himself survived Bornu state few days ago. No need for this distraction knowing very well that Mr. Eguavoen is time constrained, NFF should continue to support SE to succeed while we, Nigerians must continue to pray for our own to win the Gold. That’s is the only way forward, folks.

     
  • Waterside 1 month ago

    Uncle Odegbami is well know for speaking the truth to the authority, we extol him in Delta. You will live long uncle and shame go continue to visit bad people who don’t believe in Nigeria local content put in place by our able Minister and seconded by Amaju, areas!!!. Even the government had advised us to look in ward, buy made in Nigeria product. Now we have made in Nigeria to coach our own Super Eagles and the failures are bitter ad usual. We will protest the moment we hear pem. Warri o, area hey!

     
  • William d conqueror 1 month ago

    Almost all the countries going to Afcon have release their players list, but the corrupt amaju picnic
    nff are still trying to do their magic three days to the supposed camp opening. We dey sidon look una.

     
  • William d conqueror 1 month ago

    Well spoken baba sege, all these boil down to APC mismanagement of all sectors of Nigeria life. This fraud amaju picnic should not have been nff president the second time, if APC know what they are doing. Accepted he is a product of corrupt pdp, but leaving him alone to come back the second time is criminal. The results we are all seeing now.

     
  • Benjamin 1 month ago

    Thank you Odegbami, I have been having sleepless nights in my base in Europe. That corrupt Amaju who has been postering himself as doing any good to Nigeria should start preparing the accounts to hand over to an Ex super eagle player who was successful. He has been managing our football as his personal assets. We have given him too much time and it’s over.

     
  • De Star 1 month ago

    Thank you Big Sege ; you have always known to be saying truth unlike some other look-warming ex Internationals who are always waiting for the crumbs from the corrupt NFF

    Only a crazy fraudster Amaju would already start the downfall of his fellow countryman before the start of competition with distractions rather than to support Eguafon with arrangement of quality friendly matches .

    Our next campaign shall be # FRAUDSTER AMAJU -FRAUD PINNICK OUT !!
    # FRAUDSTER AMAJU FRAUD-PINNIK EFCC NET .

    We pray that Eguafon succeed , where he fail , he should be fired and bring another better local coach , not to go and enter into another shady corrupt contract of bringing an average white coach as Rohr , at the expense of our better local coaches

    There is no any sensible quality coach that will agree to work for an organization that can’t pay salary for 8 months !!!

    No sensible quality foreign coach would come and risk his life in the security prone country as Nigeria, that her citizens are afraid to visit their home country; only a mechanic or quack coach would agreed to do business with a fraudster as Pinnick Fraud-Amaju

    In an ideal society Amaju Fraud-Pinnick should be in EFCC net now on account of his fraudulent contract with his erstwhile business partner Rohr the longest serving SE coach whose the best was been a whipping old man to an Algeria local Coach Belmadi;

    Whose best in his almost 6 years reign was 5th best not the world but in Africa

     
  • HUSSEIN 1 month ago

    Incisive and beautiful write up by big Sheg.With his depth of exposure to Nigerian football as an ex international ,sports manager ,sports administrator,sports broadcaster,he has seen it all and he is well empowered to air his views on knotty sports issues.Segun Odegbami is just a year older than Gernot Rohr.I bet you if he had obtained a coaching license , the corruption infested football admistrators in Nigeria would never have engaged him to manage our Super Eagles.Perhaps ,some of us might have forgotten the illustrous role played by big Sheg towards earning Nigeria its first olympic gold medal via Chioma Ajunwa in Atlanta 96.He single handedly managed and funded Chioma Ajunwa on her road to Olympic glory.

    Gernot Rohr was merely hired to be a money spigot for the Pinnick led NFF.A coach that could only boast of coaching Niger,Gabon,etc being engaged to handle our senior national team with assemblage of youthful talents waiting to be transformed to world beaters.

    Does he possess the qualifications and sucesses of a Keshi (the only Nigerian coach to date to have won the AFCON),Adegboye onigbinde,Amodu Shuaib, Siasia,Yomi Tella ,Fanny Amu , Manu Garba, Amunike ,etc.Our brain washed mindset is critically affecting our reasoning and altering our sense of judgement.

    We always condemn ours, painting them bad and giving rooms for our corrupt football administrators to capitalise upon.Keshi was being paid 5 millon Naira while he held sway ,same for Sunday Oliseh.The under achiever called Rohr got $47,000 in hard currency for a start.Keshi was frustrated severely but he persevered enroute to AFCON and world cup glory.He exposed local talents such as Chigozie Agbim, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Godfrey Oboabona, Gabriel Reuben, Sunday Mba and Ejike Uzoenyi.Kenneth Omeruo was thrown up from obscurity,likewise Victor Moses,etc

    The gaffer Rohr had never believed in local talents hence his choice to exclude them at the mercy of foreign born Nigerians.Recall the last friendly with Mexico where he chose to opt out,only making a last minute appearance due to criticisms.

    History is about repeating itself like it did in South Africa 2010 where a Lars Lagerback emerged from Sweden and was imposed to lead our Eagles to doom at the snub of Amodu who qualified the team to the world cup for the second time.

    Our so called ex internationals except big Sheg are not helping matters nor themselves with their sit down and look postures prefering to partake in ceremonial matches that would fetch them good money,bet canvassers,football commentaries etc.They have failed to justle for administrative roles at their state football associations nor at the NFF .Samuel Eto recently became the chairman of the Cameroun Football Federation.Didier Drogba equally contested for this office in Coteivore some time ago.

    They rather prefer to feign ignorance when issues affecting themselves occurs such as the travail of Samson Siasia with FIFA ,etc only to surface with comic roles as Football ambassadors.

    There is nothing wrong in the competence of Eguavoen or his ability to prove doubting minds wrong at the AFCON.Senegal and Algeria are being coached by their ex internationals and the results are glaring.Lets put a stop to wasting scarce forex resources on engaging foreign coaches.Our local coaches are up to the task.NO foreign club or country in Europe or elsewhere would readily engage a black man to lead it, Egbo, Oliseh ,etc are living examples.Enough of this miasma

     
  • Kolawole 1 month ago

    I really do not understand Odegbami’s obsession with nationality or the skin color of a coach. I just want a good manager for the Super Eagles. All other sentiments are irrelevant.

    It’s not as if these ex-internationals have not been entrusted with the team in the recent past. In the last 12 years, Eguavoen, Keshi, Siasia, and Oliseh have been Super Eagles gaffers, while the likes of Ike Shorounmu, Alloy Agu, Daniel Amokachi, Garba Lawal, and Patrick Paschal have been part of the coaching crew.

    Odegbami sounds to me, like a racist.

     
  • Bem Aga 4 weeks ago

    Our boss, the mathematical Odegbami is a passionate patriot anyday. However, the column has its up and down sides for me. The point about giving Nigerian coaches the same opportunities that foreign coached are availed, high wages, adequate friendly games, ideal camping options, time to reach set objectives etc. Nigerians have a near consensus on this. Haven said this, Nigerian coaches will also have to hold thier side of the bargain. This hasen’t always happened. Eguavoen is a good coach and we are supporting him for the AFCON. Many however ask, when last he coached at a high-level and how he has been updating his techniques these past years.Our brothers also have the kinds of baggage (bribery, extortion etc) for which coach Salisu was banned. Stephen Keshi was sadly also mentioned in these shenanigans by Taye Taiwo and others. We can’t deny that this has been a problem which ensured we did not always select our best players. The way the relationship with Oliseh ended was confusing and unprofessional. It’s however not all woes, we have Emmanuel Amunike to look up to. He is doing well. Siasia also did well if not for the unfortunate FIFA ban. Oliseh is a good coach who can still be brought back on the table. There is also Finidi George who has started building a coaching career and can be tapped in the future. Haven said this, I am not one of those who believe we must swim and die with one of our own. If the person that would improve our football now is a foreigner, so be it. Odegbami descended to regrettable levels in demeaning Jose Mourinho’s status out of his anger. That man is one of the greatest of all time and should not be disrespected because of what the NFF is doing right or wrong, or Nigeria’s local football politics. Even the coach he recommended Morais has good experience working with Mourinho at Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea He wasn’t a friend serving Mourinho tea as Odegbami would want us to believe. Let’s be sincere for the sake of our country.God bless us all.