–Former Super Eagles defender Taribo West tells SL10.ng that the election of Pinnick Amaju will bring positive change to Nigerian football as he urge the new board to offer Super Eagles Coach Stephen Keshi contract extension. He also believes that Nigeria will feature at the Morocco AFCON.
Let’s start by talking about the election of Amaju Pinnick as the new NFF President. You were there on the day and you know the man. What do you think Nigerians should be expecting from the new NFF board?
I believe it will be a new dispensation; it’s like a fresh revolution that has just started. He has ideas and incredible concepts in football administration. It is a new era and we also look forward to how he will solve the issues that have bedeviled Nigerian football for years. He also has to give active roles to the practitioners of the game, both the present and past ones. But I think with him coming as the President of the NFF, I think he will be the Joshua that will take us to the promise land.
How do you think this will impact on Nigeria’s chances against Sudan in the AFCON qualifiers this month because the controversies during the first phase was believed to have contributed to Nigeria’s solitary point from a possible six?
Yes. It will be a great advantage for us because the problems really affected the players in the games against Congo and South Africa. It will be a morale booster and an advantage for the players, unlike the psychological disadvantage they had in the first games. I think it will help us see out the next two games and I see positive things.
How do you think with a new board in the NFF things will change for the better as the Super Eagles play Sudan next week?
Yes, it’s a great advantage. Psychologically the problems at the NFF affected the boys. This new development will motivate the team and most importantly see Nigeria through the games with Sudan.
As regards Keshi’s future, do you think he should be allowed to continue or should the NFF seek another expert?
I think Keshi should be given another chance, the last twenty years hasn’t been easy. Nigeria didn’t do well at the AFCON but he led the team to lift the trophy. He has done better than every other indigenous coaches and that only shows he’s got something working well for him. I strongly feel Keshi should be retained considering that Amaju Pinnick is coming in, there will soon be a new look Super Eagles that will take Nigeria to that level Nigerians want to see the Super Eagles.
During your time in the national team, we had lots of quality defenders but it looks like we don’t have such quality again in the Super Eagles, are you not worried about this?
Hmmmmm, yeah, I’m worried but I think Keshi is equal to the task. He is a strong defender but to be realistic, the generation has changed but he is playing with the best option he has. I must say that there’s a lot of quality in the Golden Eaglets that won the FIFA World Cup in UAE and i feel some of them should be given a chance in the senior national team.
What advice do you have for the new NFF president?
Focus, commitment and discipline. What I saw and heard from him during the election process tells more about the quality he’ll bring to the table.
The Super Eagles got to the round of 16 at the World Cup but the same team having at least 70% of those that made the trip to Brazil lost at home and struggled in South Africa during the first round of qualifiers, what do you think about that?
This is an attack; it comes every now and then. Especially, when we are about to take part in the World Cup, so I think it has come and gone.
So you mean Nigeria will qualify for the Nations Cup?
Yes, Nigeria will qualify. Though, we are walking on a tight rope but I’m optimistic Nigeria will qualify for the Morocco 2015.
Keshi said recently that he’s using what he has but does that mean Nigeria doesn’t have enough talents for the national team or is it a case of him not looking enough?
I know every coach has his own kind of philosophy and I believe the way the domestic league has been managed can even discourage a coach to go out to search for talents. It’s not that he is lazy but I believe that now that Amaju Pinnick who understands proper development of the game is the NFF boss, a change is about to be experienced.
You mentioned earlier that the Golden Eaglets class of 2013 has a lot of quality in them and one player that easily comes to mind is Kelechi Iheanacho, do you think the young man deserves a call up to the Super Eagles now?
Yes, I agree totally because the Eagles have not been so creative lately especially at the last World Cup and AFCON qualifying matches we played. So because of this, I think Iheanacho must be invited to the Super Eagles to fight for a position, and every other young player coming through that have shown they have what it takes. Mikel has been doing fine, but not enough creatively so I think Iheanacho must be called up to the team.
Thank you very much pastor…
God bless you.