Upon the resignation of Sunday Oliseh as the coach of the Super Eagles, the NFF Chairman Pinnick Amaju announced that Oliseh’s exit was Super Eagles last experience with an indigenous coach, and effort would be made to secure the services of a foreign coach.
That sounded quite interesting, but very inhumane. Former Kwara Football Academy Technical Director Paul Ashworth who is currently the Technical Director of Ventspils FC, once commented on the issue of hiring a foreign coach in Nigeria. In his chat with this writer, Ashworth stated:
“The coaches do not have any problem, whether foreign or indigenous; the problem with development of Nigerian football is with the administrators. When the administrators employ European coaches, they treat them better than Nigerian coaches and this is bad. A coach is a coach it does not matter if he is Nigerian or foreign coach”.
The above is not far from what is happening in Nigeria till date, since the evolution of Nigerian football in 1922 when we hired our first foreign coach. We have had a total of 19 foreign coaches against the 16 indigenous coaches who have handled the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Interestingly, only one foreign coach was ever sacked in Nigeria while another was sidelined, the remaining 17 coaches all got their salaries and rights at the nick of time. As for the case of our indigenous coaches, it is a different story of the 16 indigenous coaches that were employed, 15 were sacked while only one succeeded in resigning, till date, some Nigerians argue that he acted “unpatriotic” by resigning.
The death of two former Super Eagles coaches Stephen Keshi and Amodu Shuaibu, further exposed the lapses in our football administrators, as it was revealed that these two coaches were owed outstanding salaries as at time of their death. Unfortunately, these were two coaches who had dedicated their lives to the Super Eagles, they were owed salaries while alive, and its shameful that they were still owed salaries as at time of their sack and death.
Ashworth in a chat with this writer, once described the Super Eagles coaching job as “the worst job in football coaching”, marred with corruption, bad administration, dictating to the coach who to play, terrible organization, late payments or not at all and so on.
Aside the problems associated with the administration, Nigerian fans are not objective in their analysis. Their quest for must-win blind their eyes against realities associated with these shortcomings, such that they are actually the first to call for the head of indigenous coaches when things go bad. Moreover, they find it difficult to accept the fact that “Nigeria” have since lost her grip of her position in football as far as the world is concerned.
Finally, getting a foreign coach for the Super Eagles is not the solution to our problem, but one question that we must seek to clarify is this, if we find it difficult to pay our indigenous coaches as at when due or not pay them at all, how come we find it very easy and comfortable to pay foreign coaches with ease, even when they earn more than our indigenous coaches?