–Makes case for Stephen Keshi
Former FIFA and CAF Executive Committee member, Dr. Amos Adamu has offered a timely warning to stop the dwindling stature of the Super Eagles which has seen the team sinking to eighth position in Africa and 45th in the world.
“Failure to plan is planning to fail”, he remarked yesterday in Lagos as he pondered on the fortunes of the Super Eagles.
“The qualifying series for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations are barely six weeks away, yet the national team has not taken any definite shape”, remarked Adamu.
He wondered why a coach has not taken his place as the failure to secure qualifications for 2012 and 2015 editions of the Africa Cup of nations had roots in internal wrangling.
“We need a coach urgently for the Super Eagles to take shape.”
But Dr. Adamu believes that in the present circumstances, Stephen Keshi still remains the best option for Nigeria.
“The NFF at the moment cannot afford a foreign coach as the budget is not in place while the NFF has been prosecuting Nigeria’s participation in competitions with borrowed money”.
He admitted that Keshi was culpable for Nigeria’s failure to get to Equatorial Guinea 2015, but added that one must not miss the fact that the NFF was literarily not in place.
“The disorganized situation in the NFF had its adverse effect also on the players”. Dr. Adamu is of the opinion that Nigeria cannot afford to miss out in two consecutive editions of the continental premier competition.
He therefore advised the NFF to negotiate with Keshi and create an enabling environment to kick start Nigeria’s Africa Nations campaign which begins early June with a home game against Tchad.
This is immediately followed with an away duel with Tanzania before the potentially explosive home game with Egypt in the first quarter of next year.
A slip in the first two projected easier encounters is capable of putting Nigeria’s campaign on life support as it happened in the failed attempts for the 2012 and 2015 editions.
He praised the NFF president for the futuristic ideals being put up for the national teams but also advised that immediate concerns should not be overlooked.
Adamu wants the Keshi’s case settled on time so that the coach will be able to go round to scout the players needed to turn the Eagles’ fortune around.
To Dr. Adamu, Nigeria’s path to greatness again is long and tourtious which could only be realised through co-ordinated approach.
“First we take every competition serious”. He is unhappy at the early elimination of Nigerian clubsides from the CAF Champions’ League and how uncoordinated plans saw Dolphins being kicked out of the CAF Confederation Cup via walkover.
According to him, the next few weeks should set the tone for Nigeria’s return to greatness if the Golden Eaglets, the Flying Eagles and the Falconets scaled the heights at the respective global competitions spread across three continents of South America (Chile for the U-17), North America (Canada for Women’s World Cup) and Oceania (New Zealand for U-20).
He also commented on the rave of the moment, Taiwo Awoniyi, whose prowess saw the Flying Eagles becoming African champions in Senegal last month and literarily propelled the Under 23 team to qualify for the All Africa Games.
Adamu believes the player could be in the Super Eagles, but he needs to remain focused and not allow the current attention gets into his head.
“He must learn to sustain success; else he will just be like a flash in the pan”.