Rohr, Super Eagles

Odegbami: The NFF And Their Expensive German Gamble!

I am very happy that the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, have finally got their wish. They have hired another foreigner to handle the Super Eagles. 

I am also glad that they appear to be very happy with their choice of the man, a German. The NFF tell us his best credentials are that he has deep grassroots developmental experience, plus knowledge of African football and footballers! 

Nigerians’ expectations are now sky high considering that the new man has promised to deliver on the mandate given him – to qualify the Super Eagles for the 2018 World Cup.  

That mandate is important because the cost to Nigerians of failing to qualify for the last two Africa Cup of Nations championships is humongous, particularly for those of us whose livelihood depends on the football business that thrives only when the national team is doing well internationally. Plus, of course, the impact on millions of other Nigerians that ‘feed’ on the ‘feel good’ factor that success in football provides them in these harsh and hard economic and political times. 

All over the country now, Nigerians want the Super Eagles to return to winning ways. Winning is what unites them, it is an integral part of what made them the happiest people in the world a few years ago. Winning cushions the psychological depression of failure in other sectors, if only temporarily. 

Nigerians have missed the buzz that comes with winning in the past two years! They want it back and quickly. The NFF know it and have chosen the path of a foreign coach to rescue the situation. 

It is obviously a very big gamble considering Nigeria’s past experiences with foreign coaches since Jo Bonfrere exited about a decade ago. 

The 2018 World Cup provides the platform for the next big challenge. For the NFF, it is a matter of ‘lose and sink’, or ‘succeed and survive’. Deep down they know it. 

So, I can understand why it is important for them and for everyone else to be interested in who takes over the national team at this critical time after the last two crisis laden experiences under Nigerian coaches, late Stephen Keshi and Sunday Oliseh.  

A few things come to mind though as the German starts work in Nigeria. He will probably be scrutinized more than any other foreign coach in our history. 

Probably, that the NFF chose to cloak the coach with the title of technical adviser is to provide a cushion of some sort for the man and for themselves, should he fail. Otherwise why a title unknown to developed football cultures, unknown even in Germany where the man comes from.    

So, is he fully in charge of coaching the Super Eagles or is he not? Is he just supposed to advise the chief coach, Yusuf Sanusi, who, like all the other Nigerian coaches before him that worked under a technical adviser, has a title that entitles him nothing but the ceremonial role of sitting on the bench? 

We recall Clemens Westerhof. He was also called Technical Adviser. He was the first foreigner to be given that title. 
His was originally a ploy to shift responsibility of failure to another should he fail.  It was also to cover up for his lack of requisite coaching qualifications needed to manage a high profile national team like the Super Eagles. Clemens Westerhof had little credentials, no pedigree of any substance, and definitely none of the experience needed to coach one of the biggest teams in Africa. Hiring him was a big gamble taken by late Chief S. B. Williams. 

Fortunately, Westerhof took over at the right time with an avalanche of emerging truly exceptional talents that burst onto the scene. He cleverly exploited the situation by supporting himself with competent technical aides (both foreign and local) and, in 5 years, achieved success that only late Stephen Keshi, a Nigerian that played and obviously learnt a lot under him, has surpassed since then as a coach in Nigeria’s football history. 

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The present NFF have engaged another little known foreigner with limited experiences coaching some minor teams in Africa, and clothed him in the amorphous garment of Technical Adviser, Westerhof-style! 

This time there will be no opportunity of shifting responsibility to a scapegoat should the experiment fail. The German will carry the can of the team’s success or failure. 
In surrendering to their sentiment to hire a foreign coach, I am  putting it on record that even as the new man obviously does not need my support to succeed, he should know from the onset that I am not on his side, and that my stand has nothing to do with his person but with the realization that for every foreign coach that Nigeria hires, we are denying a Nigerian the opportunity to accumulate the much-needed experience that moving up the global ladder of football coaching requires. 

The bitter truth is that Europe, Asia and the Americas will never (at least not in this lifetime) give a Nigerian coach, no matter his resume, the opportunity to coach a big foreign club or national team, exactly what our administrators demand as prerequisite to confidently hire them to handle the senior national team. 

How will any Nigerian coach ever be qualified to handle the national team? Where would they gain and gather the required experience if not from Nigeria itself and probably a few African countries as in the case of Stephen Keshi? 
Is Daniel Amokachi’s sensational decision to handle a foreign fourth division club in the remote lesser league of Norway, driven by the desire to fulfill this far-fetched requirement by our administrators? 
It is important to make the necessary sacrifices now so that we can escape our perpetual enslavement to cheap foreign coaches. 

With Amodu, Keshi, Siasia and Oliseh succeeding each other with mixed results, including a spell of unprecedented achievements under Keshi, Nigerians were poised to attain that level of sophistication, experience and knowledge in coaching (which will be eventually handed down to a new generation) that would have placed them at par with their colleagues in Europe and America. By truncating the succession and handing over to an ordinary foreign coach, Nigeria has definitely taken a step backwards. 

History will prove me right soon enough when this musical game of chairs continues between local and foreign coaches. 

Once again, let me state clearly that I have nothing against the idea of hiring the best foreign coaches for Nigeria’s senior national team. But no foreign coach shall get an iota of my support unless he has the credentials, the experience and the pedigree that clearly dwarf those of the best Nigerians available, period!

So, as we all bring out  microscopes and telescopes and start to go through every thing the German coach does with a fine tooth-comb, my hope and wish are that he succeeds. 

Qualifying for the 2018 World Cup is the a huge mountain to climb, but we are all waiting, watching, praying and wishing Gernot Rohr well, despite any misgivings!

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7 Comments

  1. Reply Post By Adefioye Olujide from Ijoko Ota in Ogun state

    Kudos to you Completesportsnigeria…I just won the glo recharge card…Thank you!

  2. Reply Post By Adefioye Olujide

     

  3. Reply Post By olaniyi

    Well said by football Mathematician himself,I salute and respect the fact that you made known your point and stand. i am of the same school of thought. Its high time we start thinking and acting right,Nigeria football should not be handle by mediocre and people of little or no insight into the future. Nigeria need foreign administration not coaches or trainers, Our coaches only need support , tolerance, materials and adequate training to be succesful. Once again, thank you sir , you are always respected 

  4. Reply Post By Austino10

    " Fortunately, Westerhof took over at the right time with an avalanche of emerging truly exceptional talents that burst onto the scene. He cleverly exploited the situation by supporting himself with competent technical aides (both foreign and local) and, in 5 years, achieved success that only late Stephen Keshi, a Nigerian that played and obviously learnt a lot under him, has surpassed since then as a coach in Nigeria’s football history"*To me, we have great talent at this moment, but why arent the current coaches using 'LUCK' to replace success here. You made it clear of your bias in hiring foreign coaches. Looking at your writeup on Clemens Westerhorf's great achievements, it seems indigenous coaches might not even be recognised given your set standards(fortunate). Westerhorf delivered not because he had the best set of players. A manager has to be praised when he is able to achieve results, sir."we are denying a Nigerian the opportunity to accumulate the much-needed experience that moving up the global ladder of football coaching requires". *I think the work ethics regarding preferential treatment is stated in almost each nations employment rights. Don't know if its different for our naija. Our coaches are taken for granted, and when a reaction comes from an indigenous coach, we don't want to know the facts that can change the life of other coaches!I personally follow your football ideologies, but can't find room for such outward lavishing of hiring of foreign expertise. You've forgotten we are a third world country and would need foreign experts, given that our expertise as football players is highly in demand out there in this business. A Nigerian is been employed out there in that foreign land too! We all need each other!Looking at the facts Oliseh pointed out in the social media, I think you should lead people to the Senate, so the case is probed. This might be a turning point for the treatment of our local coaches. They aren't paid on time, aren't given enough equipment, aren't taken serious, but expected to achieve same results as their foreign counterparts.Our ex-football players started delving into coaching and football administration lately. In fact some are even forced into coaching and working as football administrators. We will surely get there, sir. "Is Daniel Amokachi’s sensational decision to handle a foreign fourth division club in the remote lesser league of Norway, driven by the desire to fulfill this far-fetched requirement by our administrators?"Fact is Daniel Amokachi is manager of a second division team in Finnland- JS HerculesWe can only be united at this point, but like you said Gernot might not need such a support. Late Keshi's(RIP) coaching credentials became so rich, because of his going to coach other African countries. Most of our indigenous coaches don't want to see the great opportunity they'll have after coaching nations like Mali, Sudan, Senegal or even Gambia…….  

  5. I have never supported the idea of hiring a foreign coach. I have my reasons,  some of which chief Odegbami has mentioned. I will mention them again. 1) how many Nigerians in particular and African in general are coaching in europe. Only Amokachi and it is in a remote club  somewhere in Finland or iceland or where I dont know. So why should they come here and make easy money which should be given to our local coach as salary, allowances and leftover for training or refresher courses.  2) all the foreign coaches(i am not impressed with the technical adviser acronyn) have being fakes. all of them. The question I have always like to ask myself is why dont they stay in their country and coach a club if they are real coaches goiod enough to coach a country. dispite all the ugly stories about how NFF treat coaches, they still want  the job. There must be an agent, 419 who know us and is able to find a coach somewhere and push him to us. 3) I believe NFF big wigs are making some money with the hiring of a foreign coach. how on earth can they explain their hiring a foreign coach when they cannot pay their players, their coaches. it is madness indeed. the same source they get money to pay the foreign coach should also be the same source to pay the local coaches. is someone  stealing the money? 4) how many countries have won the world cup? 7 countries with about 207 countries participating. so why waste our resources on a foreign instead of a local coach, pursuing something you will nevet get. the big countries will not allow it. our only chances are in the junior categories and these are formed for the countries that will never win the main thing. the south america continent is even loosing grip of the world cup now.  Pinnixk and others know what they are doing. they are criminals but justice will soon catch up with them. Give me the eagles and I will do a good selecion and train them well. so why not a trained frofessional  of the land.

    1. Reply Post By Austino10

      @localcoacessupporterforeagles, when you certain questions you've asked like; " why don't they stay in their country and coach a club if they are real". It is not new that foreign expertise is in demand in countries. A lot of coaches are hired in different countries, just like you cannot tell our players in Europe why don't you stay back in your country if you are good. That you want want to handle our national team too reveals what you all want to turn Nigeria into. Everyone wants to coach SE or can. Coaches like Eguaveuon might get a good coaching job in other African countries, but they are all waiting for the SE job, even if it'll be for 3 months. *Imagine Pinnick hiring you, then I'll be making your section of players for you lol. That'll be the highest 419 or 410 offence committed.

  6. Reply Post By Austino10

    When you guys speak this way, it shows you wouldn't want the success of our football to be delivered by a foreigner. Bros Odegbami said he would support if a well credentialed foreigner took over this post, which I don't believe him. Well, the way you speak over the hiring of a foreign coach is just the same way each national complains when a Nigeria is hired somewhere. If you've played or worked outside your country then you'll have better experience on this. It isn't that r coaches might not be good for other countries. Ask all our Nigerian coaches, which of them has sent his resume when a country like Holland, England and the likes seek a new manager? Why are we complaining so bad and using this as an excuse to deter a possible success like Westerhorf's time. A coach has been brought in, some of us also like indigenous coaches, but can't dwell on complains. Patrick Kluivert, a good friend, coached Curaçao, a country I guess our Nigerian coaches would wonder what he was doing there. He was assistant to Van Gaal in the national team, but wasn't given the chance when Van Gaal left. Our coaches have to go out more. Countries like China need good coaches from Nigeria. Today Patrick is manager of the almighty PSG. Stop insulting yourselves by making jest of Amokachi's signing of JS Hecules. He only needs the results.

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