Completesportsnigeria.com’s Richard JIdeaka was in Abuja on Wednesday when Sunday Oliseh was presented as Super Eagles coach. Oliseh opened up on his coaching philosophy, his relationship with the NFF, and promised to make the team fly again…
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR APPOINTMEJT AS SUPER EAGLES COACH?
OLISEH: I must say I am excited getting the job after a second attempt. On behalf of my coaching crew, I thank you for coming personally, it is a great honour to be a coach of this great nation.
We are more than motivated to give our best to Nigeria. We thank the NFF for this opportunity.
WHAT ARE YOU BRINGING TO THE SUPER EAGLES AS COACH?
First of all I am not coming as a messiah, I am not coming as a person who knows all. I am coming as a single person. I am not promising to make Nigeria play like Germany. But I am coming as a person who has come to serve his country and we are ready to give 150 percent for the job.
WHy DID YOU COME WITH A FOREIGN ASSISTANT?
I chose my assistant and you ask why we have to bring an expertrate to Nigeria. We have to bring expatriate to serve Nigeria and I told the president that we need expatriate who is ready to work and the one who is hungry for victory, who knows Africa and ready to acclamitize.
We need Salisu desprately because we need somebody who knows the league. Our aim is to work with local players.
We need Alloy Agwu because of his calmness as goalkeeper trainer that will also give technical advice.
WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE GAME NOW IN NIGERIA?
Let us call a spade a spade; gone are the days when we had players who out of their own individual efforts made things happen. And those were during my playing days.
But we have potential to be the best in the world, the pace we are going to bring into this team, there are certain criteria that we going to set for the players of Super Eagles from now on. One of the critieria for any players is this: if you are not able to play in first division in Nigeria or any league in the world, you cannot play for thr Super Eagles.
There is only one exception to that rule, and that is when you are coming up from Nigeria age-grade teams Under-23, Under-20 and Under-17 and we know that you can serve us; that is where the rule is bent.
We need players who are only hungry, motivated and pray to wear our colours.
No player is doing Nigeria any favours for playing for Nigeria just as I am not doing Nigeria a favour to coach Nigeria. It is an honour to say I am coaching Nigeria.
WHAT IS YOU RELATIONSHIP WITH THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE OF THE NFF?
We understand that a lot has been spoken about crisis going on between NFF Technical Committee and coach and players among others.
We had a long, constructive discussion with them yesterday and they made it clear to me that they were ready to stand and support us and I also told them to be responsible for the management of my coaching staff, that means we mapped out everybody’s duties, where everybody has to work based on specialization and they welcomed it.
The point I am making here is that the aim is to work for the interest of Nigeria football because if we fail they fail. Because we need them to give us information as regards weaknesses and strengths of our opponents like technical committee for national team.
THERE IS THIS BELIEF THAT YOU ARE A STUBBORN, AND STEPHEN KESHI’S PROBLEM BORDERED ON ATTITTUDE. HOW WILL YOU MANAGE THIS?
There is a difference between being stubborn and being principled. If you are stubborn without reason, it means you are a mad man. It is principle when for example, you refuse to smoke when everybody is smoking, then I would rather die with that stubborness of not smoking. On the other hand, I grew up in Europe and in Nigeria when Nigeria was not as it is now. We grew when Nigeria had hardship.
I might be stubborn as you say but I am more principled and I am growing old. I am over 40 now. I was once asked a question whether I wanted to coach Super Eagles and I said I didn’t want to die young. I know the Super Eagles job is not a 24 hour thing, it is a 27 hour job.
So when the NFF boss came, he said we are going to work and I did not hesitate because I knew I was ready for the task. See my assistants, they have not slept because we know the expectations of Nigerians and they would not take any thing less. To answer your question, the NFF came and said these are what we want and I told them if you want us to do this work for you, this is what we expect from you and we put it into writting. At times there might be friction over results but we disagree to agree. They are going to be father figures to us and have to treat us like their kids. They will provide us all we need. At the same time, they are the employer and we are the employee. It is a reciprocal kind of thing.
WHAT PLAYING STYLE ARE YOU GOING TO ADOPT? WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE SUPER EAGLES?
My style will depend on the kind of players at my disposal. The style will be individual player related and we don’t have these players and for that reason, we have to have a team style of play and that means we have 11 players on the pitch where every player would not only be told what to expect from him but would be chosen for that particular position based on certain qualities that he has. For example, you cannot play in our attacking line up if speed is not one of your your strongest points. That is something we are hoping to do. The 3-4-3, 4-2-4 is just what we coaches use in deceiving people. The reality is that we get to the field we animate that formation. How we animate is to use what we have to achieve. If for example, we are playing Argentina, let us be honest, they are way, way better than us, we cannot go out there and be audacious enough to say we are playing with a pattern that is attacking and offensive. Even the Germans don’t do it when they play the Spaniards. Our playing pattern is based on who we play. We can’t expect me to ask my defender to start attacking from the back and we concede a goal and lose. The pattern we are going to play will be passing game coupled with other tactics based on opposition and the pitch.
WHAT WILL GUIDE YOU IN THE INVITATION OF PLAYERS?
The criteria for calling players and the leagues will be those that play fast football, because the difference between European and African football is pace and fast thinking. That why we also need to get players in the leagues that are solid enough. If you play in the second division in England, you cannot play here and you might ask me why, it is fast enough but I tell that a league that is playing more kick and rush football. That is not what we want to bring into our team. If I allow them, how then can I make them play possession football within the four days that I have to train with them. I’m a national team coach not a club coach and it is not easy.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT YOUR COMMENTS REGARDING THE ENYEAMA QUERY?
I had previleged information about that but what we should know is that being the captain, he speaks for the team after they might have discussed. So if a captain talks, he is expressing the opinion of about 18 or 20 players. But you should expect that when it comes to discipline my take is that the players should make their own rule added to the ones the federation has made. That means that the players will determine their own sanction and if it is not stringent, I come in. For example, if i come to camp on Sunday and you come in on Tuesday for crying out loud why should you do that?
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE SUPER EAGLES?
My plan for the Super Eagles is to try to get us to play as a team, a better team. Create a harmony and a style that each player has an idea what we want them to play. And as time goes on, when you watch the team from a distance, you know you have a team. I want a team that Nigerians would be happy to have.
ARE YOU UNDER ANY PRESSURE TO DELIVER AND MAKE THE SUPER EAGLES THE BEST?
If I doubted my ability to steer this team, I wouldn’t take the job. Like I said earlier, i I’m not a messiah but we shall improve the team. I am not under any form of pressure. I am glad to contribute my quota to my country.