From Francis Achi
Super Eagles of Nigeria is one of the very popular national teams in the world of football with high rating. The team get so much attention in the media all over the world in their build up to any game, be it a friendly or competitive one or and international tournaments. Players who are fortunate to be in camp during this period enjoy the rave of the moment in the media too.
The dream of every good footballer is to wear the national colours of his country. Every Nigerian footballer nurse the ambition of playing for the Super Eagles one day in his career and playing for the Super Eagles is a natural booster to increase the values of the footballer.
Rich, dubious agents with half-baked players: It is in this light, that there are so many pressures on the head of the technical crew of the team regarding the invitation of players to the Super Eagles from the various agents managing these players and while we have some genuine football agents with good players that are good enough to wear the colours of Nigeria, the football business is filled with dubious, but rich football agents and they have a pool of not too good players plying their trades in some clubs in Europe.
The goal or aim of these dubious football agents is to push for their wards by whatever means to be invited to the national team ahead of any game, be it friendly, competitive or international tournaments like the AFCON or the FIFA World Cup.
Most of these players may not be having regular playing times in their clubs in Europe or even the smaller nations abroad. Some may even be in Team B in their clubs and still be warming bench. The breakthrough they need is getting attention of the national team coach back home for them to play in the Super Eagles to warrant interest from other clubs in Europe.
Super Eagles as jankara auction market: It is very sad that the Super Eagles have been used as a testing ground to sell some average players. It unfortunate that while millions of football fans, stakeholders and government officials in Nigeria are apprehensive watching the team, some football big wigs in the business are busy calculating the amount of profits they will make from the sale of their players using the Super Eagles as a launching platform.
It is no longer news that the Super Eagles will trade tackles with the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in a World Cup qualifying game on 1st September and while a lot of Nigerians are looking forward to the game with great expectations, football agents are also perfecting their acts to ensure that their players get an attention by getting invitation for the game.
Snoring technical committee of the NFF: Gernot Ror, the technical adviser of the Super Eagles, has the final say in the selection of players for any game, but in reality there ought to be a synergy between the Head of the Technical crew and the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). Unfortunately the technical committee and Gernot Rohr never had any meeting until after Bafana Bafana humiliated the Super Eagles. This forced them to eventually hold a meeting to chart the way forward for the disgracing Super Eagles.
Flicks from the meeting indicated that Gernot Rohr should not be the alpha and omega in the selection of players for the Super Eagles, the German should liaise with the technical committee and technical director of the NFF on invitation of players for the national team.
When NFF became an eunuch, Rohr trades to survive: Football loving Nigerians should be aware that when a coach is being owed some months of his wages and he tells the world that he was not bothered, but concentrating on the job. Something is fishing somewhere under the current unknown to a lot of people. Football is a multi billon dollars business and the labourer deserves his wages, but when the labourer acts indifferently, it indicates that he has a way of paying himself or he is making some cool cash on the job, despite being owed salaries.
On some occasions, the coach may actually be concentrating on his job and do not want to be distracted by the delay in payment of his wages. Fortunately, the NFF has secured a deal with AITEO for the payment of salaries of national team coaches, therefore, Rohr and the rest should not be owed salaries anymore.
Laying the grounds for his business: When a coach tells you that he wants certain age categories of players for the Super Eagles, for example between 20 – 25 years due to the fact that he is building for the future, it sounds good to the ears, but the undertone of this policy is that it will deprive Nigerians of having her best of the best players for the national team.
If a player in Europe is in good form all through the season, but because he is 28 years, Rohr will not be interested in such player. Nigeria paraded her youngest squad in history when they filed out against South Africa and we all knew the outcome of the encounter.
Chigozie Awaziem: While the football loving fans of the Super Eagles gnashed their teeth and licked the wounds of 0-2 defeat to the Bafana Bafana of South Africa at home, Adamu Babawo, the Jos-based football agent of Chigozie Awaziem smiled to the bank on the account of the competitive debut game of Awazem.
The defender was very woeful against South Africa, as he got baptism of fire in the central defence of the national team. It was all over in the football transfer news few days after the fiasco in Uyo that Awaziem has been transferred from Porto B team in Portugal to Nantes FC in French Lique One!
We had Uche Agbo and Keneth Omeruo in the Super Eagles camp prior to the game against South Africa, both players could function in the central defence, but Awaziem got the nod. There was a script that must be followed to perfect the transfer of Awaziem to Nantes FC and the powers that be in the Super Eagles played along.
In delivering the script, the cabals in the Super Eagles ensured that Agbo, who played in La Liga last season with Granada with over 31 games and Turkey-based Omeruo were not preferred in the game.
Awaziem played full 90 minutes. The truth is that in French Ligue One for an African player of a certain age to be successfully transferred to ply his trade in the league, he must have been capped by his national team in a competitive game.
Awaziem got his first cap for the Super Eagles and transfer to Nantes was completed few days later. The same rule applies to some North African countries like Tunisia and Morocco.
Business first, national interest later: The hottest set of players in the transfer market are the ones between the ages of 20 – 25 years and Awaziem is 20 years old. When a player is 28 years old and in terrific form, what is the need of inviting him to the Super Eagles camp when he is a not sellable material for the main clubs in Europe as the agents wants us to believe.
For me, so long that a player is in good form, he should be invited to the national team to fight for a place in the team, but Rohr does not want to hear that script.
Adamu Babawo, the supra agent: As a football agent, Babawo has penetrated the age – grade national teams of Nigeria with his players in the past. He has a way of going about his football business of selling players and I do not have any quarrel if his players are invited to these age – grade teams on whatever criteria best known to the national coaches, but the Super Eagles should not be a place to trade average players.
If Babawo have very good players, with excellent qualities for the Super Eagles, let them come into the nest of the Eagles, but Awaziem’s case leaves a bad taste in the mouths of fans of the Super Eagles. Many could not sleep that night. Few smiled to the banks with swollen pockets!
Toothless bull dog called technical committee: Enough of Awaziem and Babawo. Let me switch back to Gernot Rohr, the Franco- German technical adviser of the Super Eagles. Rohr is having a running battle with the technical committee over the scouting and selection of players. A technical committee that comprises of some former Super Eagles such as Victor Ikpeba, Garba Lawal, Mutiu Adepoju, Christian Chukwu and Austin Jay Jay Okocha.
Victor Ikpeba, 1997 African footballer of the year is he not good enough to have an input on the players to be invited to the Super Eagles?
Should Garba Lawal, France 1998 World Cup player for the Super Eagles should be in the cooler when it comes to the selection of the players for the Super Eagles?
Mutiu Adepoju, a player that represented Nigeria at three FIFA World Cups in 1994, 1998 and 2002 should just fold his hands and not contribute as Rohr and his crew runs the affairs of the team like headless snakes?
Austin ‘Jay-jay’ Okocha, that equally featured at three World Cup tournaments like Adepoju in 1994, 1998 and 2002, a very talented and very skillful former Nigerian creative midfielder and captain of the Super Eagles does not have the moral right to discuss with Rohr on the type of midfielders to be invited to the team.
Man Friday Tunde Adepoju: Rohr is only interested in one man. The only man Rohr trust with these responsibilities is Tunde Adelakun. Who is this Tunde Adelakun?
Part II will be published tomorrow. Don’t miss the juiciest part.