*Declines to submit CHAN technical report
By John Egbokhan
Over six months after his unveiling as Eagles manager at an elaborate ceremony in Abuja, Sunday Oliseh is walking on thin ice and is locked in a battle of power and wits with his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The former Super Eagles captain, known for his tough stance on issues is trading on a war path with the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF executive over the small matter of submission of a technical report from the 2016 African nations Championship in Rwanda, where the home-based Eagles assembled by the former Juventus defensive midfielder ingloriously crashed out in the first round stage.
Eagles had a tournament to quickly forget, winning their first match against Niger before subsequent draw against Tunisia and defeat to Guinea to exit the 16-nation tournament at the group stage.
It was deemed the worst outing yet by the national side at an African-organised event, prompting wide outrage from soccer buffs and followers over the country’s chances of navigating through next month’s AFCON 2017 qualifiers against Egypt and the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, set to hold later on in the year.
Our usually authoritative source told us that the NFF requested Oliseh to submit a technical report of his team’s campaign at Rwanda.
Ordinarily, such a technical report states how the team executed their matches provides a guide for the federation and even the coach on what to do to produce better results in subsequent tournaments. The NFF thought Oliseh, with his experience working with the FIFA Technical Study Group, where reports of such nature were a given would even appreciate the good motives of the federation. But they got the shocker of their lives when Oliseh replied that writing such a report was not part of his contract.
His reply shocked board members, who were scandalised for his lack of respect for professional conduct and indifference to the things that can aid him to produce a better team ahead of next month’s AFCON double-header against Egypt for the sole qualification ticket to Gabon 2017.
It was gathered that the board members were at a loss as to the next line of action to take with Oliseh, who like his predecessor, Stephen Keshi, it was learnt felt larger than the federation.
The greater fear now is that Oliseh may bungle Eagles chances to pick tickets to the 2017 AFCON and Russia 2018 World Cup, which may also affect their own chances of holding on to their positions in the NFF Executive Committee, as World Cup performances are used to benchmark the success or otherwise of sitting NFF board. Aside the seeming danger to their reputation is also the interest of Nigerian football.
Recalling that it was during their term that Eagles failed to qualify for the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea, even though the damage was already done before they took over in September 30, 2014, another AFCON miss by Eagles would be termed double tragedy for the Pinnick-led board.
With Oliseh’s recalcitrant style, there are chances that he may totally fall out with the federation, paving way for the appointment of a foreign coach, who could restore Eagles to victory’s path.
Since taking over the Eagles reins, Oliseh, who previously managed Verviétois a third division side in Belgium, has not impressed even his admirers with the way he has handled the team.
And to make matters worse, he has antagonised the NFF more. Those who want him out point to his late arrival to camp and even when around, the confusion he causes, like the case with Vincent Enyeama, which caused the latter’s retirement from international duty. Such a heavy baggage, they argue, will harm Eagles sooner than later.
“Oliseh talks too much and easily loses his cool over matters that could be well handled,” a source lamented recalling that Samson Siasia’s mother was kidnapped and allowances owed his players but he went to win the African Youth Tournament and got all his dues and those of his players paid.
Emmanuel Amuneke was in a worse situation than the Oliseh Eagles but they won the Under 17 World Cup and later got all their entitlements reimbursed.
“We are not saying that it is a good thing to owe allowances but when money meant for a tournament is not released before the tournament starts the team should show understanding.”