Friday, 19 April 2013
Adokiye wants NFF impeached
On April 19, 2013 · In Sports 1:33 am Sports buff, ex-international and a 1980 Nations Cup winner, Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka, who once held the position of the Attorney-General of Rivers State, granted Sports Vanguard an interview. JOHN EGBOKHAN presents his view in this two-part conversation, revolving round Nigerian sports. Is it proper to sack an assistant coach of the Super Eagles in the middle of an important World Cup qualification campaign? Ordinarily, the NFF can hire and fire. It’s normal, if you have the authority to appoint, you ordinarily will have the authority to dismiss. But it’s the circumstances here that make the situation rather unfortunate. How do you sack an assistant coach without reference to the chief coach, especially in a situation where he was recommended by the chief coach. The chief coach must have seen something in him that he considered to be very useful. So it bothers me that Keshi was reportedly not consulted. Adokiye Adokiye It is true that when you are running an organisation and you fall short of funds, you may take steps to be able to continue to run such organisation. One of such steps could be to prune down your staff but the critical question here as I said earlier on is why was Keshi not consulted? That is very suspicious, that is very unfortunate. But I cam not surprised I have said it before that the problem with us in this part of the world is that we do not confront challenges head on, we rather pretend that they don’t exist. I have said it before and I am saying it again that this so-called NFF are not happy that Keshi won the Nations Cup. They are not happy. And they want him out so that they will go ahead and appoint their foreign coach, no matter his calibre. And I wished Keshi had struck to his guns and resigned after the Nations Cup victory. How come the minister of sports came into the scene, even the President came into the scene to persuade Keshi not to resign? Did they find out why he tendered the resignation letter in the first place? They said there was no letter from Keshi, it was only a radio station in South Africa he told of his resignation… So if that is the case, why did the sports minister come into the picture to find out why he said he was going to resign. I said it then that they should address the problem, instead of saying there were no problems. This so-called NFF want to see Keshi’s back. They don’t want him to even be there, since the Nations Cup was done and all the worries that came with it. Are you saying that the reformation process is an attempt to get Keshi out? Of course. You have a chief coach who you say its a work in progress and you are pruning down the staff, its a ruse, its a ruse. I am not surprised too that they have sacked some backroom staff. These backroom staff got millions too from state governors. They were given money and other gifts and do you think the guys in NFF are happy? They are not happy. These people are now millionaires. Don’t you know that, you don’t understand the people you are dealing with? When we won the Nations Cup in 1980, the first thing that those people in the NFA did was to say that we were too rich, that we didn’t want to play football again, that we were millionaires, and that they wanted new blood. I was only 23. You can see how envious they were of us then even with the little money that we got then, there was envy. I am telling you that they are envious. They are not just jealous, they are envious. They are not happy that Keshi has made so much money, that his backroom staff have made so much money, that is why they are doing all these things. Read between the lines. These are people who had gone to the NFF to make money, don’t you know? They are there to make money for themselves, they are not there to run football in the first place. When they are there and Keshi’s backroom staff are making millions, do you think they are happy? They are not. That is why they are doing all this. They want Keshi to fail. I said it before and I told Keshi, and appealed to the sports minister, because for now, he is the one running football, courtesy of the NFA Act, 2004. I said, make sure that Keshi’s terms of contract are such that NFA, these so-called NFF, who just changed the name, cannot tamper with it. That is what is playing out now. They want to discourage Keshi. They want him to fail. How can you sack someone like Sylvanus Okpalla, that we know is a very competent technician, without reference to his boss. They don’t want Keshi to be happy. Give us your observations on the Kenya match and the way forward when we play them in June… In the circumstances, well that’s the thing. They set stage for the Super Eagles to fall. Can’t you see it? Immediately after the Nations Cup triumph, I said look, going through the record; usually when teams who win championships, it takes them sometime to pick up. I called it post-championship Dip in Performance Phenomenon. Usually, immediately after winning a championship, because of all the tensions and all the hypes and all that, and you suddenly exhale, it takes time to build up mentally and physically to that level of competition to win again,. So I was not surprised that we did not do so well when we played Kenya in Calabar. I expected that but the point is with what is happening now, that is going to be very difficult for the Super Eagles to do well in the next games. That notwithstanding, we will still find our way through. But the unfortunate thing is that this NFF, these co-called NFF, are not helping the Eagles and that’s why Nigerians should come and say we cannot accept this from you. Nigerians should come up and tell these people that we cannot accept this from them. They are too docile. Do we require the Presidency to intervene? The sports minister, under section 19 of the NFA Act, it is the sports minister that runs the NFA. The sports minister is in charge of the board of the NFA. So he is the one who is actually running football. But you are aware that FIFA frowns at government interference. If the minister attempts to exercise these rights, NFF will cry interference and FIFA will wade in… Don’t you know how things work? Was it not the sport minister that ousted Lulu’s board? They know how to do these things. They don’t have to show it in the open. The question of interference will not come up at all. FIFA won’t even know what is happening at all. Is it not the sports minister that gives them money to run the federation. All the sports minister needs to do is to call the board and tell them what he wants. It’s a political thing. They can get the congress of the NFA to oust the board. You can get the congress to oust the current NFF board quietly. It will be just like the way they did with Lulu board. After all, they used Maigairi and co to remove Lulu. They can in the same way remove this board. So if the sports minister wants he knows what do do. It’s unfortunate they are doing this. They are just toying with our football. They don’t know their left from right and how they got there is the problem of this country. You have round pegs in square holes. Ordinarily, Nigerians should stand up and say they are not going to take this anymore. It has got to a point where Nigerians should say no to these people. How big a threat is this to our national football? The threat is real. How can you be sacking backroom staff, pruning down allowances, have they pruned down their own allowances? They are so many of them there, who are doing nothing. What are they doing? You have a board of so many people, what are their roles? You say some are members of the Technical Committee. Who are the members of the Technical Committee? Who is the chairman of the Technical Committee? They have all sorts of characters with no real functions. You have people in the technical committee who don’t know about the game. They say they don’t have money and are appointing a Technical Director with two assistants. What we need now is a Director for Football Development, not a technical director. We need a Director of Football Development, who will oversee the age-grade category, that is what we need. Technical Director is going to clash with the chief coach of the Super Eagles. Let them look at the antecedents of other countries and learn from them but they are not ready to learn. In other countries where they have technical directors, the people know their limits. But you can be sure that these people are not going to spell out their limits and this will lead to confusion. Away from football, sir, you were the chairman of a panel, that looked at the modalities of setting up a Court of Arbitration for sports in Nigeria by the NOC. We’ve not heard anything on the CAS. Well, you should ask the NOC. I was the chairman of the panel set up to put together the framework for the actualisation of that body and we’ve done our job and submitted our report, as you are aware, during the AGM of the NOC at Uyo last year March. It was well received. They praised it to high heavens. Why not call amiable Alhaji Sani Ndanusa and ask him on what is happening. My committee has done its job, at very little expense, little or nothing. We’ve played our part and it is now left for the NOC to actualise it. I have had personal discussions with some key persons in the ministry on how to go about it. We’ve done our bit and even more. It is now left for the NOC to actualise it. Are you worried with the delay and the way we run sports? Worry is not really the appropriate word for it. I am disappointed. There is so much that we can do for ourselves in this part of the world but we just cannot do them. I don’t know what our problem is. It was the NOC on it own that came up with this brilliant idea of setting up the Court of Arbitration for Sports, CAS. So why are they not seeing it through. It is the dilemma of Nigeria. I wonder what is wrong with us. The NOC came up with this brilliant idea, which everybody commended, so why are they not seeing it through? We should stand up and say no to these people. We should ask what are you doing gentlemen? Why are they not actualising it? Why are they not seeing it through. We’ve done everything. We even went to Lausanne, Switzerland. We went to the IOC President, met with members and staff of their CAS there, we went to that extent, so why are they not seeing it through.