Solomon Dalung

FG: We can’t afford foreign coach for Eagles

The Federal Government has said that it cannot afford hiring a foreign coach for the Super Eagles.
Addressing State House correspondents yesterday, Sports Minister Solomon Dalung said unlike indigenous coaches, a foreign coach would not tolerate non-payment of salaries.

According to him, although the selection of coaches is handled by the technical team, his ministry has a role in guiding what is best for the country.

“I’ve always maintained that if we cannot pay indigenous coaches, we still owe them some months of salaries, some of them have even died without those salaries, do we still go and look for a foreign coach and will he be able to tolerate us without salaries for some time, also that we may also be paying him in hard currency? So, it’s a fundamental contradiction to swallow easily,” he said.

The minister said Nigerian indigenous coaches had always recorded poor performance in football because they had not been able to grow above parochial sentiments.

“An example is that, a coach will train a team, the team will qualify for the next stage, once it becomes international, they will now submit a different list of people, not the entire people who qualified. This already has violated what’s referred to as team spirit in football. A team that played is different from the one going.

“We’ve that crisis on our hands now, especially with the list of those going to Rio. Those who qualified are fundamentally different from those that have been sent to go and play at the finals, making it looks like those wheelbarrow pushers. You know the wheelbarrow is an instrument that’s not important, but can only be kept under perennial sun. Since there is a load, you go and pick it,” Dalung stated.

Also yesterday, the president of the Nigeria Football Coaches Association (NFCA), Mr. Bitrus Bewarang, cautioned the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to jettison the idea of hiring of a foreign coach to tinker the Super Eagles.

He made this caution in view of Nigeria’s preparation for the Africa’s qualifying series of the 2018 FIFA World Cup scheduled to kick off in October.

Bewarang said that it is time for the NFF to give the indigenous coaches the rightful place rather than taking technical decisions without the input of the coaches.

According to the former Nigeria assistant coach, the difficult group Nigeria find herself in the qualifiers calls for a home grown approach to getting the ticket for Russia 2018, emphasizing that those who understand African football terrain, especially Nigerian coaches, should be given the nod to handle the Super Eagles.

Bewarang also paid tribute to Stephen Keshi and Amodu Shuaibu describing the two former Super Eagles coaches as world-class coaches who were not sufficiently recognized until their death. He said as a mark of respect for the deceased coaches, the NFF should look inward and identify from the pool of competent coaches in Nigeria and appoint the Super Eagles handler.

“Is there anything wrong if you support the current Super Eagles coach, Salisu Yusuf to carry on with the work he has started rather than bringing in a foreign coach to mess up an ongoing work?” he asked.

Besides, Bewarang reminded the NFF that the current economic hardship calls for a reduction in any form of capital flight, including the hiring of a foreign coach.

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