Posted by News Express | 15 July 2015 | 3,359 times
Opinions have been largely positive about the impending announcement of ex-international Sunday Oliseh as Technical Adviser of the senior national team, the Super Eagles, by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Following confirmation of talks between the football house and Oliseh in London, imaginations have started running wild about the prospects of the latter succeeding at the helm of the technical team of Super Eagles coaches. There is a certain Barcelona and Pep Guardiola feel to things. For one, like Guardiola was at Barca in his formative years as coach, Oliseh is a young coach steeped in the knowledge of how things were during the glory days of Nigerian football in the early ’90s. As an active member of the playing staff of ‘Dutchgarian’ Clemence Westerhof, it is expected that Oliseh will bring with him that famed discipline and love for hidden talents for the Eagles.
However, as Goal.com writer Solace Chukwu recently noted in an interesting piece, there are no guarantees that an inexperienced tactician, that the former Borussia Dortmund player is, can be a success in the national team.
And, of course, there’s the famed strong-headedness of Oliseh. Memory is still fresh in many minds of the unsavoury circumstances in which the ex-Juventus star and some colleagues of his ended their national team playing career after an ugly fallout with the football federation and the then Minister of Sports. A fallout over bonuses and other trivialities that eventually led to a dismal showing for the Eagles in Mali 2002 Africa Cup of Nations had also cost the rebelling players their place at the World Cup held in Japan and Korea later that year.
So, in bringing in Oliseh as the Super Eagles Technical Adviser, one hopes that the Glass House’s chair Pinnick Amaju and his team have done some proper due diligence. The coach must give assurances of a clear idea of an intended playing style for the Eagles and how it can be achieved. A style that would not only be as pragmatic as possible, but one that would owe it a duty to provide entertainment in large parts to the fans and the watching audience in general.
Beyond fashioning a winning and entertaining playing style for the Eagles, there’s the important matter of how the communication lines between the new TA and the NFF as well as the players and fans must always be kept in a healthy state.
This is a sure requirement for any meaningful success of the national team to be achieved. There should be a (written or unwritten) code of conduct, in line with similar best practices in top teams, that should govern the coaches’ behaviour towards the NFF, players and fans. Gone should be the days of unnecessary public confrontations between the major players of the team.
Recently, the coach of the national under-23 team, Samson Siasia, publicly chided some invited players who had allegedly overstayed the rest period he gave them. He complained of their ‘indiscipline’ in not returning to camp on time to press men. While this can serve as a happy fodder for news-seeking journalists and also come across as an honest no-nonsense attitude of the coach, it could have the unintended effect of alienating the players and spilling over to a full-blown disagreement with the talented stars. Does anyone remember the fallout between Siasia and some star players some few years ago that arguably cost the Super Eagles qualification to the Nations Cup? Issues of discipline should be dealt with as privately as possible between the coach and his players. Oliseh will do well to heed this.
Former Super Eagles TA Clemence Westerhoof has reportedly criticised the choice of Oliseh citing his inexperience. But much would rely on the clarity of his ideas about how to approach things on and off the pitch. The NFF must, as part of the due diligence, seek the opinions of those highly placed football officials and players Oliseh has worked with (that is if they haven’t already done so) and listen carefully to what they have to say.
It’s a new era for the Eagles. A new experience with Sunday Oliseh. Those of us who love the national team, the Super Eagles, wish Oliseh all the best.
•Nelson Dafe is News Express Correspondent in Benin City. Photo shows Sunday Oliseh.
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