Nigeria : Siasia Future Hangs in the Balance

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Samson Siasia

Samson Siasia

In a matter of days, Samson Siasia’s future will be discussed by the board of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) when it sits on the recommendations of the NFF technical committee on the crestfallen Super Eagles coach writes Olawale Ajimotokan

Amid sharp division and differing tones the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) which met over the future of Samson Siasia, resolved in their recommendations to the board to sack the under-fire Siasia and replace him with a new coach.

They recommended that Stephen Keshi or a foreign coach be employed immediately on a long term basis to take the national team out from the innermost cesspit of the world.

But rocking the boat does not look to be an easy decision to be made by the executive committee of Nigerian football because many factors will be at play before any decision is to be made.

Earlier in the week, Sports Minister Yusuf Suleiman, cautioned by noting that the issue of sacking Siasia is beyond the Nigerian federation.

He warned that sacking the national coach would amount to joining the band wagon, a practice which he said, had hurt the country’s football in the past.

Even officials of the NFF have openly confessed in private discussions that the disastrous outing in Abuja on October 8, when the Eagles forfeited their bragging rights to be at Equatorial Guinea and Gabon next year after a breathtaking 2-2 draw with Guinea, was a collective failing.

The on going saga has also raised questions on the resourcefulness of officials of the federation after it dawned that most of them were not at par with the interpretation of the rules which clogged the national team on the ill fated day.

It is instructive that the same board that will sit over Siasia’s manner is the same board that backed him to no end in the course of his self-inflicted injury through inflexible disciplinary style in the handling of the national team.

Even before media representatives could voice their concern on the doom the exclusion of Vincent Enyeama from team roster might spell for the country, even after he had apologized, Felix Anyasi- Agwu, a member of the board, was detailed to address the media on the sense of the punishment.

The consequence was disastrous as stand in goalkeeper, Dele Aiyenugba, allowed a shot to evade his grasp deep into stoppage time.

Siasia has been too rigid in his handling of the team such that he found a new habbit of imposing disciplinary measures to control the ego of his players beginning with the celebrated fallout with Osaze Odenwingie in June.

He also did not help his own cause by his indisposition to addressing the lack of steel and capable back-up observed with his defence line-up.

Indeed the Siasia saga is one issue that has inflamed public passion bearing in mind that Siasia’s approval rating was high when he was appointed in December 2010.

He is also the highest paid local coach in Nigeria’s history with a take home monthly package of N5million.

But those who want his scalp and are against his continual retention, are basing their argument on his failure to fulfill the terms of his contract to the effect that he must take Nigeria to the semi final of the Nations Cup next year.

His current situation has given the NFF grounds to either terminate or review his appointment considering Nigeria did not even make the Nations Cup cut!

Those baying for Siasia’s blood are kicking, and rightly too, that there should be no double standard in administration, considering that Shaibu Amodu got a bronze medal at Angola 2012 and guided Nigeria to South Africa 2010, but was still fired.

Though he made a tactical gaffe against Guinea through faulty substitution towards the end of the match, the context that warranted his taking such decision, even when it turned out to be suicidal, can be understood.

Siasia has asked for a second chance to continue with his task of rebuilding the national team, saying he has learned from his mistakes.

Those who are on his side have reasoned that Nigeria can ill afford to change the technical staff at this moment as the Eagles will be busy from February next year when the 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers begin to be followed by the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

A new coach, they reason, will not consolidate on the current gains as he will rather ask for more time to rebuild the team, in the process sacrificing quality and possibly result.

The capacity of Siasia to handle the team is also underlined by the effervescence of the national team and the youthfulness of the current group of players he has nurtured.

Under his watch, the Eagles have only lost twice in 13 matches, to Togo and Argentina and have scored 26 goals, an average of two goals per match.

 

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