My Recent Near Death Experience As Coach Of Nigeria

I all of a sudden felt dizziness, light headedness, headache and could barely stand. The Super eagles doctor was clueless as to what was happening to me.

A day after the Late Stephen Keshi was relieved of his duties as coach of the Super eagles of Nigeria, I got a phone call from the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) offering me the job which I immediately rejected. The call lasted just 2 minutes!

I was to further refuse the offer twice again in the next 2 days that followed as they kept on calling. Their argument: With the new president Muhammadu Buhari in place, the Nff was ready for a change and was abandoning their old ‘Shady’ ways!

unveilingIt took the intervention of a phone call from a highly Ranked federal government official for me to bulge. His point was simple “your country is in dire need of your services and the NFF promised me a change, put your terms in writing and if they do not accept it, let them go elsewhere”.

Which is what I did and we all eventually signed a working agreement. Thus began the adventure to coach the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Sometimes I wish I stood my grounds and refused their offer, but I guess the urge to help my country was just too much to ignore.

 

Vincent Enyeama, John Obi Mikel & Victor Moses

My first official act was to call the team Captain Vincent Enyeama (Lille OSC, France) to rub minds and fix an appointment to see him. Same act was accorded to John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses of Chelsea. All except for Obi Mikel picked up my call and Mikel even ignored my eventual sms.

Spent a lovely day at Lille with Enyeama, took him to lunch and shared my Philosophy with him and he seemed genuinely inspired to work together but kept on talking about pending retirement which we agreed he would shelve aside till after AFCON 2017 at least.

Went to London to see Mikel & Moses but could only see Moses as Mikel did not reply my calls & we could not get a hold of him.

Moses came 2 ½ half hours late to our meeting but none the less we had a productive talk in company of my assistant, Jean Francois Losciuto.

3 weeks to my first official game in charge of the Super Eagles, vs Tanzania, and the invitations were sent out to the clubs, 2 weeks to the game Victor Moses opted out citing fear of contracting an injury whilst playing for Nigeria in favour of his club via a written letter to the Team manager of the super eagles.

Most players reported to camp on Monday prior to the Tanzania game, Vincent Enyeama was supposed to fly in Tuesday Morning, only for me to be surprisingly informed via sms that he was skipping the game because he lost the mum some weeks earlier.

I called him up and made an agreement with him, as I needed not only my captain and such a good goalkeeper for my opening game, that if he came for the game on Friday I would release him to go to the village after the game and skip the friendly game versus Niger scheduled for 3 days later after the Tanzania encounter, which he agreed.

The team was scheduled to fly out on Thursday. On Wednesday afternoon Enyeama called to say he was not coming for the game, definitively.

I was shocked as we had an agreement, we needed his experience, leadership and I was aware he was yet to miss a training session for his club side talk less of a league game.

As faith will have it, with a brand new team that trained only for two days we were able to come out of the Tanzania game with a point and my newly discovered and talented goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme of Wolverhampton was the man of the match. A 2-0 resounding victory over Niger 3 days later gave a successful look to the first camping but cast questions on if we could count on the three above named players to help us proceed. I chose to build alternatives!

Click to Watch.. Obi Mikel Shuns Oliseh

 

Kidnapping Attempt!

On the day I was unveiled, the very vocal president of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick boasted to the world that he was going to pay me 6 months’ salary in advance, we were never ever going to be owed as he had procured sponsorship from Zenith bank, that he knows I am the African Guardiola etc. declarations that not only added unnecessary pressure on us but made us hated by certain quarters as ‘prima Donnas’. Far from smart at all!

We now know that, that was a ploy to make the world falsely believe that I was giving all the tools to succeed whilst intending to eventually starve us of tools to succeed in reality to have a scape goat and employ his dream foreign coach for obvious reasons, as was tried failingly recently!

This false claim was repeated often by the Nff and Mr Pinnick often in the following months whilst I was not only u paid but so were my assistants too.

In October 2015, with the belief that I had millions from the Nff, kidnappers attacked a family member of mine’s home in Lagos, but thanks to God the intended victim was not at home.

Shaken at the news, I called Mr Amaju to inform him of my displeasure of his false public declarations in my regard and there and then the seed of Resignation started to grow in me. Is this worth my peaceful family suffering?

 

Unpaid Wages, FIFA and World Football Regulations

I signed my contract as Chief Coach Of the super Eagles in July 2015 and was paid in August for July and August but did no longer get any payments till January 2016.My assistants were worse off as they received just a month’s pay as at January 2016.The Nff and its allies in public claimed otherwise!

Whilst this was the case, president Pinnick still kept on telling the world I was paid in advance several months.

All equipment’s I used to coach, even as down to simple cones and tactics boards, I had to buy them all myself as the super eagles had none available!

In February 2016 I wrote an official demand letter to the Nff asking for payment of my owed wages otherwise I would act as the international law demands.

The International law states that if after serving your employer as a coach a demand letter of payment  and they refuse to pay, you are still entitled to the total sum of the remaining totality of your contract should you resign!

As at today by my reckoning, I am still being owed wages and should it come up to CAS (The international Court of Arbitration of Sports) the NFF will be forced to pay me the sum of the contractual remaining 28 months’ salary in addition to the owed wages. I leave you to calculate how much that is. In my place what would you do today?

Click to see Bank Statement proof of Unpaid Wages When I resigned as Coach

 

Super Eagles’ Assistant Coach Jean François Losciuto’s near death experience.

jean-francois-pics

After the first round of CHAN training preparations in Abuja Nigeria, the team landed Pretoria for the final stage of the CHAN preparations.

2 days later my assistant coach Jean Francois Losciuto collapsed in the lobby of the hotel and was rushed to the hospital. The doctors refused to operate unless payment was paid in advance.

The Nff had failed to inform the Embassy of Nigeria in South Africa of our presence hence we were all on our own and jean François was facing probable death.

I therefore had to put up a deposit payment that allowed the hotel to admit and stabilize him before operation. Eventually he was operated on and what was dug out from his stomach was the scariest experience we ever saw till then. Here it is above………… the metal was 4.8centimeters long!

Had he not been timely operated on he would have died and how that 4.8 centimeters piece of metal got into his stomach was a mystery to the doctors and still is to us till date, but the most painful part of it was barely was this made public knowledge to our country we were serving by our so called sports editors.

Imagine near death and the people you serve are not intentionally well informed by the press? Scary no?

 

The NFF ‘s Infamous Technical committee

A day to the Unveiling, the Nff’s technical committee called me for a meeting, headed by Dr Felix Ayansi of Enyimba. To our shocking surprise we were so aggressively received, attacked and Mr Paul Bassey almost blew his top when I refused their demand to participate in team selection of the super eagles.

I could see Bassey still held the grudge from the 90’s: He categorically stated a dislike that my inclusion into the super eagles cost Friday Ekpo, a tribesman his place in the super Eagles. I believe that’s a grievance he should have towards the then coach Clemence Westerhoff, no?

In all fairness Dr Felix Ayansi was so calm, matured and relatively positive with his management of affairs.

All through my almost 1 year in charge, there was no help received from this committee and all technical information we asked of via telephone, emails were all ignored. We never saw them.

This committee’s composition for a technical committee is the most awkward one I have ever seen, ever!

Being myself a member of the technical sector of the world’s football governing body,FIFA, I found it quite strange to see people whose knowledge of the game are limited to what they learnt as spectators and not from first-hand experience as ex-players of the super Eagles or graduates of football educations.

The 3 ex super Eagles players members of this group were ones who during our playing days were either the most hated egoistic trouble making team mate we ever had, or ones who were not leaders or regulars of the team.

Had it being with the likes of Edema Foludu for example, we could understand instead of colleagues who have problems reading or pronouncing Chelsea for example!

How they now have to charter the technical progression of a national team like Nigeria I don’t know.

I believe if you ever had any doubt as to regards how disjointed this group is, I believe their role in the now worldwide famous humiliation of Nigeria with the Coach Paul Le Guen saga, has put them to rest!

 

Poor Super Eagles Players Welfare

In my entire 23 years of involvement with the super eagles, never has the working conditions and player welfare been as bad as it was when I was in charge. The team stood out like beggars!

For a team like the legendary super eagles, our players were not furnished with as little as bathroom slippers from NIKE. The training equipment’s had to be bought from local stores in Aba and Lagos.

Football shoes were not available and on the camp in South Africa during CHAN, I had to buy 2 football shoes for my players.

Even the barest minimum like food was lacking. Feeding was unsuitable to put it lightly and had to pay for the feeding of the team. Little did I know that not only will I not be reimbursed, it would be contested by the Nff and I would be criticized for it?

Click To See The Receipt Of The Feeding Bill Of Super Eagles.

The Nigerian ambassador to South Africa was rightfully incensed as to why the Nff failed to notify him of the team’s arrival to south Africa and be left to fender in such a sorry state!

I had organized via my South African friends the world standard performance centre in Pretoria for the super eagles and the on the only thing the Nff was left to do was the accommodation and transportation, and those were the areas we saw hell!

 

Problems From the Nigerian Press. (This applies to just some & not all pressmen)

If you want to be praised in the Nigerian press as a coach you need to be shady, accept the blackmail from certain sectors or get attacked non-stop.

Surprising as it may sound, we do have some good talented and honest journalist, it is however unfortunate that from my experience of over 23 years  involvement with the super Eagles, we have perhaps some of the most “Shady” sports editors in the history of the world football.

I believe the President Buhari is aware of this take a look at this quote from the sitting sports minister Solomon Dalung : “Sports Journalists Are Part of the Corruption in NFF”…

“Nigeria’s sports minister, Solomon Dalung, blames the crisis in Nigerian football on corrupt journalists whom he said collect bribes from the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF”

Two days after I started training in Abuja, I was approached with an illicit proposal to trade exclusive inside and preferential information for in return positive write-ups or get slaughtered in the press. I obviously refused and till date that popular website praises a national embezzler of public funds than Oliseh Sunday.

During our Belgian tour, Vincent Enyeama’s insubordination at a team meeting was not accepted by me and I asked him to leave the camp and go home.

Some of the Nigerian press reported that I ordered security in the Belgian hotel camp to strip him naked, drag him out of the hotel on the floor. Even some daytime TV.

The most humiliating experience for the press was the response they got from the Swaziland Coach, Coach Harris Bulugna, whom they pestered to criticize the Super Eagles after defeat, only for the man to raise up his hart for the immense work I had put up on the team that totally broke their game plans down. You should have seen how foolish our press were made to look, pitiful.

Since I obviously refused to be blackmailed and play along it was nonstop criticisms and at the height of it I put out this video on YouTube now called the famous super eagles coach Rant on critics.

Click here to watch

 

CHAN Experience

The camping and tournament proper of CHAN lasted more or less 5 weeks, first stage in Nigeria, to South Africa (Pretoria) and then finally, Rwanda. All through this period not only were the coaches, players and staff unpaid and uncared for but we were completely abandoned. In a 2 star hotel, poor nutrition, room states and dangerous conditions.

When as a coach I tried to enquire for a change we were instructed not to share this with the public as the Nff was cash strapped.

That would have been acceptable if the whole federation were not at the same period on a paid holiday trip of over 60 officials for over a week to expensive London hotels whilst we barely had food to eat on a national mission 6,000 kilometres away from home.

The training equipment’s were all lacking, 2 sets of jerseys and though Nff is sponsored by NIKE, the players barely had bathroom slippers to walk around in but also no football shoes.

I had no choice seeing the sorry state of these poor boys but to arrange for feeding at my own expense and buy football shoes for some of the players whose shoes became damaged.

The accommodating conditions chosen by the federation were worse in Rwanda and though we were leading the Group heading off to the Final group game versus Guinea, the boys awaited some form of aid financially from the Nff to ease up but all promises were never honoured.

The disappointing Phone call from the Nff President Pinnick just hours to the game that he would be coming over with the player’s remunerations only when the team got to the finals broke down the morale of the boys and obviously we lost the game and faced elimination.

Till date these boys are yet to be paid their owed allowances in full 6 months later.

It should be noted that Nigeria was the only team at this tournament without leading federation members present. Only Mr Chris Green of the technical committee stayed behind but he lodged in a 500 dollars a night 5 star hotel and we barely ever saw him!

 

    NFF Crisis

Having played, captained and now coached the super Eagles I could read the Nff easily .The crisis that now exists today I saw it coming way back as in November 2015 when we camped and beat Swaziland to qualify into the world cup qualifiers group stage in port Harcourt.

The signs were everywhere to see but funny enough many, even the so called experienced pappy ex coaches and analysts were blind to it.

The infighting and imminent power struggle was so evident that my players, coaches were asking some questions.

The sacking of Tijani Babangida as my assistant was because he was a friend to Mr Giwa the presumptuous NFF president from the other faction nothing else but that. Just weeks to an important AFCON qualifier.

The moment Ayansi was replaced as head of the infamous technical committee by Mr Chris >Green, we all knew that disaster and chaos was on the way.

Chris Green is a man who late Stephen Keshi almost beat up just midway into the 2013 AFCON adventure in South Africa and eventually was going around all of Rwanda telling all who cared to listen that he won the 2013 AFCON for Nigeria and the 2014 world cup qualification and not Keshi.

How? I leave you to guess as I don’t remember him ever scoring one goal or being a player or coach at these events. The implications of his statements were what any sane human being would distant themselves from. So we avoided him like the flu!

 

My Near Death Experience As Coach

One day whilst coaching the super Eagles in Abuja stadium prior to the Burkina Faso game I all of a sudden felt dizziness, light headedness, headache and could barely stand. I managed to finish the session before calling on the doctor into my room who was clueless to what was happening.

From then on it was sleepless nights, loss of appetite, high blood pressure and before I knew it I started losing weight.

After several visits to doctors abroad nothing was found though the doctors found anomalies they couldn’t pin point the actual illness to.

Prior to the away trip to Burkina Faso for the final CHAN qualifier game in Port Harcourt after lunch I was struck with the worst feat of this illness again. Could not walk, talk, dizzy and felt like I was going to pass out.

I quickly demanded to be rushed to the airport and with the evening flight travelled to Germany to see specialists .After 2 days of nonstop tests I was diagnosed to have narrowly escaped a total collapse in Nigeria.

For weeks I was bed ridden, lost 7 kilos and could barely walk 5 metres without sitting down. My family was petrified and all feared the worst. One thing was for sure though: had I not taking that evening flight to Germany when I did, there was a strong possibility of a far worse outcome. Thank God for his mercies.

All through the last 4 months of my tenure as coach I was far from my complete healthy self and coached the team and stayed in my bedroom. Often on my bed or sofa.

Imagine how betrayed and pained I must have felt with the lack of support at these life threatening times from my employers the NFF and the shady pressmen who made it a duty not to report the gravity of the illnesses that befell me and my assistant to the Nigerian people and kind of  like wished us the worst!

On the day I put in my resignation letter I was still far from my best health wise and I guess it is better staying alive than getting embroiled with these people who have no interest of Nigeria at heart.

In my entire life, I have never felt so deeply unfairly treated, betrayed, wickedness, ingratitude and fear of my dear life as was the case when I coached the super Eagles of Nigeria. All because I refused to be corrupt and elected to do things the rightful, honest and professional way for the benefit of my country in need.

Thank God I came out of this alive with hindsight!

 

Cristiano Ronaldo Doesn’t Care About These Haters

Reading this one might be wrongly tempted to think Ronaldo was lucky just to be at the finals, but that is far from the truth. Ronaldo scored nine goals………

ronaldo-does-not-care-newIf there is one thing that is certain about Cristiano Ronaldo it is that he doesn’t leave people indifferent.

You either love or loathe the man. Many love him because of his great football skills, while others, especially the ladies admire his ripped abdomen and good looks. Others support him because they are Real Madrid, Manchester United or Portuguese fans.

Those who loathe him mostly argue that he is arrogant, self-centered, cares too much about his looks or are fans of Rival club Barcelona or, most specifically, fans of his eternal rival, Lionel Messi.

Some simply don’t like him out of pure jealousy and envy.

However, recent events from a football point of view are set to probably change once and for all Ronaldo’s place in history and how the calendar year 2016 ends when the accolades are handed out.

It has been a football season to remember for Ronaldo and, in my opinion, one that has divine interventions written all over it for the talented Portuguese superstar.

Ronaldo has scored over 50 goals for his Real Madrid in the recently concluded season. It was a season that started horribly for Real. Manager Raphael Benitez was relieved of his duties amidst rumours of a rift with Ronaldo and poor results and was replaced by Zinedine Zidane.

With a relatively easier draw at the Uefa Champions League, Ronaldo scored the decisive penalty that brought the 11th title to Madrid in Milan.

The just concluded European Championships could not have started in a more awkward manner for Ronaldo. First Portugal drew their opener against Iceland and then he was caught up in a media frenzy over comments deemed out of place towards the Iceland team’s style of play.

Portugal’s presence in the second round was only due to the new changed format that allowed a third-placed best loser to qualify out of the group stages, otherwise it would have been an early exit for Ronaldo and his team as they only earned three points fro three games in a group that included Hungary, Iceland and Austria.

Come final’s day, Portugal were still standing to face hosts and favourites France. Led by Ronaldo the Portuguese did not win any previous games in the competition within the 90 minutes window — they either won in extra time or penalties. However, in the end they won the title by beating France 1-0.

Reading this one might be wrongly tempted to think Ronaldo was lucky just to be at the finals, but that is far from the truth. Ronaldo scored nine goals to get his team to the finals and equaled the record of most goals scored by one player at the championships.

One accolade that was missing from the shelves of the two extra-terrestrials of today’s football, Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, were titles with their national teams and people often used that as an argument to put them down in comparison with other greats like Maradona, Zidane, Pele, Beckenbauer, Matthäus etc.

By leading Portugal to this unexpected Euro 2016 triumph Ronaldo just became the greatest player to ever come out of Portugal — achieving a title win with the national team that eluded other Portuguese greats like Eusebio and Luis Figo.

With eternal rival Messi now retired from the Argentine national team, after an unfortunate penalty miss that cost his country the title at the 2016 Copa America, it looks very likely that the 2016 The Fifa Ballon d’Or winner is, which will give some further bragging rights to Ronaldo’s die-hard fans.

The 2016 European Championships final game revealed to the world a side of Ronaldo that that is not often talked about: his dedication to the cause, hunger for victory, patriotism, his attitude as a team player and, as we found out after he was stretchered off the pitch, his coaching skills.

With these latest developments I believe Ronaldo finally realises that you cannot be loved by everyone and with these newly attained heights of sporting immortality I think he really just doesn’t care anymore if some loathe him.

Let’s wish him well.

How Wales Is Spearheading An European Football Revolution

These teams are trying to change the soccer landscape of Europe by playing to their strengths and…..

wales

When Iceland, a nation of 350,000 citizens stopped the Netherlands from qualifying to the ongoing European Championships, many thought it was due to the drop in form of the Dutch and not the fact that Iceland were just now a better side.

On Friday, the erstwhile unthinkable has struck the European Championships as Wales, a nation of three million people, have qualified for their first ever semifinals in a major tournament.

They eliminated Belgium (Europe’s No 1 ranked team and second on the Fifa rankings) by scoring a remarkable 3-1 victory.

2016 is the first time that Wales have ever qualified to the European Championships. Their team is not only made up of first division and second division players. but in Hal Robson-Kanu they have a player who is a free agent (clubless) at the moment.

Wales topped their group stage that features England, Russia and Slovakia, by beating Russia 3-0, Slovakia 2-1 and losing to England 1-2. The loss to England was the only game where they did not play their game.

Iceland sent the English packing in a convincing fashion with a 2-1 victory in the group of 16 stages and all of a sudden it has struck the world that these type of victories are no longer just a flash in the pan. Indeed, a pattern seems to have set in, but the question is why?

A look at the figures shed more light on the magnitude of what is happening here and its ramifications.

England, with a population of 53 million people, has the most lucrative league in the world (the Premier League) are regarded as the ‘parents of football’.

Belgium, meanwhile, with a population of 11 million people, is littered with talented players and is Europe’s number 1 team.

However, all these figures did not stop them from being outclassed by so-called smaller soccer nations.

In contrast to their victims, Wales and Iceland have played to their strengths and based their game plans more on team work than individual exploits. World-class players like Gareth Bale of Wales have sacrificed themselves to the service and the cause of the team.

Iceland regroup quickly when not in possession of the ball and literally “outmuscle” their opponents in their defensive third. Tehy base their success on quick transitions from defence to attack in a varied manner that is sometimes through the middle but also via the flanks that keep their opponents guessing.

Wales are also way better than many give them credit for, because unlike most United Kingdom nations and Welsh teams of the past, this current Welsh group of players has the capacity to pass the ball around in the team and with players like Allen, Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale and Kanu this is very smart as these players can play. Kudos to the coach Chris Coleman for the gameplan.

These teams are trying to change the soccer landscape of Europe by playing to their strengths and really showing their opponents that they will take the fight to them and not just be swept aside.

However, many argue that these smaller teams are able to compete this way at this time of the year because they have relatively fresher players.

The argument is that they have players who play in relatively smaller clubs and leagues who play less matches in the season compared to the players from the big teams and leagues who have had to play over 70 matches in the same period. They argue that these players are burnt out at the end of the football season and are in desperate need of a break.

I admit there could be some truth in this, but Welsh fans will tell you that these eliminated teams also could have better mapped out their game plans and preparations to accommodate their own situations. And the question is how come the Germans and the Italians are still going strong and making a big impact on the Championships?

These smaller nations are definitely making the best of the new format of the Euros that allows for 24 teams as opposed to the erstwhile 16-team format that existed in the past.

This new setting gives them a better chance to be present at the Championships stage proper and make an impact.

By qualifying to the semifinals of the European Championships in an emphatic manner over Belgium, Wales have probably started the revolution to dethrone Europe’s presumptive top countries. Results like these might spill over into the World cup qualifiers to Russia scheduled to get under way soon.

This time around, Iceland cost Holland a place in the European Championships. Who will be next European giant that could miss out on the World Cup due to Wales or another smaller nation? Only time will tell.

End Of The U.K ? “Brexit” Pain Everywhere.

A member of the governing board of the European Central Bank has said the UK may lose its “EU passporting”.

brexit

blanca-smallWell, three days in, and it seems the bankers are now paying the price. Moody’s credit rating agency has warned that it could downgrade Britain’s rating. It’s on “negative watch”, which is a prelude to a cut.

The agency is waiting to see how the politicians react. The longer the uncertainty continues about the conditions of Britain’s exit, the more it will hit business and consumer confidence, and the more growth will be hit.

From the continent (Europe) and the other 27 members, the message is clear: Allez-y. Get on with it.

They don’t want uncertainty hanging over them. They seem ready to teach Britain a lesson in negotiating which will serve as a warning to others who think they might withdraw from the disciplines and costs of membership of their club.

In London, however, the Prime Minister is going by October. Ahead of then, he lacks authority to do much talking to EU partners. The Tories who led the Leave campaign aren’t in a rush either.

If the markets continue to judge their delay as costly to growth, the signal might be clear that they need to respond to the pacier approach of the EU leaders.

While Moody’s has issued its warning, Fitch is likely to do so on Monday, and Standard & Poor some time late on Monday at the earliest. The chief ratings officer of S&P told the Financial Times the UK’s triple-A rating is now untenable.

Meanwhile, the repercussions are becoming clearer as European politicians have their say. The Dutch chairman of the Eurozone finance ministers group has said there will be a “price” to be paid, in less access to EU markets for UK financial service companies. He thinks Amsterdam and Frankfurt will pick up business. Financiers in Paris will also want to do so.

A member of the governing board of the European Central Bank has said the UK may lose its “EU passporting”.

That is the ability to operate in any member country without having to set up separate business entities in each one. That’s a significant saving.

It’s suggested by this ECB bigwig that it would be different if Britain joins the European Economic Area (EEA), along with non-EU Norway. But the condition for that is that the UK accepts the EEA rules. And that means open border migration.

Influencing these rules has been one reason for having someone at the top table. Lord Jonathan Hill has been the UK appointee as a member of the commission (he’s a former adviser to David Cameron). His portfolio has been financial services and, unofficially, managing relations around the referendum.

As a commissioner, he is not there to bat for Britain. That’s what the Chancellor or other Whitehall ministers do in the Council of Ministers. But being in the Commission is an opportunity to keep a watching brief for issues that might be, let’s say, problematic for one’s sponsoring government.

For that reason, the financial services brief was a useful one for a Brit to have, just as the trade commissioner’s post was for Lord Peter Mandelson.

But Lord Hill has quit, a Latvian is now overseeing the further integration of the financial services market, and will be influential in deciding what happens about that “passporting”.

One of Scotland’s MEPs, Ian Duncan, a Conservative, has also resigned from a committee chairman’s post in Brussels where he was able to influence further developments in the Emissions Trading Scheme. While he stays on the committee, for now, he says the convener should be someone who will still be in post for the rest of the European Parliament’s term.

The banks on Friday took some of the biggest hits to their share price, following the Brexit vote. Lloyds Banking Group was down 21%, RBS and Barclays by 18%. Standard Life was down 17% and Aberdeen Asset Management by 11%.

That may delight those who felt the financiers and fat cats failed to pay a penalty for the crash and subsequent austerity.

But with it comes a warning from UBS Wealth Management, among others, that the second half of this year is likely to see no growth at all in the UK economy.

It says the fall in sterling will import inflation, and with stagnation, that puts the UK into “stagflation”. That’s not a good place to be.

It warns that interest rates look likely to face a further cut to zero, and if that still doesn’t work, there may be a need for further money creation, or quantitative easing.

In addition, they warn that lower growth means bigger deficit problems than expected. With bigger deficits, there would be higher debt, and with lower credit rating, the cost of servicing that debt would go up.

And so it goes on. Financiers may sustain a wallop to their wallets, if economic slowdown means their bonuses are slashed. But it seems unlikely that they’ll suffer the worst of the consequences.

Inflation alone takes a higher toll on the poorest. According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, a 2.3% increase in consumer price inflation can be expected to raise costs for the poorest 10% of households by 3.3%, and the most affluent 10% by 1.6%.

And that’s before the impact on investment, jobs, pensions and public services. In other words, the highest price is paid by those who already feel abandoned and left behind.

 

…………….By Blanca Gomez of the Cerestv News Network Spain

How Amodu Shuaibu Made History Against All Odds.

What a record – 17 matches 10 wins 6 draws 1 loss – I think Nigerians owe much to this young man. It will be a great disservice if Amodu does not lead Nigeria to the World Cup……

 

facebook-writer.gif-bgMY PIECE ON AMODU SHAIBU IN 2009 By Ben-Osy Okoh

The Fieldmarshal on 14/11/09

 

  AMODU SHAIBU – HERO OR VILLAIN?

Thirty-four (34) coaches have managed the Nigerian super eagles. Twenty four (24) of them were foreign coaches; while ten (10) were Nigerians.

  1.   John Finch (England: 1949)
  2.   Dan Anyiam (Nigeria: 1955, 1959, 1962, 1964-1965)
  3.   Les Courtier (England: 1956-1957, 1960)
  4.   Eric Jones (England: 1958)
  5.   Moshe Beth-Halevi (Israel: 1960-1961)
  6. George Vadar (Hungary: 1961-1963)
  7. Jesse Carver (England: 1963)
  8. Jorge Penna (Brazil: 1963-1964, 1971-1974)
  9. Josef Ember (Hungary: 1965-1968)
  10. Sabino Barinaga (Spain: 1968-1969)
  11. Heinz Marotzke (Germany: 1970-71, 1974)
  12. Peter ‘Eto’ Amaechina (Nigeria: 1973)
  13. Othman Calder (Germany: 1974)
  14. Buba Mihailovic (Yugoslavia: 1975)
  15. Jelisavcic Tihomir-Tiko (Yugoslavia: 1975-1978)
  16. Carl O’Dwyer (England: 1979)
  17. Otto Gloria (Brazil: 1979-1982)
  18. Gottlieb Goeller (Germany: 1981)
  19. Adegboye Onigbinde (Nigeria: 1983-1984, 2002)
  20. Chris Udemezue (Nigeria: 1984-1985)
  21. Patrick Ekeji (Nigeria: 1985)
  22. Manfred Hoener (Germany: 1987-1989)
  23. Paul Hamilton (Nigeria: 1987, 1989)
  24. Clemens Westerhorf (Netherlands:1989-1994)
  25. Amodu Shaibu(Nigeria: 1994-1995, 1999, 2001-2002, 2008-)
  26. Carlos Alberto Torres (Brazil: 1995)
  27. Johannes Bonfrere (Netherlands: 1995-1996, 1999-2001)
  28. Philippe Troussier (France: 1997)
  29. Monday Sinclair (Nigeria: 1997)
  30. Bora Milutinovic (Serbia: 1998)
  31. Thijs Libregts (Netherlands: 1998-1999)
  32. Christian Chukwu (Nigeria: 2002-2005)
  33. Austin Eguavoen(Nigeria: 2005-2006)
  34. Berti Vogts (Germany: 2007-2008)

Of all these coaches, only Amodu Shaibu has managed the national team on four different occasions.

It is on record that out of these 24 expatriates, only Clemens Westerhoff and Philippe Troussier qualified Nigeria for the World Cup (Philippe Troussier resigned after he qualified Nigeria for France 98).

It is also on record that Amodu Shaibu is the only coach that has qualified Nigeria for World Cup on two different occasions – 2002 and 2010. The big question is this – why do Nigerians hate Amodu? Is Amodu a mediocre coach or what?

 

Let’s look at the antecedents of the man Amodu:

As coach of BCC lions of Gboko between 1989 and 1991, he won the FA Cup in 1989 and the African Cup Winners Cup in 1990.

As coach of El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri between 1991 and 1992, he won the FA Cup in 1991 and 1992 respectively.

He returned to BCC lions in 1993, and won the FA Cup the same year. In 1994, he won the Premier League and the FA Cup- making him the most successful indigenous coach at that time.

In 1994 he was appointed the coach of the National Team for the first time (being indisputably the best indigenous coach in Nigeria then) following the departure of Westerhoff after the 1994 World Cup. He was in charge of the team between 1994 and 1995.

Have we forgotten the Wembley showdown between Nigeria and England in 1994? It was David Platt’s header that separated the score line, but we cannot deny the fact that Amodu showed a class of his stuff in that encounter.

In 1995, he led Nigeria to the confederation cup in Saudi Arabia (then the King Fahd cup). He played 3 matches won 1 drew 1 and lost one on penalties.

In the same year he was shown the door and Bonfrere Jo was hired. What was his offence? He was not a foreign coach. He proved book makers wrong when he was appointed as the Head Coach of Orlando Pirates of South Africa the same year – indeed a prophet has no honour in his land.

In 1999 Amodu was appointed Coach of the National Team for the second time. He called shots for few months and was replaced just because Nigeria never believed a black man can qualify us for the World Cup. What was his offence? a black.

The same 1999, Bonfrere Jo was again appointed as the Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles. His mandate was to qualify Nigeria for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan. He almost wrecked our World Cup dream (when he lost to Liberia and Sudan) and abandoned the team when he saw that all hope was lost. Virtually all Nigerians had lost hope in the qualification. Amodu once again was appointed (assisted by Stephen Okechukwu Keshi) to tinker the team.

Amodu won all the remaining matches, and Nigeria topped the group (with 16 point) at the expense of former leaders Liberia (15 points). Have we forgotten the three- goal thriller against Ghana – oh what a myopic memory we have. What the so called foreign coaches could not do Amodu did in style.

He led Nigeria to Mali 2002 and was denied the dream of coaching Nigeria in the world cup because we lost in the semi-final to Senegal (on penalties after extra time), and eventually finished 3rd. Crucify him, crucify him, everybody shouted. Oh Amodu, what did he do? What happened in Korea/Japan 2002 after the sack of Amodu? Your answer is as good as mine.

Again, in 2008, “Mr. save our super eagles” was appointed to manage our National Team after the much publicized Berti Vogt turned our dream into a quagmire and became a shadow of what many Nigerians expected. Did Amodu really prove his mettle? Let’s look at his record since he took charge.

 

2010 World Cup Qualifiers – First Stage

  • Nigeria 2 v 0 south Africa, 1 June 2008
  • Sierra Leone 0 v 1 Nigeria, 7 June 2008
  • Equatorial Guinea 0 v 1 Nigeria, 15 June 2008
  • Nigeria 2 v 0 equatorial guinea, 21 June 2008
  • South Africa 0 v 1 Nigeria, 5 September 2008
  • Nigeria 4 v 1 Sierra Leone, 11 October 2008

 

Fellow Nigerians, have our memories become so blurred that we cannot remember what we said at this stage of Amodu’s career. It was hosanna, hosanna, and hosanna. Six matches six wins, conceded only one (own) goal. A record or streak that has never been set by any Super Eagles coach both foreign and indigenous.

Let’s proceed.

 

2010 World Cup Qualifiers – Second Stage

Mozambique 0 v 0 Nigeria, 29 march 2009

After this match, the same people who shouted hosanna, hosanna, hosanna, began to shout foreign coach, foreign coach, foreign coach. Amodu begged for a time, but what did Nigerians answer him? You know the answer. But let’s look at the reaction of Nigerians at this stage of the qualification on the road to USA 94. After an impressive run at the first stage, Nigeria was drawn in the same group at the second stage with Algeria and Cote d’ Ivoire. In the first game played against the elephants of Cote d’ Ivoire at the Félix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium on 2 May 1993 (Austin Jay Jay Okocha’s first cap for the National Team) , the Eagles were humbled by 2-1 courtesy of a brace from Abdullahi Traore. Nobody, I mean nobody called for the sack of Westerhoff. Why? Because he was a white.

 

Why do Africans promote imbecility at the expense of statesmanship? Why do we place a higher premium on foreigners at the expense of our fellow blacks? Oh Africa, my Africa, when shall thy children come out of mediocrity and inferiority and face the reality? What is the reality? Obama example. Fellow Nigerians “ihe anyi na-acho n’uko elu, di n’uko ala” – that is wetin dey for Sokoto, dey for shokoto. The earlier we know that and stop witch-hunting ourselves, the better for us. May be Amodu should paint himself white. That definitely can work. Let’s proceed.

Nigeria 3 v 0 Kenya, 7 June 2009

Tunisia 0 v 0 Nigeria, 20 June 2009

After this match, the pressure became so intense that the one-time robust looking Amodu suddenly became a description of slender specimen.

Then came the bombshell-

Nigeria 2 v 2 Tunisia, 6 September 2009

Oh what a day? Nigeria was silent. In Abuja, rampaging youths throng the Nicon Luxury Hotel Abuja, where the Eagles were lodged, chanting war songs – give us the head of Amodu some chanted; crucify him, crucify him, others proclaimed. The same people that shouted hosanna, hosanna, hosanna – what a twist? The NFF secretly began to make contacts for a foreign coach, Rotimi Amaechi (Governor of Rivers State) swore that Amodu would never see South Africa even if Nigeria qualified. Austin Okocha was drafted into the Technical Department. Oh what a helpless Amodu. Oh Amodu what did you do to them?

 

Nigeria 1 v 0 Mozambique, 11 October 2009

The stadium was almost empty because Nigerian were not happy with Amodu. After the match, many Nigerians had different views about the position of Amodu. Over 70% said he should be sacked after the last match whether we did qualify or not. Some said he should work under a foreign coach. Others still asked for his head.

I could recall I sang this beautiful number for some of my friends who called for Amodu’s removal as I took them back to memory lane.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed

When you are discouraged thinking all is lost

Count your many blessings name them one by one

And it will surprise you what Amodu has done.

When I sang this song I was very convinced that come 14 November 2009, a new song would be released.

Meanwhile the ongoing FIFA U17 World Cup is characterized by unprecedented low turnout of spectators even with free tickets available for grab. Abuja is worst, the stadium was virtually empty in all the matches even on days that our darling Golden Eaglets played. Reason? Abuja Stadium reminds them of the man they hated so much. Back to Amodu

The D-Day: 14 November 2009

 

Tunisia was on top of Group B with 11 points while Nigeria was second with 9 points. Tunisia needed only a draw against Mozambique to qualify (Head to Head Rule) while Nigeria needed a maximum point against Kenya, but can only qualify Tunisia blow their chances. That was exactly the way it ended.

Kenya 2 v 3 Nigeria

Mozambique 1 v 0 Tunisia

I watched with surprise as people trooped the streets of Abuja celebrating the qualification of the Eagles. Ironically they chanted Up Eagles, Up Nigeria, but Amodu’s name was silent. Nigerian radio stations were agog with victory songs like Nelly Uchendu’s song – Every Match Eagles Must Win. The youths and children gathered in circles gyrating and celebrating, but no one mentioned Amodu’s name.

Success they say has many fathers, but failure is an orphan, but in Amodu’s case success suddenly became an orphan. If no one mentioned Amodu’s name in a moment of success, what would have happened if Nigeria did not qualify. CHAI!

 

Just because “Mr Fix It” has fixed it again, many have started calling Brila FM and other radio stations asking for where they could get the ticket to watch the Final of the U17 World between Nigeria and Switzerland tomorrow 15th November 2009. While wishing Coach John Obuh and his boys goodluck, my job tomorrow is very simple, just to look at the shameless faces of those critics.

Who is talking now? Will it be another Maradona’s garbage story as big Larry of Brila FM once prophesied? We shall see. Amodu is yet to talk, but my song shall ever be-

Song no 2

When we walk with Shaibu in the light of his word,

What a glory he sheds on our way!

While we do his good will he abides with us still,

And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

To be happy in Shaibu, but to trust and obey.

 

Song no 3

What a friend we have in Shaibu,

All our fears and grieves to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Every world cup dream to him!

O what peace we often forfeit,

O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Every world cup dream to him.

 

Many songs to write, but let’s proceed.

Let’s look at other matches played by Coach Amodu

 

Friendly matches

  • Nigeria 1 – 1 Austria, 27 May 2008
  • Nigeria 0 – 1 Colombia, 19 November 2008
  • Nigeria 0 – 0 Jamaica, 11 February 2009
  • Nigeria 1 – 1 Republic of Ireland, 29 may 2009
  • Nigeria 1 – 0 France, 2 June 2009

 

What a record – 17 matches 10 wins 6 draws 1 loss – I think Nigerians owe much to this young man. It will be a great disservice if Amodu does not lead Nigeria to the World Cup. Yes, it will be the height of ingratitude and injustice. Some say it is luck, and my question is this- is good result a function of technical competence or luck? If we say it is luck, then what about the laurels at BCC and El-Kanemi? What about Korea/Japan 2002 qualification (a feat our much hallowed Bonfrere Jo failed to achieve)? Oh Amodu, what has he done? Can we now say that what Van Gaal’s Ajax did against Milan in 1995, was luck, that what Sir Alex’ boys did against Bayern Munich in 1999 was luck, that what my friend Mourinho did in 2003 and 2004 were lucks, that Damman miracle was luck, that Japan 93 was luck, that Tunisia 94 was luck? When did football become a function of luck? Oh, what luck? Oh Amodu don suffer.

It will also be recalled that Amodu was the first coach to qualify Nigeria for the Beach World Cup. What happened after the qualification? He was dropped. Does it mean that Amodu is only good for qualification and not the competition? Or is it a curse? God forbid. But come to think of it. What of his records in the local scene? What of his records in the National Team (I don’t think Amodu has lost more than 5 matches in all his four rescue missions as a National Team Coach)? It can only take a genius to equal that record.

It is barely a year that he took charge and he has done what the likes of Berti Vogt and others could not do. If we could have patience with Westerhoff for five years, why call for Amodu’s sack.? Have we forgotten that Westerhoff failed to qualify us for Italian 90, led us to second place in Algiers 90, third place in Senegal 92, before he was able to build the team that is today considered as one of the best the nation has ever had? Have we forgotten that it took Alex Ferguson over four years before he could win any trophy for Manchester United. What happened after? You know better than I do. What of Arsene Wenger, Luis Aragones of Spain, Dunga of brazil etc- they all had their difficult times, but they were given time to bring the transformation they needed.

Which foreign coach can build a new team now other than what Amodu has? Which Nigerian coach has ever been paid up to half of what the foreign coaches were paid or given the same treatment as their foreign colleague? Yet amidst this sardonic disposition towards them, some of them like Amodu, Siasia, Brodericks, Amuh, etc have proved that if indigenous coaches are given the tool, (as Lincoln said- give me the tool and I shall finish the work) the work shall be completed. I have never been and will never be an advocate of a foreign coach. It’s time we started appreciating what we have. Foreign coaches are not better than our local coaches. Just give them the tools and see if the job will not be done.

Now, what is your view about Amodu? Is Amodu a hero or a villain? Who is the problem of Nigerian football – Amodu, NFF, or the players?

 

As for me and my entire house hold, Amodu is a twenty one century hero.

 

Amodu may the Lord bless and keep you. May He lift up the light of His countenance to you and be gracious unto you. May He lift up His face to you and give you peace. You have indeed fought a good fight; all the days of your life your song shall ever be- “veni vidi veci (I came, I saw, I conquered)”.

 

Before I sign out, I would like to say a big congratulations to these great African warriors- The Super Eagles of Nigeria, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, the Black Stars of Ghana, and the Elephants of Cote D’ Ivoire for booking a place in the World Cup. Congratulations in advance to the Pharaohs of Egypt and the Desert Warriors of Algeria as we await the result of their playoff. The Bafana Bafana of South Africa is not left out. Unarguably, these are the best teams in Africa. I have no doubt that an African team will break the semi final jinx in 2010.

Long live Amodu Shaibu

Long live the Super Eagles of Nigeria

Long live Africa

 

Yours compatriot

Ben-Osy Okoh

The Fieldmarshal

14/11/09

Why Keshi’s Death Should Be His Beginning

In 1984, Stephen Keshi,was banned by the Nigerian Football Association from all football activity in Nigeria.
Though extremely harsh, it was the catalyst that forced Keshi into Exile and eventually…

sunny-&-keshiIn 1984, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, then captain of the New Nigerian Bank football Club Benin, was banned by the Nigerian Football Association from all football activity in Nigeria.

Though extremely harsh, it was the catalyst that forced Keshi into Exile and eventually via Ivory Coast, to Belgium to become Nigeria’s first professional player in Europe.

Though this was the beginning of his lifelong alterations with the Nigerian football governing body, it made him a pioneer and the catalyst to Nigeria’s world football ascension.

Many followed suit, myself eventually and the polishing the exodus to Europe brought us all propelled us to the fifth FIFA ranked Nation in the world by 1994 with Keshi as our Captain and leader. A feat still unsurpassed by any African Nation!

Last Tuesday I was awakened by a phone call I still till date wish was just a nightmare:  announcing the sudden death of our leader, captain, brother and friend Stephen Keshi at a tender age of 54 in Benin City, Nigeria.

Things have never been the same since then as pain, memories and questions keep on flooding my mind nonstop.

Sadly many in my great nation Nigeria are not renowned for celebrating our legends, heroes or successful sporting sons when they are alive talk less of when they die, but rather fanatically try to tear them down.

They are quickly forgotten and that further makes this great man’s death further disturbing!

From the legendary 22 players of the 1994 golden team/era , of which I am one , Keshi becomes the 5th one we have lost in recent years and just some weeks ago was the 4th anniversary of the death of another late legend in person of Rashidi Yekini and it went almost uncelebrated. We also lost Uche Okafor, Thompson Oliha and Wilfred Agbonivbare

Keshi as a player was strong, a good passer of the ball, strong in aerial balls, initiator of attacks from behind, scored goals, motivated the team and most of all always wanted to win, even at training sessions and an AFCON winner with Nigeria, 1994.

As a coach Keshi was extremely successful: AFCON 2013 winner, qualified to the world cup 3 times, twice with Nigeria and once with Togo, though regrettably they allowed him only lead his team to the world cup once with Nigeria 2014.

I fear though today many, most of whom Keshi had lifelong disagreements with based on their dubious management of funds destined for his captained or coached team amongst others are now singing praises of his name, will soon forget to acknowledge future anniversaries of his passing away in the future amongst others. Sad!

Personally I was privileged to have played for years with Keshi in the super Eagles of Nigeria, eventually as his captain and he my coach with the Super Eagles and it was always an exceptional relationship maybe because we came from the same state, or because I was a hard working defensive midfielder in front of him, or because his lovely and unfortunately deceased wife liked me like a junior brother or simply just because most probably, he had a great heart. I guess I will never know.

Keshi taught me a lot for which I will be eternally grateful, some by his incessant advices and direction but most of all by just watching and observing him at work.

A very direct and vocal person who 3 years ago publicly chastised me for questioning his team line up at the confederations cup in Brazil as a coach but quick to be grandiose about it sometime later when we spoke on the telephone as a typical senior brother.

Nigeria has lost one of its greatest sons and ambassador worldwide but should it want to produce more in the future it has to immortalize Keshi and not just verbally but monumentally. That way the upcoming ones have something to work up to.

Keshi is bodily gone, but in our hearts, “Skippo” will forever live on. God bless you Steve and thanks for everything though you never liked me saying it, Thanks big Bro we miss you already!

European Warfare kicks off, Are You ready?

Here’s a look at some of the participating countries and their chances of claiming the spoils. Get ready, it’s just days to kickoff.

euro-kicks-off

Many in Europe believe that the Uefa European Championship is the most difficult continental championship to win, even more difficult than the Fifa World Cup itself.

Who will succeed reigning champions Spain as European champions of EURO 2016 in France?

Will it be one of the favorites — holders Spain, hosts France, defending world champions Germany — or will the Italians surprise the world? Or will this be the year England finally win their first major footballing trophy since 1966?

This year’s showpiece is a special European championships for several reasons, one significant reason being that for the first time its format has changed to accommodate 24 countries from its traditional 16-team format.

It also has the peculiarity of not featuring the Netherlands, (current the third best world team from the last World Cup) as they failed to qualify and welcoming relatively unknown Albania, who will appear for the very first time, instead.

Here’s a look at some of the participating countries and their chances of claiming the spoils.

BELGIUM

Here is a team that is blessed with so much talented, young and experienced players and when it comes to logistics have no problems as they share geographical borders with host nation France.

Accompanying fan support is definitely assured in thousands, but the Belgians have the crippling problem of star players having struggled this season at club level.

Match fitness, confidence and automatism could do them in, not to talk of internal problems rumored to be ailing the team’s core framework.

Eden Hazard and Marouane Fellaini, among others, have had seasons to forget with their club sides, while captain and defensive rock Vincent Kompany is out of the competition due to injuries. However, in Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne they have a star player on whose current form and talent they can build on.

One should also not forget Belgium is the world’s second-best ranked team behind Argentina and Europe’s number 1 ranked team at the moment.

FRANCE

The French have so many reasons to believe that this could be the year that they once again rule Europe.They seem to win it every 16 years! The first European championship won by the French was in 1984 in Spain, led by Michel Platini.

Sixteen years later, the French, led by current coach Didier Deschamp, were once again crowned champions of Europe in Belgium and the Netherlands.

However, if the performance by the French in their last friendly preparation game against Cameroon is anything to go by, it is a wake-up call to the French that on this form they are far from championship material. How they can get back together will be decisive as they have a very talented team and have the ability and manpower to go all the way.

ENGLAND

The English were the only team that won all of its qualifying games — an impressive 10 wins out of 10.

This could (falsely) make them believe they are title material but in reality the caliber of the competition during the qualifiers wasn’t a sure barometer, and the seasonal form of the influential players at the club level, I feel, does not garner much optimism.

GERMANY

The defending world champions have not been at their very best ever since they conquered the world in Brazil 2014. They have been rudely criticised at home and have had some unusual losses, but still managed to qualify like they always do.

The Germans are at their best when the world counts them out and their club sides have been impressive at the continental championships with local players playing major roles.

I feel we should expect a difficult tournament for the Germans, especially at the beginning, but don’t be surprised to see them in the semifinals and/or finals. They could definitely lift the title.

ITALY

Considering that most of their key players ply their trade in the local league, a league that is not as competitive in Europe and at international level as it used to be, I fear we should not be expecting too many great things from Italy.

PORTUGAL

When you have Cristiano Ronaldo in your team, arguably the best player in the world and a player who just won the Champions League and scoring once again over 50 individual goals in the season, you definitely must fancy your chances of being European champions.

I honestly believe if the Portuguese can build a well-knitted defensive network around Ronaldo and couple it with incessant support and runs around him, they have a very good shot at the title.

SPAIN

When defending champions Spain dominated the world from 2008 till 2012, they had most of their influential players coming from two teams: Real Madrid and Barcelona. In fact, Barcelona players made up 60 percent of the starting lineup and were simultaneously unbeatable at club and national team level.

Today these two teams, accompanied by the impressive Sevilla, have practically obliterated all other European club sides at the continental level, but the decisive actors to these achievements are not Spanish internationals as Barcelona and Real Madrid are now dominated by influential foreign players.

However, with a coach like Vicente Del Bosque in charge don’t be surprised if they get to the finals and do the unthinkable: win a third consecutive European Championship!

Get ready, it’s just days to kickoff.

 

Bayern Munich Wins It All, But Why Does It Still Feel Like Failure?

Personally I feel you never know how great or bad your wife is until she leaves you!

Guardiola-leavesYesterday as I watched live, Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola beat Borussia Dortmund to win the German Cup in Berlin, its 7th Title in the coach’s 3 year’s reign (totaling 21 titles in an 8 years coaching career) I could not help but marvel at the negative phenomenon that plagues our sport of football at times.

How on earth does a coach who after winning repeatedly all that is winnable in Germany in the last three years, be sent off as an unwanted child, a brilliant but unloved CEO and to some extreme individuals, be called a Failure?

That is the plight that is being faced by Pep Guardiola in Germany amongst the Munich fans, as he leaves Legendary Bayern Munich for Manchester City.

In his 3 year reign at Bayern Munich, He won 3 league titles (1 every season) 2 German FA cups,1 UEFA Super Cup and 1 World FIFA Club cup, and also reached the semifinals of the Prestigious and lucrative Champions league on every occasion,

On the 16th of January 2013 Josep Guardiola was announced by Bayern Munich as its next Coach. This was to replace the then 68 year old retiring Jupp Heynckes. He had earlier coached Barcelona.

Coming Off a self-imposed 1 year sabbatical after Barcelona,Where in a 4 years reign he won 14 titles!  He was therefore the most sought after coach after the Barcelona spell in the world.

On his announcement as Coach, many were initially euphoric only to become a bit shaken as the coach he was about to replace, Jupp Heynckes, went on to do the unthinkable in his last six months in charge : win everything including the Elusive Champions league. Bayern Munich saw the indigenous Heynckes off with a Treble (National league, FA cup and the UEFA Champions league)

It is spring 2016, Guardiola is leaving Munich. Manchester City have named Guardiola as their next coach from the 2016-2017 season, to replace Manuel Pellegrini .Many in the German society have tagged him a failure and his reign has been accompanied by criticisms, disagreements and sometimes feuds with some club officials, notably Legendary Franz Beckenbauer. How can this possible did I hear you say?

Bayern Munich is the absolute top team in Germany, coming second is not an option and coaches have been known to be fired here even after winning the double (League and Cup) e.g. Felix Maggath. This is because in the Bayern culture it is not just enough to win but it has to be done in a defining manner!

This was one major reason why the recruitment of Guardiola in 2013 was in line to the clubs working philosophy. This Is a coach who had repeatedly won everything in club football with Barcelona playing in a spectacular manner, has personality enough to walk away from Barcelona to go on a sabbatical,speaks English,Spanish and German to the delight of the Germans so it was supposed to be a match made in heaven.

With Guardiola, Munich not only won games, but in contrast to the Heynckes era they dominated the opponents from beginning to end of every game, even when they lost!

They won the German Bundesliga on each occasion weeks and once months before it ended and averaged 65% ball possession against all opponents and the fierce opposition from title rivals Bvb Dortmund under Jurgen Kloppe or later Thomas Turchel was finally tamed!

Bayern tactically were simply extraordinary, switching formations from 4-3-3 to 3-5-2 and sometimes 2-4-4 and the opponents still struggled against them.

Each year they got to the Semifinals of the Champions league losing to Eventual winners, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Now Athletico Madrid but playing some breath taking football.

With all these most clubs in the world would build a statue for the departing coach but not Bayern Munich!

Guardiola is considered to not have been a full success because he never won the UEFA champions league title!

Some fans feel though he loved the team and did his job in an exceptional manner he was not really in love with the fans or the club itself.

Many criticized his possession obsessed football because they felt it became stale, boring and was one dimensional to the point where then club president, Franz Beckenbauer, publicly criticized lack of shooting at goal as against wanting to pass the ball into the net to score.

Personally I feel you never know how great or bad your wife is until she leaves you!

In as much as there is some credibility in the criticisms meted out to Guardiola, modesty and contention in life is a virtue that keeps the very best at the top. Once you lose it, you start to fall!

Calling a coach a failure for not winning the champions league in 3 years whilst raking in every year as much as over 50 million Euros prize money, from champions league semifinals berths is rather hash and unfair.

A coach who went all the way to learn and speak German fluently in 4 months to adapt to the German lifestyle particularly the Munich fans cannot be fully termed as not loving the club?

Carlo Ancellotti, ex Real Madrid, Chelsea, AC Milan and Juventus coach has been employed to replace the departing Guardiola as coach of Munich.

Though Guardiola’s legacy will be summarized in Munich as not a complete success by some, only time will tell though if he will be missed like a departed good housewife!

 

 

Oliseh’s Super Eagles Philosophy,By An Unusual Source

What Oliseh preached throughout his stint to his players in training and during matches was possession.
In the 12 matches that the team played under Oliseh – they conceded just five goals and these were in four matches;

Premium Times

March 22, 2016 By Jide Alaka Of Premium Times

Three traits of Oliseh’s Eagles Siasia, others must retain

Oliseh-Eagles-nigeria-vs-niger

March 22, 2016 Jide Alaka

In the 12 matches that the Super Eagles played under the departed Sunday Oliseh, the three-time Nations Cup winners won six, drew four and lost two, scoring 16 goals and conceding five.

Though his leadership of the team lasted less than one year, he sowed some seeds that should be watered by Samson Siasia and whomsoever is named the substantive manager of the team by the Nigeria Football Federation in the days to come.

Promotion of Young Players

In 2015, FIFA acknowledged that the Super Eagles fielded the youngest national team in the world and that was because Oliseh ensured that his team had a preponderance of young players who had most often times never played for the Eagles. This is a tack that must continue under Siasia, the Super Eagles must never be turned into a Redemption Camp for ageing and tiring players or those that need a lift to get back into the mainstream. Football is played more by the young, athletic and skillful players, who have a name to make.

Stinginess at the back

In the 12 matches that the team played under Oliseh – they conceded just five goals and these were in four matches; two goals against Congo DR in a friendly and single goals against Niger, Tunisia and Guinea. While it is a well-known fact that Siasia likes to set up his side in offensive mode, he must also realize that if the Eagles do not concede, then they have a better chance of getting one over Egypt.

Controlling the play

What Oliseh preached throughout his stint to his players in training and during matches was possession. At the Africa Nations Championship in Rwanda against Tunisia and Guinea, his team was bereft of possession and lost the lead against Tunisia and lost against Guinea. Without the ball, most teams are unable to hurt the possession. Against Egypt, who will try to play on the counter, the Eagles will be best advised to play good possession football. They should be patient and seek better possession in the last third to hurt the Pharaohs.

The Oliseh regime is definitely over but there are characteristics that have been sown that Siasia can water to fruition.

 

This Article was written by Jid Alaka Of Premium Times and to see the Original article click Here