Nigeria’s Super Eagles’ Greatest Dilema!

super-eagles-dilema-afconTo some people in Nigeria, football is no longer a sport, but rather it is all about money, nepotism and politics.

The state of Nigerian football today is unprecedented and the worst it has ever been. Forget that we won AFCON 2013,we mean the situations of the national teams,football federation and Local League!

When as defending champions you fail to qualify for the African Cup of Nations from a weak group,your football federation is in disarray, you have a disputed coaching crew and no quality coach is interested in applying for the job, then you have a great dilemma on your hands.

What we are experiencing today was long overdue. We qualified for last year’s World Cup in a lacklustre manner in a group that was everything but competitive.


Nigeria’s Football structure is a joke and has been ridiculed for scandals unlike any other federation in the world. Officials are in and out of court instead of carrying out their duties of football development.

The federation has always been lacking and if the Super Eagles have excelled in the past it has not been thanks to the federation but in spite of it.

In the past (the 90s) we were blessed with exceptional players that were so talented and determined it masked the inadequacies of our football management. Our federation is incapable of creating conducive winning conditions that a national team needs to succeed at the highest level.

Today, with all due respect, the quality of the current crop of players is not like the golden era and all incompetencies are more glaring and it shows in the laughing stock we have become.

The system and voting procedure which the federation has put into its charter is so cloudy that no resourceful football technician will ever get elected into an influential post at the NFF or NFA.

Former resourceful Ex internationals who have put Nigeria on the world map of top football, are barred from going into football management as it is hijacked by people who never played the game professionally or were exposed to professional football management but want to manage professionals.



Most of us played football as kids; we all have an opinion or idea about football. This, however, leads some to think they are experts of the sport. This is not only wrong, but dangerous.

Should you want to be a top coach, football administrator or technician you have to study and get your certified qualifications and even then you are not guaranteed success.

Spain’s Football Federation recently banned Real Madrid’s second-team coach, Zinedine Zidane, from coaching because he doesn’t have the right qualifications.

If they can ban such a legend from coaching the second division, why should we hand over our national teams and first division club sides to people who just attended two-week seminars and pretend to be qualified?

It takes two years minimum to be a qualified Professional World licensed coach via theoretic and practical exercises.



It is a crime to air your opinion, give advice or suggestions on how to better the Super Eagles without the handlers throwing insults at you or crying out that you seek their job.

They probably do this because they got the job by back stabbing, hence they fail to understand that not everyone needs or wants to coach the Super Eagles.

When you lack “raw” quality in your team, you advocate and build success via team work, team play and a regular team to compensate for what you lack in individual quality.

The uncoordinated way in which the Super Eagles play, which triggered our recent elimination, is borne out of the fact that there was too much line-up changes. Not only does the team not play well or succeed, it is a “foreign” and unknown team to Nigerians.

The FA’s technical committee is comical to say the least. It fails to understand what its job should be in the first place. I find it inappropriate for a national coach (no matter who he is) to be asked to justify his team selection to people who have no technical education and have never played at the highest level but believe they just have a gifted knowledge of football from just watching or having played it on the street or in school.

The technical committee should be more involved with mapping out and practically making moves to improve the local league, aid youth football development, scout opponents and report to the coaches instead of spending all their time and energy on the Super Eagles and international tournaments just because that is where the money is!

Could anyone tell me what the criteria should be for being a member of the technical committee short of technical qualifications?



Why the Super Eagles have to keep shifting home match venues beats my wildest imagination and takes away the intended advantages that the notion of “home matches” are supposed to bring.

Why on earth can we not understand that we need to play matches in a proper national stadium that can host 70 000 people?

If you have never played in front of 70 000 home fans backing you as a footballer you might not understand what it means to you as a Super Eagles player. I do and, believe me, it wins some matches for you in advance.

I was fortunate to experience this phenomenon for a decade and I need not tell you the results it brought us as a nation playing at the gigantic National Stadium, Surulere, in Lagos do I?



 I wish to God there was situation where there was no free flowing unaccountable money involved with the Football Federation. That would take away the fanatical interest it attracts to some today. If only it could be a body consisting of people who want to work on football for purely sporting success and no other reason.

A new board is in place now so let’s hope and pray that they understand and take on board the people’s demands and be different.



The government has to privatise club sides but own the infrastructure they play on in return for a rental fee that is just cosmetic. This will provoke investment, creativity, competition and renew the development of the local league. That’s how it is done in Europe.

Our government should sponsor “real” technical education of our coaches as opposed to three-week coaching seminars. We can’t expect our current coaches to beat world-coaches. The World Cup was proof of that.

I expect some people won’t agree with my point of view, mainly because such progressive changes might affect their “pocket”. If things don’t change, fanatical football-loving Nigerians will continue to follow the English Premier League and other European leagues instead of our local league and national team.

Like we have always said, Nigeria is bigger and more important than anybody so let’s put our people first!

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November 23, 2014 12:42 pm Published by


  • Richard Umejei says:

    JUST A BIG THANK YOU. Appreciated big time

  • Zee says:

    Alas! The legend speaks at last, let’s all just keep hoping for the best but expect the worst as always.. Na Naija..

  • Amos says:

    Mr Sunday Oliseh, you have been able to highlight the bane of our nation’s football and also proposed possible solutions.

    These days, one cannot tell how the senior national team plays, (pattern as some call it), in fact our defenders send long balls to the attack led by not too tall men, it got us no where. Now Nigerians hage to watch other nations compete, Giants indeed.

    Like every field of human endeavour, you cannot give your best to what you’re not passionate about. However, until we realize that the only set of people who can be more ”passionate” to sail the boat of Nigeria football to the promise land are men who have spent their lives in the game.

    Anyway, I hope the people involved are reading your article or get to read it.

  • Dennis Adesanoye says:

    You have just hit the nail on the head again. I felt like weeping for Nigerian football reading your article because I know we are miles away from getting there.
    The crux of the problem is administrative. With the way it’s structured with state FA Chairmen voting for NFA chairman, they have practically locked out sound football technocrats from getting to that Glass House. That’s why Odegbami’s efforts have always ended in futile. I just wished Kodjo-Williams was allowed to rule by Amos Adamu, he would have created all those developmental strategies you outlined. I weep for #NigerianFootball.

  • Gabby says:

    It is unfortunate we found ourself in this situation. One would have thought that there would have been a pronouncement on all these issues by now from the people in authority since the misfortune of the qualifier. I look forward to the day we will have people like Odegbami and yourself involved in our football management so as to see the change we truly desire. Thank you Oliseh.

  • eche nze says:

    Couldn’t have been written or said any better. Kudos, Sunday Oliseh for really saying it as it is. We hope to one day have a team that can instill fear in opponents like you guys did in your time as players but that may never happen again. We keep reshuffling the same failed coaches and hoping they’ll make miracle once reappointed.

  • Ben Ehigiator says:

    You are very right Sunny, especially on the unecessary change of line up, we ended up not knowing who the real eagles were. Just because my brother Stephen Okechukwu wanted to be stiff to some players. For God sake, these guys are youths and should once a while express these youthfull exuberance, the likes of Van Persie, Sammie Nasri, Rooney all have attitude flaws, but they are managed by coaches.

  • Dr Faj says:

    Sunday you are spot on. Unfortunately they are making some of us who love the game now lose interest in the S.Eagles and Nigerian Football.
    The FA can no longer sack a coach since he is friends with the highest political leaders. Merit is now thrown to the dogs and the coaching crew don’t know when to bow out and don’t have the humility to take responsibility. When they are advised, you become an enemy and the best players are shut out and replaced by players who you don’t understand the criteria of their selection.
    They are taking away the only thing we celebrate as a nation especially when we travel out of the country and people can strike a conversation regarding the panache which we play with.
    Wow ! It is hoped that the Ogas at the top read your short but succinct article and can bring themselves to becoming change agents leaving out politics, nepotism, selfishness and love for filthy lucre . Let me stop here.
    As you reiterated, I love to see a filled stadium again one day and players playing with passion as you did in AFCON 2000 when you came in and played with acute Malaria against ? Senegal and we won at the last minute. God save our football

  • murphy says:

    Sunday Oliseh just expressed what I have in mind,your thoughts about playing home matches in a filled to capacity stadium reminds me of the mid 90s when the National stadium Surulere will almost be filled to the brim during ordinary training not to talk of real match days but today reverse is the case,our players are bench warmers at their various club sides,Nigeria needs total overhaul of the football administrators.

  • yapdem says:

    For such a long time, I didn’t understand why the average Nigerian football fan related with foreign clubs i.e. Premier League and la liga more than the super eagles. But now it makes sense, they don’t care with the same passion as they once did because of bad administrative and managerial decisions that have soured the fan base.

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