In Nigeria, football is the ultimate sporting religion which never run short of die hard faithful. Its no exaggeration also to say that almost every Nigerian, both the old and the young are either an active or vicarious footballer and nonetheless a coach.
To add to this short list, they’re an irrepressible chatter boxes whose opinions must be deign to almost all the time when it comes to football matters tactically, technically and analytically speaking.
They’re ever available to own the praises when the coach make changes in the course of a football match and it paid off. But when the contrary is the case they simply went dinosaur.
And they doggedly seeks to exercise the oversight functions of their self appointed role. Or office if you like.
But in no where else going forward is their hypocrisy well demonstrated than when it comes to choosing a coach for the senior national football team, the ‘SUPER EAGLES’.
Agreed, choosing a coach for Nigerian senior national football team, the SUPER EAGLES is no apple bite. This dates back to several decades now. In recent times, however, it’s one affair that has been dogged by an ever increasing controversy and nationalistic fervour. And the reasons for this are not far fetched.
The nation, likewise the all knowing crowd of supporters, want the best which comes at a higher price but can ill afford it. So they settled for the middle of the pack names. The first hurdle they always have to scale is that of choosing between local coach and foreign coach. In doing this all manner of arguments are marshalled for and against by the different school of thoughts.
When it comes to contractual matters, the foreign coaches are far more detailed and professional; and are ever willing to pursue their rights to any level if infringed upon.
The locals on the other hand can best be described as slouchy (pardon my language), sentimental and unprofessional who at best are characterised by mental softness perceptibly hesitant in pursuing their contractual rights breached.
While many argued as to the merits of hiring a local coach because as at today Nigeria also have a pool of technically sound coaches who have come through the ranks and have paid their dues. Doing so they also contend will impact on the growth and developmental drive of the local coaches who need such exposure to hone their skills and expertise. And by extension aid their competitiveness in the market place of coaching.
Another group would countered this by saying the foreign coaches is the best for the country because they are coming from well developed leagues in Europe. After all our best players are currently plying their trades in most of these leagues. They are arguably seen as been technically and tactically superior to their local counterparts.
But I’ve also noticed another group whose opposition to hiring a foreign coach stemmed from what they termed as wasting our hard earn money on the foreign coaches who just come here, collect our money and leave largely unceremoniously. This argument is both faulty and hypocritical.
Clearly from history, though, foreign coaches starting from the Brazilian, coach Otto Gloria have performed remarkably well compared to their local counterparts who have handled the same job. That is not to say that local coaches’ performances have been below per. A certain Stephen Keshi of blessed memory comes to mind as one of the few local coaches who have shone like a million star.
The argument is faulty in the sense that there’s nothing like a foreign coach just coming here to collect our hard earn money and disappearing into thin air unceremoniously. Come to think of it, what is hard about our currency juxtaposed with any of the foreign currencies out there.
Of course no one here is hoping that a foreign coach would be paid in our local currency.
Nothing, first of all, stops a coach who is dissatisfied with terms of a contract from walking away provided the clause to that effect has been fully met. Otherwise, If a coach foreign or local is found to have abandon his contract having been paid without discharging the responsibility attached shall be liable of breach of contract duly negotiated and signed and therefore commits a justiciable action.
If a football federation, however, decided not to seek redress against such a coach the fault therefore is there’s. In this light, it is wrong for any one to equate a coach who legally walked away from his contract as a common criminal or out-rightly dubious.
Hypocritical in the sense that the same Nigerian fans who see nothing wrong when players from the local league go abroad to ply their trade earning better pay and improving their skills in the process. But turn around to frown at a situation whereby managers from Europe or any where come down to African nay Nigeria to ply their trades too.
Seeing things in their right perspectives, Nigerian nay African players from time immemorial are the the ones who have benefited immensely from the inclusive financial incentives characteristic of European football that continue to lure our beast players abroad.
What managers from Europe have gained in term of exposure and monies working in African simply pales into nothingness compared to what our footballing community have gained down the years.
What’s more, foreigners ply their trades here largely at the managerial level. Whereas our players are a legion on European, American and Asian footballing circuits.
It’s sheer hypocrisy for any one to insinuate that European coaches are either overpaid for their expertise or shouldn’t be considered for appointment as coaches on the African continent.