In the aftermath of the two matches between the Leone Stars and the Super Eagles, I have refused to make any comments. I have been besieged with questions about why I have remained silent. I am surprised that people are surprised that I have been unusually quiet. What more is there for me to say?
One year ago, or so, I was vehemently opposed to the renewal of the contract of Franco-German coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr. I screamed and shouted to the point where some people thought I had personal issues with the coach. My take was simple: the coach may have been good for the standards set for him by his employers, but surely he was not good enough for the vision most Nigerians have about the place of their national team in the world considering the country’s achievements, capacity, and capability. I thought I must belong to a different planet from those that elongated our collected agony by renewing Rohr’s contract, because not only was extended by several more years they now offered him a contract so tightly legally put together that the country cannot sack him for the next 3 years without breaking the vaults of Nigeria’s Central bank.
The man became so comfortable that he presented us with the worst football match in our entire history against ordinary Sierra Leone and did not even apologise. He committed unforgivable blunders in the kind of substitutions he made. His entire attitude on the bench was unserious throughout the period of Nigerians’ pain and humiliation.
So, those who renewed his contract are reaping what they sowed. Period. Unfortunately, it is every single one of 200 million Nigerians that will have to pay the price in money and in failed expectations.
It is obvious that those in charge have set small goals for him because they too have such small dreams about Nigerian football.
The match was a test about the true character of Gernot Rohr and his competency as a football tactician. Once again he failed woefully.
I still cannot fathom the special job he is doing as manager of the Super Eagles that any number of Nigerians with better qualifications, but underrated by their own, cannot do better. If this is what he has to offer the country after 4 years, with the humongous wages he is being paid, then there is something wrong with who we are.
The matches against Sierra Leone are bereft of any tactical depth and understanding. There is no acceptable excuse for the result of the match in Benin City. It was such a bad advertisement for Nigerian football and Nigerian players, particularly those of them that are Diaspora born and bred. It is making us dream of home-based players and domestic Nigerian football again.
My wonder is that after such a match any Nigerian would still be defending the coach. We had sacked several coaches and even administrators in the past for a fraction of what we all saw in the two matches. A Nigerian coach had even been sacked after winning the biggest football trophy in Africa. Yet, this man is treated with kid gloves, shoved in our faces in the manner of colonial enslavement and Nigerians are made to swallow the bitter pill, pain, humiliation and shame. Gernot Rohr has been given too much long rope.
He may be considered a good coach using some people’s standards, but by mine, I join with Aiyegbeni Yakubu, our celebrated football hero, who was quoted recently as saying that the German may be the worst coach in the history of Nigerian football.
Thank God, I am not in any position to influence anything. In the days of yore, a tsunami in football administration would have happened by now. Thank God we are in strange times. Coaches are overprotected.
I would have sworn that with the evidence of his capability laid bare by Nigeria’s failure at two critical moments during the World Cup in Russia and the AFCON in Egypt, the country will not be led by the nose again with the narrow sentiments of a few administrators and sportswriters that stand to benefit from sustaining the vestiges of a colonial mentality that embraces everything White and condemns everything, Black.
The rather ‘stupid’ question I have been asking myself in the solitude of my silence is this: will the world end if Gernot Rohr is sacked?
‘Abeg, make I remain silent o, and siddon look the drama of Nigerian sports administrators wey dey celebrate nonsense and some people dey clap hand’