NIGERIAN football followers woke up yesterday to the news that Super Eagles Chief Coach, Sunday Oliseh, has quit his job.
The Eagles’ Manager, who recently had a run in with his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), following his ‘unsavoury’ comments in his twitter account, quit his job through the same medium in the early hours of yesterday.
The former Super Eagles’ captain, who took over from Stephen Keshi eight months ago, hinged his decision to quit the job on “contract violations, lack of support, unpaid wages, benefits to my players, assistant coaches and myself.”
He wrote: “I feel fortunate, blessed and eternally grateful for having had the honour to play, captain and coach this great nation of ours, Nigeria.”
Before the sudden turn of events, Oliseh had declined to meet with the NFF Technical Committee on Thursday in Abuja as scheduled, saying he wanted to use the time to travel to England to meet some of the players that would likely feature for Nigeria against Egypt in the 2017 AFCON’s qualifiers in March.
According to sources at the NFF, Oliseh was paid his salary arrears and other entitlements of N20 million a few hours before he resigned.
Speaking on the development, a member of the NFF technical committee, Paul Bassey, said Oliseh decided to run away because he knew he would not be able to beat Egypt in the forthcoming African Nations Cup qualifiers next month.
“This is my personal view. As a young man, Oliseh must have seen the handwriting on the wall. There is no way he would have won the two games against Egypt because the build up is very poor.
“It is like he saw failure and so decided to take a walk instead of waiting for Nigerians to call for his head. As I said, it is my personal view.”
Also reacting to the situation, former Super Eagles’ Manager, Adegboye Onigbinde, described the development as very unfortunate.
“Sunday Oliseh’s resignation is very unfortunate. I hope the NFF will do something about it as quickly as possible,” he said.
Onigbinde called on the NFF to engage a consortium of coaches in the interim to prepare the team for next month’s matches against Egypt.
He said: “I was really shocked with the news of Oliseh’s resignation but not totally shocked because of the unfortunate trends between the employee and employer in recent weeks may be we were merely waiting for the accident to happen.
“The contents of his resignation letter are between him and the NFF though the nation’s fate and core interest are at stake.
“It is unfortunate we waited helplessly to see it happened as the hand writing has been clearly on the wall.
“Before Oliseh was employed I expressed my deep reservation though I was called names because of his antecedent.
“We should not waste further time ruing the rights and wrongs of his resignation but move fast to cover the vacuum because of the fast approaching AFCON double header against Egypt in Nigeria and Cairo.
“What I’m suggesting is to build a consortium of coaches around a tested and experienced coach who will command the respect of the players as well as the assisting coaches. I am totally against the recruitment of a foreign coach for the job, which I know some people will want to do.”
Also shocked by Oliseh’s decision to quit his job, Super Eagles’ former midfielder, Sani Kaita, said the development at this time when the country should be preparing for the AFCON qualifiers against Egypt on March 25 and 29 does not augur well for Nigeria.
“We have just a few weeks to the games against Egypt and having a new coach will make it difficult for the team,” he said.
However, Kaita advised the NFF to draft in Shuaibu Amodu to take charge of the Super Eagles, saying the federation’s current technical director has the “experience” to salvage the situation.
“Honestly they should bring in Shuaibu Amodu to lead the team because he has the experience and I am sure he will link up well with the players,” he said.
There were insinuations in some quarters yesterday that Oliseh may have throw in the towel to save his life.
After contracting a virus in one of his official assignments, Oliseh was said to have alleged that some people within ‘the system’ were using occult means to manipulate his life.
At a point, the outspoken coach was said to have confronted his staff and warned them that there were many witches and wizards who were trying to undermine the success of the Eagles.
“He warned those fond of putting their hands in their pockets before shaking him to desist or keep their handshakes as he feared they touch objects concealed in their pockets before offering to shake him”, a source said.
Also, the coach alleged that many of the people surrounding him do not believe in the success of the team as he claimed that they don’t rejoice when the Eagles score goals. “He is always scared in camp and suspicious of even members of his back room staff,” the source said.