There is a relationship between ascribing numerical values to events, activities or exercise and the notion in football that as a coach ÔÇśyou are as good as your last result' World wide and over, football management has been as controversial as the leadership of a country and in Nigeria there is no exception. However, counting with the use of numbers in football as like other sports has made it easy to keep tabs with events and activities on the field. A peculiar and uneasy situation has been brewing in the Nigerian Football space for months now concerning the roles of the 2 most senior coaches of the Nigerian national team which has prompted me to black ink this space with the above mentioned title.
The appointment of Shaibu Amodu over the crowd's favorite Samson Siasia generated a lot of controversy(and still is); with buffs preferring the humble disciplinarian Siasia over that of the seemingly dull but intelligent Amodu. Like millions I had preferred Siasia ahead Amodu but quickly came to realize the sense in naming the latter as the coach of the Super Eagles. The sense essentially, is centered on the fact that Siasia had a pet project of taking the national under -23 team to the Olympics in Beijing (August 2008) at about the time the campaign for the 2010 world cup qualifiers started and having gone through the rigor of qualifying the lads for the Beijing games (of which he won the silver medal), it would be senseless to ask him to abandon the team for another qualifying campaign in Africa whilst a chance to show the skills of his lads beckons in Beijing. And at the same time, it is impossible to put the South Africa 2010 Qualifying rounds on hold till the end of the Olympics because we all wanted Samson Siasia as coach of the Super Eagles.
As an enthusiast of the beautiful game, and a student of the philosophy of Football, I would have thought that comments that are being championed by some people whose views ÔÇśhold water' in our football space should be checked with statistics before judging the current man at the helm of Super Eagles. ÔÇśTheir' agitation of wanting Amodu out as coach should be based on his pedigree, his conquests and ultimately, his results as coach and not sentiments. In as much as Siasia can also do a clean job as Eagles coach, I think the current debate is an unnecessary distraction for the current man on the seat, especially when he is not doing bad result wise. Infact, it is a pure 100 percent job done by Amodu. With 6 wins out of 6,
I would like to ask? What is it that Siasia can do as coach that Amodu is not doing right now with the Eagles? The result is the most important thing in the qualifiers of any tournament. Statistics of the most points garnered determines who qualifies and Amodu has given Nigeria 18 points out of 18! A whooping plus 10 goals difference, and 11 goals for; 1 against, what else do we want?
Let me flash you back to 2001, when erstwhile coach Bonfrere Jo had made a mess of the qualifying rounds of Korea/Japan 2002 with away losses to Sierra Leone, Liberia and a draw away to Ghana. Therefore, lying dangerously 3rd on the table to Sudan and Liberia, 2002 world cup seemed like a mirage. So in came Amodu, with the unenviable task of getting Nigeria to her 3rd consecutive world cup and what did we get in return?
2-0 victory against Liberia in Port- Harcourt, 4-0 thrashing of Sudan in Omdurman and 3-0 spanking of Ghana in Port-Harcourt and off to Korea/Japan 2002 we went. It must be said however, that Nigeria was done a big favor by Ghana who defeated Liberia in Monrovia on the weekend of the Sudan game. A feat that left Nigeria in pole position afterwards but we must also credit the coach who steadied the rocking boat to clinch the sole ticket. He was sacked as coach because he won bronze in the Mali 2002 AFCON amid speculations he could not tame the ÔÇświld boys' of the National team.
Prior to that even, Amodu had won the Nigerian FA cup with a relatively unknown BCC Lions of Gboko over Iwuanyanwun Nationale at 31 years of age! A year later, he brought continental club trophy to Nigeria after 13 years absence with BCC Lions victory over Club Africain of Tunisia in 1990. He would later defend the trophy to the final, the following year. With the departure of Clemens Westerhoof in 1994, Amodu was appointed as Super Eagles coach but was sacked after a friction between him and the NFA a year later. He would later be coach again in 1996 when Bonfrere Jo legged it after the Atlanta 1996 victory but was again sacked for Philippe Trousier in 1997 because he got 4 points out of possible 6 in 2 world cup qualifying games! A coach with a lot of local honors ranging from league championship to FA cups, Amodu coached Orlando Pirates of South Africa based on his understanding of the African football sceneÔÇŽ a scene that is very treacherous when qualifying for a big world event.
So why the clamor for another coach when the incumbent has won all there is to win so far in the 2010 qualifying rounds? Whilst the gentleman, Siasia has not done anything to fuel this agitation, I think it would be appropriate for him to show a form of solidarity towards Amodu by debunking the call for his head when there are absolutely no reasons for such.
I must point out to all that, it is very difficult to blend entertainment football with positive result in modern day football and the clamor for Siasia some argue is because he would re-brand the Nigerian game with entertainment again. Yes I agree with that notion, but it will be difficult for him to do so while qualifying for a major tournaments and that may actually jeopardize the qualification if not careful. If we examine Siasia's matches enroute to the Beijing games, how many can we say were entertaining? He just did the job he had to do with no loss, one draw and 3 wins.
Siasia is a good coach, a future Eagles coach, and a man who knows how to bring the best of his lads. He has them structured since the WYC in Holland 2005 with the bulk of them at Beijing 2008 but at the moment, someone is doing the job 100 percent. The least we can do is support him not distract him.
The fear in all these is that some big ÔÇśall about me' shot in the NFA(Nigerian Football Association) might jeopardize Nigeria's chance by sabotaging a game or two to the detriment of the nation just to pave way for a new coach and at the moment only Nigeria coached by Amodu have 100 percent so far in Africa. Whilst it is just the beginning of the race to 2010 world cup, it is also the beginning upon which to build on. Six wins out of six is also a continuous platform for the next phase of the 2010 WC qualifiers.