I will not sell Nigeria for any amount, Oliseh assures Super Eagles’ fans
• NFF: We have set no target for coach
• ‘We can win 2022 World Cup.’
Super Eagles’ Coach, Sunday Oliseh, has assured Nigerians that he would toe the path of honour while serving them as Super Eagles Head Coach, saying no amount of money would compel him to compromise his duty to the country.
Oliseh, who pleaded for time to steady the floundering national team, said coaching the Super Eagles was an enormous task that required total commitment from every stakeholder, including supporters of the team.
Speaking during an interactive session with sports editors and managers at the offices of the Lagos state Football Association, Onikan, Lagos, Oliseh said he decided to accept the job of coaching the senior national team to contribute his quota to the development of the game, adding that although the task was enormous, he had no reason to fail. “I played my first game as a professional football right here at the Onikan Stadium.
I schooled at Methodist Boys High School just around the corner. I also got the opportunity to go abroad while playing for Julius Berger of Lagos, so I have a big stake in the success of this country. “Although, I hold a Belgian passport, all over the world I am known as Sunday Oliseh of Nigeria, not Belgium.”
The former Super Eagles captain said he had everything to gain if the national team regained its status as one of the best teams in the world, adding that the process of re-engineering the team has begun. “I have been combing the world for good Nigerian players because I don’t have a base to work on.
I have found out that in the last one year, 62 players played for the Super Eagles and that makes it more difficult to build a team. There has not been any consistency. It is a difficult task, but I am ready to work hard to succeed.” Oliseh assured all Nigerians that he would only pick the best available players in the Super Eagles of his dream, adding, “ I don’t have to compromise on the selection of players against the interest of the country.”
He said: “If I invite a player because some people want to sell him for 100,000 euros, the manager will get seven per cent or at most 10 per cent of that figure.
Then I will get 10 per cent of what the manager gets. That means I am selling my country for that 10 per cent that I will get from the manager. “But if I worked hard to lead the team to success, I can get much more than that from grateful Nigerians.
The reward from Nigerians will be more honourable than what I will get if I compromised my position.” He pleaded for support from Nigerians in the task of rebuilding the Eagles, saying football has changed from what it used to be ion the 1990s. “If we play the way we did in 1996, we will be beaten by not less than 5-0.
That is because the team of 1990s had individually talented players who did not play as a team. The best thing for us is to learn to play team football. “That is what the Germans and the Spanish have mastered. They play as a unit such that every player knows what is expected of him in a game.
We are lucky that we have naturally talented and strong players, who can become unbeatable when we learn to play as a unit,” he said. Earlier, while introducing the new coach at the parley, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, described Oliseh as a product of the federation’s careful search for a quality national team coach.
He revealed that the NFF’s technical committee was scouting for a quality foreign coach when the federation’s second vice president, Shehu Dikko, drew their attention to the credentials of Oliseh, who was then a member of the FIFA Technical Study Group. “We checked him out and found out that he had all we were looking for and more.
The board accepted him unanimously. “Even when I was in Canada some FIFA officials came to congratulate me, saying for once we have got it right.
I can tell you that he has done a couple of things within one month to convince everybody that he is ready to work. I once sat with him in a match and everything he told me would happen in that game came to pass.
Such is his knowledge of the game that we believe we have finally found that right person to lead our national team. But we must all support him to succeed. “Nigerians must help us to drive this vision.
Age is on Oliseh’s side; he is articulate and ready to work for success.” Pinnick disclosed that although the NFF has not set any target for Oliseh, the federation was working towards doing well at the 2018 World Cup scheduled for Qatar. “We have won the Nations Cup and all the major African and international youth competitions, so our target is the 2018 World Cup.
One way of achieving this is by ensuring that the coach has all he needs to succeed. “As we speak, we have already paid for the flight that will take the Super Eagles to the Nations Cup qualifier in Tanzania. We are also working on other logistics. We want to ensure that we are prepared for success.”
Also speaking on the NFF’s vision for Nigerian football, the federation’s First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, said the body was building from the bottom to ensure that the country has a team that could win the Russia 2022 World Cup.
The Lagos Football Association Chairman revealed that the federation has not set any target for Oliseh, adding that the “idea is to build a team that can stand the test of time.”
According to Akinwunmi, “we are working on the youth teams to ensure they are ready for the challenges ahead. Those in the teams now will be at the average of 29 years in 2022, which is the ideal age for a competition like the World Cup. “We want to develop the game first before going for honours.
That is why we are not bothered by our performance at such competitions as CHAN, which is a developmental championship. Winning it is not a measurement for success.”