- West Africa
Nigeria’s Super Eagles’ two year suspension could be pure bluff
President Goodluck has withdrawn his national side from international football
Third in Angola for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria will not be able to better this result. After a largely disappointing World Cup in South Africa, the Super Eagles have been suspended by the country’s president, Jonathan Goodluck.
The Nigerian national team has been withdrawn from all football for the next two years by the country’s president, Jonathan Goodluck.
This follows the Super Eagles’ first round elimination at the 2010 World Cup, where they failed to win a single match. With only one draw (against South Korea) and two defeats (against Greece and Argentina), Lars Lagerback’s men failed to reach the aim set by the NFF; an unrealistic semi-final place.
The president’s decision is based on the finding of a presidential taskforce set up to investigate the failures of the team. The taskforce’s chairman, Rotimi Amechi, confirmed the move – which is yet to be officially conveyed to FIFA – saying it was to ensure "the embarrassing outcome of the World Cup in South Africa won’t repeat itself".
"We had all sorts of maladministration. We found out that the problem with Nigerian football is structural. The nation has been punished enough. People have had heart attacks because of Nigerian football", he added.
Outgoing Super Eagles Media Officer Idah Peterside says the team needs to be overhauled. "I would like to see the team overhauled and players brought in who will respect the jersey they put on. For me, only 10 players from this World Cup team should be brought back," he told KickOffNigeria.com.
Even more drastically, Peterside suggested that Hoffenheim forward Chinedu Obasi should be made the new captain. "He is smart and coolheaded and it will bring a drastic change to the team." Peterside did not stop there, he also advised Sani Lulu to clear out most of the people working at the federation. "A lot of people have no business there and they should be cleared out."
FIFA, the world football governing body, for the time being, has not reacted to the news. And many sports analysts say Mr. Goodluck’s announcement remains a bluff if FIFA is not officially notified. Early this week, Sepp Blatter, FIFA president sent a "clear and clean message" to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, warning him and his government not to interfere in the running of the national team.
The FIFA boss said he would not condone "political interference, even if it is at presidential level" after Mr. Sarkozy called for change within the French Football Federation. "Definitely, I can tell you that political interference will be dealt with by FIFA notwithstanding what kind of interference and what is the size of the country," Sepp Blatter said.
Togo’s political interference in the country’s football federation, after the dreadful Cabinda shooting and subsequent departure of the national team, prompted the same decision from FIFA, early this year as they African Federation suspended the Sparrows for a two year period (later cancelled).