Congrats to the U23 Team as they have commenced the Olympics on a good note despite the traveling problems; Etebo has now gone ahead to score 4 goals in one game, I guess making him the leading scorer in the tournament thus far; and possibly a record has just been set by him tonight in the history of the Olympics; and while he has already started playing for Super Eagles before now, I sincerely hope our “Football Expert Analysts” would not come up with that favourite line of “he needs time to mature to play for the National Team?”
Please, a good player is a good player and can play in any team; we must stop this attitude of “losing players who are coming up at their prime” to this line of argument; players like these ones should get their place in the senior team immediately – the same way their age mates do for their own countries around the world; we need to have these young players star for the senior teams so they can secure bigger clubs away from the smaller unknown clubs they end up playing for that usually end up having their careers “go south.”
When you have players in bigger clubs, your national teams are more feared; and you are able to secure better ratings and respect when you compete; that way you can have an almost never-ending consistent pool of players to draw from; and you are not left to the mercy of always looking for newer players to rescue you on the “D-Days” – please, we have done this style of creating good U17, U20, U23 teams but less potent National Teams for far too long, we must become more patient to allowing the younger players migrate into the national teams as we have seen work for Spain, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Ghana, Ivory Coast, England, et al; this arguments that seem to suggest that “Nigeria is the only different nation that must do things in a peculiar way that tends to failure” must stop; we must challenge ourselves to be better, not consistently getting worse; all the young players would not end up playing for Super Eagles but a critical number of them must be helped in doing so; a critical number that can help rebuild the fortunes of our senior team.
I have consistently noticed that the average Nigerian is addicted “to the images of when we had the Okochas, Amokachis, Yekinis, etc in the team” – so they are constantly in an Eldorado place of “expecting that day to come back” – well, that day has always been here – they just refused to allow themselves to see that day come – because they have refused to see the players with other names grow into those roles – they keep seeking ‘matured players’ that do not exist anywhere forgetting that you actually have “to allow these younger players to mature.”
Then again, usually, the better coach to raise your national team are more likely those same coaches that raised your younger teams – that way, they together, as youth coaches can groom the same players they have raised from the age cadres into the senior teams because they are the ones that know these players the most – Amuneke, Ugbade, Amokachi, Siasia, et al have done a lot with these younger teams for the last couple of years, and I insist that they together, as a team of coaches should be left with the responsibility of building a potent national team – led by Samson Siasia!
This is how it is done in most other footballing great nations – and please, it is not true as it is often sold by our “expert football analysts” that “you must have coached all the best teams in the world before you can succeed with the senior teams” – Joachim Low of Germany joined Klinsmann as deputy in 2004 from coaching teams in Austria; along with Klinsmann, and Olivier Bierhoff [all former National team players], they were able to rebuild the playing philosophy of the national team – this combination, eventually with Low at the helm of affairs, only 2 years later has led them to successes at the Euros and eventually the World Cup trophy; and despite their Semis ouster at the Euros in 2016, he is taking them to the World Cup in 2018; what lessons can we learn from that?
There has also been this line of thought by some about “Humility” – it is a word that some Nigerians usually love to use when “they prefer mediocres to be in certain jobs” – they love to have people who you can insult; abuse; castigate; mock to stupor and would never respond – someone that you can pick his team for “once you can afford to call into a radio program” and who would change his team for you once you call for such – someone whose playing philosophy would be determined by “folks who analyze football matches at the newspaper vendor spots at the major bus stops in Nigeria” – so, these Nigerians continue on this never-ending push for “a better coach” which they ultimately cannot afford – a coach that actually “does not exist.”
I would rather have “a supposedly dogmatic or seemingly arrogant coach” that believes in his methods and has a working plan built over months or years to succeed than one that “a faked humble demenour and is a YES man” – Nigerians should let Siasia resume the job of the national team coach along with others with him that have played for Nigeria and won trophies for the nation as players and as coaches; and please, this is not about his 5-4 victory this morning; and it is not about anything that would eventually happen during this Olympics, it is about what is okay, right, and actually “affordable for Nigeria.”
Siasia is also the most qualified of all the Nigerian Coaches [we must stop using the phrase local coaches; it is actually used too often in a demeaning way] we have at the moment who has spent the most times combined around working for and with our national teams; he has built a long track record of consistently rebuilding young teams; always manages to pull out unknown names that end up doing well; and gets to always have the players working for him; and being able to have Mikel lead this Olympic team – a player he had “a famous bout” with when he was Super Eagles Coach would also show some newer level of maturity and composure for him; and it almost feels like an insult to all of our collective mentalities that “he is currently being overlooked by NFF for this job.” Who else would do a better job at this moment than this same guy who has also experienced the “dramas with the Glass House” more often than not yet has managed to his keep his cool at it?
Yes, I did make a call for Oliseh in the past, as I supported the late Keshi when others didn’t give him a chance – that’s how life goes – no one coach would stay in the job forever irrespective of their successes, we must also design a consistent pool of coaches to pick from that have understudied others on the job; that can come in to take over from others from time to time without us being forced to gallivant all over the world for months in search of “managers the nation cannot afford.”
Let’s make Nigerian Football great again.