Former Super Eagles coach, Adegboye Onigbinde has stated that the threat of FIFA ban on Nigeria over the crisis rocking the NFF is a tool some few individuals in the Glass House are using to blackmail Nigeria.
Speaking in an exclusive interview, the former CAF and FIFA technical Committee member said that if he were in position, he would have done what former President Jonathan did when he disbanded the national team after 2010 World Cup.
The then President had disbanded the Super Eagles due to the team’s inability to progress to the knock out stage of the mundial hosted in Africa for the first time, Onigbinde worried how people could hold Nigeria to hostage with FIFA ban when Nigeria is a sovereign state.
“It is not new that people are intimidating us with FIFA ban. If I were in position, I would have done what Jonathan did when he was the president. I would have written a letter to FIFA to stop playing football till at a time we feel we are ready instead of waiting for FIFA to ban us. All these are gimmicks to intimidate Nigerians.
“If we have learnt anything from Jonathan’s decision then, we would not be where we are now. And remember at that time, the then president Jonathan was suggesting that Nigeria should be away from football for two years. And I jumped at it. I said that would probably give us a chance of going back to the drawing board and fine-tuning the administration of football in the country. But that was not done, so we have not learnt anything.
“Let’s look at it this way; I am not a lawyer, but is it proper for the rules and regulations of an international body to supersede the effectiveness of our constitution and judicial system? Are we not selling our sovereignty? And not only is that, FIFA today, from the start, is being run under the rules and regulations of Switzerland. What has happened?
“When Blatter was going to be suspended, the case went as far as going to Switzerland court even US court. There are some individuals in Nigeria who are intimidating this country with the threat.
“Few months ago, Ghanaian government disbanded their football association and appointed a caretaker committee, what has been the reaction of FIFA? The chairman of the football association in Ghana was caught red-handed with illegal things. What has happened?
“We have people in Nigeria who are now blackmailing the country with the frivolous FIFA ban. It is blackmail. It is better for us to go back to the drawing board and come up with a developmental programme that will make the standard of our football stable,”
On the Super Eagles performance in Russia, the CEO of Advanced Sports Consult, attributed the unenviable ouster to individual player’s technical deficiency adding that for the team to concede four goals in a tournament of such magnitude via the same pattern, is a call for concern and places a big question mark on the technical awareness of the coaching crew.
“I don’t think any right thinking Nigerian will be happy that we did not move further. We did not just start missing that only in Russia, it started several years ago if not decades. For over 15 years, I have been fighting for us to develop our football, up till now nobody has given me a developmental progamme of the NFF on how to run or develop football in the country.
“Also, the three matches we played, there was a consistent lack of technical fitness in our players, individual tactics.
“I am not the one to assess him (Gernot Rohr). But if as I said, there was one simple individual tactics in football that saw us lose the first and the last matches. Even the one we won, it was very glaring; leaving the ball to the opponents.
The first goal against us in the first match came from the wing, and our defenders were in the 6 yard box and watched an opponent connect the ball instead of intercepting it. And when he connected the ball, it hit one of the defenders who was to intercept the ball and it resulted in an own goal.
“The four goals that we conceded came through that simple individual tactics of marking. If the coach could not see that, well, I wish him the best of luck.
“Then something happened, it was after the last match that Mikel Obi was talking about his father being kidnapped. If the coach had been close enough to his players, even if Obi did not tell him, he would have seen some worries on his face and asked him what happened. These are the qualities and responsibilities of a good coach. If he had gotten idea of the situation, probably he would not have played him in the match. I am not criticizing; I am rather making an observation because the people who employed him knew what they saw in him before they employed him.
“Even before we went to Russia, they had already started with a gimmick saying that he was preparing the team for 2022.
Speaking on the crisis rocking the football house in the country, Onigbinde stated that he stands for the right thing to be done in order to move Nigerian football forward.
“My position is fully in support of the development of Nigeria football. And if it appears that there have been no issues on ground to show that we have developed our football, then, we deserve a change in leadership. I am not necessarily saying that it should be ‘Mr A’ or ‘Mr B’, we should have a change; that is my stand.
“If I meet Giwa today, I cannot recognize him. There is nothing between us. What I am saying is that there is no relationship between us. What I am concerned with is the standard of Nigeria football and if people who have been there had not been doing it right, then of course we need a change.
“My stand is not against anybody but for the development of Nigeria football,” he concluded.