Saturday, November 21, 2015 2:35 pm
Nigeria’s Super Eagles may have scaled over Swaziland for the group round of the FIFA 2018 qualifiers, but veteran footballer, John Fashanu, says he is not impressed by the current form of the team.
Fashanu spoke in an interview with sports journalists at the inauguration of the first ever Sports University in Idumuje-Ugboko, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta.
According to him, Coach Sunday Oliseh, still has the challenge of turning the team around to make it a team to beat.
Fashanu called on the national team followers to be patient with the team.
He appealed to Nigeria’s football administrators to remain focused and give the needed direction to achieve the desired result.
“Super Eagles have not impressed me at all lately. I will not say the appointment of Oliseh was bad, it is a challenge; he has not had that position before.
“But we have to step up because the country now is moving backwards in terms of football in FIFA rankings. We are at the lowest end; it has never been like that. That means somebody at the top must do something,’’ Fashanu said.
He also chided Oliseh on a statement widely credited to him in the media.
“People say when we gave Sunday the job, he said he is not the messiah. Only one job is harder than being a Super Eagles coach in this country and that is being the President.
“So, if you are not ready to be the messiah, you better step down because being a Supper Eagles Coach, it means you have the second hardest job in this country.
“You have to bear the responsibilities because nobody cares that you have never had that job before,’’ he said.
Fashanu said that football funding should be the prerogative of the people, private sector and not government anymore.
He said that the private sector would ensure accountability; noting that football is business and should be treated as such. Fashanu also decried the poor attendance at football matches in Nigeria, saying most stadiums were almost empty during crucial domestic league matches.
He said that his earlier call for the nomination and election of former Gov. Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia as the next FIFA president was because he was a successful businessman.
The ex-soccer star said that the NFF should have waded into the FIFA presidency issues by asking either Segun Odegbami or Kalu to step down and getting support for one of them.
He expressed dissatisfaction that at the end of the screening for contestants wishing to become the next FIFA president, Nigeria lost out because “NFF failed to take a critical decision’’ on the matter.
According to him, there is a lot of politics in football.
“So, if you are not a politician, you don’t have business in football. Let everybody not believe that because you have a very successful football career, you will be a good football manager. It does not work like that because some football managers in the world have never kicked the ball, yet are very successful in football management.
“But the likelihood is that you will understand the game more if you actually played it. That I played over 2,000 matches and scored over 500 goals does not mean that I was going to be a good football manager. Football coaching is about managing players,’’ Fashunu said.
He commended a former lawmaker from Delta, Mr Ned Nwoko, for his resolve to establish a Sports University in Idumuje-Ugboko, his home town.
Fashanu said Nwoko’s initiative would help to grow sports at the grassroots.
“I am here in Delta to be a part of the biggest dream come true by my brother and friend, Ned Nwoko, who had proposed to build a Sports University in the state. I am sure this is the only Sport University in the whole of Africa. I want to be a part of this history,” Fashunu said