Yes,I know its been a while since you read from the stable of Halftimeng.com; we have not disappeared; but have taken a little holiday to recharge our batteries in order to serve our teaming readers better. We are working on ensuring that we continue serve you as usual the witty, precise and undiluted reading content that you have come to love from our stable.
I know that for the last one month or so that we have been away; a lot has happened in football generally; Gonzalo Higuain once again cost Argentina a major trophy, Chile won its first major football honour, USA won the Women’s World Cup, Cech signed for Arsenal, Falcao got a life line from Jose Mourinho; the Falcons were thrown out from the Women’s World Cup along with their naive coach and finally Stephen Okechukwu Keshi was sacked by the NFF.
The final major happening in the world of Football brings me where we are today as a footballing nation. Nigerians love their football, a country of close to 200 Million people, that prides itself with the fact that every single man on the street believes in its opinion when it comes to football matters; you have experts working all over the streets of Lagos and you cannot suppress their opinion. A lot has happened over the last one week or so since it became clear that the Nigerian Football Federation were held in talks with former Super Eagles Captain; Sunday Oliseh to take over the reins of guiding the Senior National side, the Super Eagles for the foreseeable future. This announcement has been met with mixed feelings and as usual Nigerians are divided, in their assessment, opinion and potential way forward. Interestingly, what seems to be the reoccurring decimal for those against his appointment has to do with his supposed lack of experience.
For me I have been one that believes that in certain areas of life; experience can be grossly overrated; instead passion, singular direction, purposeful approach coupled with the necessary guidance, support and enabling environment would drive anyone to success. I learnt this in my days in Guaranty Trust Bank; when the management of the bank focused on empowering young officers with little or no experience to start and run business units as against experienced, seasoned staff from within or outside the bank; today this is a recipe that has propelled the bank to the heights that it occupies today. As a country we need to move away from this notion that anyone without the so called cogent experience cannot perform or do the job; little wonder virtually every job vacancy out there requires people with multiple years of experience.
There are numerous examples of countries that have made appointments of this nature; don’t get me wrong, but I do realize that this is a big gamble on our part, but we must admit that we have come full circle with most of our local coaches and it was advisable for the NFF to seek for a breathe of fresh air, a new lease of life; a different outlook and perspective to the woes that trail our football. Germany; the current World Champions have led the way in making appointments of this type; Franz Beckenbauer took over the national team immediately after his playing career had ended in the US to lead the team to World Cup glory at Italia 90; Rudi Voller too was appointed years after his playing career had ended without any coaching experience; so also Jurgen Klinsmann; who led Germany to the Semi Finals of the World Cup and today a number of the revolutionary changes he made are reaping fruits today in Germany leading to their triumph in Brazil last year. We can go on and on about such appointments; Costa Rica, who after a World Cup performance that was like the stuff you see in Movies appointed ex international Paolo Wanchope; so also Senegal with Aliou Cisse; all with little or no experience.
If we do not call our best brains home to develop our football; just like in all other industries where we complain about brain drain; is it the Foreigners who are after ensuring their profit margin is assured that would refocus our football. Sunday Oliseh is not perfect that we must agree and it is imperative that he be brutally honest with himself because the task at hand is a critically tough one. This is not 1994 or 1996; he needs to forget the period when the Super Eagles were the toast of the World; focus on starting from ground zero. Sunday Oliseh talks a good game, we have watched him shine and brighten up our Television sets as a pundit with his incisive analysis; but this is not the comfortable seats of the Television studio, this is the mad murky waters of coaching a Nigerian football team that is at its worst today; his reputation would count for nothing if he is not ready to lead by example and we as football people; be it pundits, writers, journalist, administrators and the ordinary man on the street need to support him.
It is difficult enough possessing the requisite qualification to get a plum job at a European Football Club, but because of the intrigues that go along with that; coupled with the allegations of discrimination against minorities; we should be seeking to embrace our own. We embraced wholeheartedly previous members of the Class of 94 who got their chance to manage the Super Eagles; some failed, some showed they lacked the ability to handle the job; one was successful amid all the controversy. Now we are faced with a new chapter in our football, a time where patience is key and the future is available for grabs; the local league is at its best in many years, its getting better and can always improve; but we must support the reign of Sunday Ogorchukwu Oliseh with our kind words, firm, constructive criticism and our on wavering support to return the Super Eagles to its exhaulted place in World Football.