Former Super Eagles skipper Sunday Oliseh, has said the glory days of the country’s national team will not return until order returns to the country’s football administration.
The fortunes of the Super Eagles have dipped alarmingly in the past year, with the team failing to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON. ”We have got technical problems and administrative problems – it is too much for one nation, even if you are Nigeria. At the moment it is bleak. We need to face up to the job and get organised,” Oliseh told the BBC.
Oliseh, who was part of the team that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994, the Olympic football gold medal two years later and played at the World Cup in 1994 and 1998, is worried that the country is no longer producing international class players and wonders where the next generation is going to come from.
“During the 1990’s a lot of the players were products of the Nigerian league. Those who were playing in Europe had only left two or three years before. Myself, I had moved to Europe only four years before the 1994 World Cup. It was not as if it was Europe that made us – the Nigerian league produced us;, it was so competitive then, it was viable and credible.
“The national team does not create players – you select your best players from your clubs to play in the national team. “But now our attention is more focused on the national team and we have neglected the domestic league, that is the major problem in Nigerian football.
“If we cannot get the league in order we will never have another golden generation.” The former Ajax and Juventus midfielder, who won 63 international caps, is also concerned about the issues off the field. Nigeria’s Football Federation is in disarray because of in-fighting over the presidency – ongoing battles that have led FIFA to ban the team for governmental interference in football matters.
“To fix it we have to get our house in order,” he said. “And it is not too far fetched, the solution to this. For example, if we have a Football Federation president who is doing well, let’s leave him in the job.
“It is great that Nigerian are passionate about football, that they have opinions like a coach. But in reality, everybody thinks they know football – not because they play football but because they know football. It doesn’t work like that.
“We need to let people who are technicians do the technical work. If you are going to talk about tactics or physical, let that be somebody who has that expertise.”