â€˜Appointment of new coach good for Eaglesâ€™
Behold, the new coaches of the Super Eaglesâ€¦ Jean
Francois Losciuto (left), Salisu Yusuf (assistant
coaches); Head Coach, Sunday Oliseh and Goalkeepersâ€™
Trainer, Alloy Agu, at the presentation of Oliseh as the
Nigeriaâ€™s new head coach in Abujaâ€¦.yesterday.
The first graduate to play for the national team formerly
known as the Green Eagles, Dr. John Oganwu, is of the
view that the change of guard in the Super Eaglesâ€™
coaching crew from Stephen Okechukwu Keshi to Sunday
Ogorchukwu Oliseh is one of the best things to happen to
the countryâ€™s football in many years.
Keshi, a former captain of the Super Eagles, was relieved
of his job earlier this month by the Nigeria Football
Federation (NFF). Keshi hails from Illa, Oshimili North
Local Government area of Delta State. He is replaced by a
fellow Deltan, Oliseh, who hails from Abavo in Ika South
area of the state.
As Oliseh was being unveiled in Abuja yesterday, some
skeptics, including former international, Emeka Ezeugo,
were crying blue murder and pointing accusing fingers at
the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, saying he used â€˜ethnic
sentimentâ€™ in the employment of a coach for the senior
national team. But Oganwu, a native of Illa (home of
Stephen Keshi), sees nothing wrong in the choice of Oliseh
as replacement for Keshi.
â€œIt is sad that some Nigerians still put sentiment in
everything they do, and this is not good for our sports,â€
Oganwu told The Guardian in a telephone chat yesterday.
â€œThe NFF President (Pinnick) is an Itsekiri man, while
Keshi and Oliseh are from the Igbo speaking area.
In my playing days in the Green Eagles, Bendel State had
seven regular players featuring in the national team, and
we did so well. There is nothing wrong in the choice of
Oliseh because I see him as an academician, who is
coming to inject a new pattern of coaching into the
system. I want Nigerians to understand that the gospel of
quota system does not carry any weight in sports,â€
Oliseh (born 14 September 1974) captained the Super
Eagles at the 2000 edition of the African Nations Cup,
which was co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria. The Eagles
lost on penalty to the Lions of Cameroun in Lagos.
A physical, technical defensive midfielder, Oliseh played
54 international matches and scored two goals for
Nigeria. He was part of the all-conquering Dream Team
that won the Olympic gold medal at Atlanta â€˜96.
He was also a member of the Super Eaglesâ€™ squad to USA
â€˜94 and France â€™98 World Cups. He is mostly remembered
for scoring the winning goal in the group stage match
against Spain at France â€™98, as Nigeria prevailed 3â€“2.
A throw-in deep in the Spanish half was headed clear by a
defender, but a lurking Oliseh ran and fired an explosive
shot from 25 yards that took Spanish goalkeeper, Andoni
Zubizarreta, completely by surprise.
He went on to captain the Super Eagles to a bronze medal
finish at the Mali 2002 African Nations, but Oliseh was
omitted from Korea/Japan World Cup squad later that
year for disciplinary reasons, after leading what the late
Sports Minister, Ishaya Mark Aku, perceived as rebellion
against government, over his demand for higher wages
for the players.
Oliseh retired from international football in June 2002
after missing out on World Cup selection.
In March 2004, Oliseh was sacked by Borussia Dortmund
after punching teammate Vahid Hashemian while on loan
at VfL Bochum.
He finally quit professional football in
January 2006 at the age of 31 after playing a half season
for Belgian top club, K.R.C. Genk.
Thirteen years after, Oliseh is back in the saddle, this
time, as coach of the Super Eagles. His message at his
unveiling in Abuja yesterday was: â€œI come to serve my
country, not to wage a war.â€
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