Finidi’s resignation and Osimhen’s video: Matters arising?

By Dr. Salau Dee Elf (NUGA Publicity Liaison Officer 1993-2001)

The recent resignation of the newly appointed Super Eagles Coach, Finidi George after a month is no longer news but circumstances surrounding the hurried decision is still a matter of discussion in the Football and Sports Arena.

FInidi’s appointment which came up due to the greater pressure for indigenous coaches to take over the Super Eagles and the fact that he has gained a lot as the Assistant Coach to the immediate past foreign Technical Adviser made him the Choice of the NFF Technical Committee searching for coaches for the Super Eagles.

Unlike it used to be, a Contractual agreement as the Super Eagles Coach was not signed between the new Coach and the NFF as the Coach. Finidi as a patriot was working on the gentleman’s agreement reached before the final signatures to a full agreement. Again, the two forthcoming World Cup Qualifiers were uppermost in his mind and that of the NFF.

On appointment, Finidi while unveiled by the NFF President, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau confirmed that Finidi’s contract extends for two years and not one year. “I don’t know where the one year information emanated from, all I know is that, as far as our contract with Finidi is concerned, he is going to be in charge of the team till the end of 2026, so I don’t think 2026 is going to be a one year contract,” he said, according to Soccer Africa a football television show in South Africa. However, other details of the contract were not forthcoming till the two World Cup Qualifiers were played.

This was not the case with Coaches Peseiro and Rohr whose contract details were given on appointments. The local coaches are treated with disdain. Why can’t NFF come out clean on how much Finidi will earn and for how long he will stay with the team. This was the scenario till the qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic were played.

Finidi was still ready to pilot the affairs of the National Team even after the match he lost against Benin Republic. He promised that he remained committed to guiding the World Cup qualification campaign back on course. The NFF didn’t consider this assurance when it decided to appoint a foreign Technical Adviser which is not in the employment agreement with Finidi and is an indication of lack of confidence in him towards the World Cup Qualification. Finidi, having read the handwriting on the wall, decided that “Given the recent changes to the Technical crew, I believe it’s time for me to step aside,” expressing his gratitude to the NFF for the opportunity given to serve and wishing the team the best in the future.

He served for less than two months with the NFF. Is it because he is a local Coach. Former foreign Technical Adviser Peseiro was in charge of the team losing so many friendly matches and drawing precariously two World Cup Qualifiers before the last African Cup of Nations yet he wasn’t fired.

It looks like some people are addicted to and gaining from this issue of Foreign Technical Adviser. Finidi still have six more matches to play towards the World Cup Qualifications, while the hurried calling for a foreign Technical Adviser. So he can come and perform magic and when he fails you will blame Finidi and tell us to give the Technical Adviser more time. Why are we like this? We give priority to foreigners while we push our own aside. We are patiently waiting.

Victor Osimhen’s video

While Finidi was battling with NFF on the issue of his contract and change of the Technical Crew albeit Technical Adviser, he was dealt another blow by one of Nigeria’s topmost goal poacher, Victor Osimhen. He recorded a personal video which he puts on the internet lambasting his Coach. The basis of his vulgar actions were based on rumours of what the Coach said concerning Osimhen.

The totality of the player’s behaviour was bad and condemnable. Even when proven that your Coach indeed said what he was alleged to, throwing caution to the wind is not the best thing to do. Professionally, it’s not the best. In football, once a player reacts like this to his Coach, it’s either the Coach leaves or the player will not get called to the team again.

If finally, Osimhen now finds out his Coach didn’t say anything like this what will he do as the damage has been done. It is advisable that response in anger does more damage than when you are more controlled and behave maturely. Many of your numerous loving fans, this writer inclusive, were taken aback on that video. You have a lot more to achieve in life and in the world of Football. Don’t allow issues that can be maturely managed like this stain your career.

Find a way to reach out to your Coach who was also a prominent National Footballer to sort out things. It pays to make more friends than enemies. We pray for more progress in your Career.

Matters Arising

While Finidi was courageous in resigning, he left some pertinent questions for the Nigerian Football managers and lovers to ponder upon. These are :

– Most Nigerian players are not committed to representing the Super Eagles.

– Nigerian players select the matches they want to play for Nigeria, he (Finidi) was not going to beg them to come and play.

– Some players were not serious in training.

-Others strolled into camp as they liked and when the Coach wants to punish them, he is told a big man owns them.

Are these issues correct or not? Seeing Ronaldo and Pepe playing with full commitment at close to 40 years for Portugal at the ongoing Euro 2024 is a great lesson to Nigerian players. The NFF and the incoming Technical Adviser have a lot to do in these areas.

Dr Salau Dee Elf writes from Lagos | [email protected]

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