Former Super Eagles’ captain Sunday Ogorchukwu Oliseh resumed life as Head Coach of the team on Wednesday, with a clear message to the generality of Nigerians: “I’ve come to serve my country, not to wage a war.”
There were several questions and insinuations at Wednesday’s colourful official presentation ceremony bordering on Oliseh’s perceived ‘stubborness,’ but the former captain swiftly differentiated between being principled and being stubborn.
“I have come to serve, and the NFF has promised to give me all the support I need to succeed. They are the employers and I am the employee. That distinction has to be appreciated at all times.
“I have had meetings with members of the Technical and Development Committee, led by Chief Anyansi-Agwu, very knowledgeable people all. I have met members of the Executive Committee and the General Secretary. I believe we will all work together excellently. It is a huge honour to be Head Coach of Nigeria.”
NFF President Amaju Pinnick presided over the event, supported by Vice Presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, Executive Committee members Anyansi-Agwu, Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, Dilichukwu Onyedinma, Babagana Kalli and Ahmad Kawu, General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi and other members of NFF management, including Technical Director Shuaibu Amodu.
As Pinnick announced to the audience that the NFF would immediately pay three months’ salary of Oliseh and his assistants in advance, the member of the FIFA Technical Study Group opened a window on his philosophy for player-selection.
“My assistants and myself will not invite to the camp of the National Team of Nigeria, any player who is not playing in the top division in the recognized Leagues of the world, including Nigeria. The only exception would be those players from any of the age-grade National Teams that we find exceptional and deserving of an opportunity to try and win shirts in the senior team.
“One thing I will say, dear compatriots, is that I am not a Messiah. I have come to do my very best, give 150%, to take Nigerian football to the next level, with the support of my assistants, the NFF and relevant stakeholders. I am optimistic that we will lift the Nigeria game to a new height.”
The multi-lingual Oliseh, who played professionally in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, and won Olympic football gold, Africa Cup of Nations gold, silver and bronze and played in two FIFA World Cup final competitions, signed a three-year contract with an option for an additional year.
The NFF leadership later presented Oliseh and his assistants to the Director General of the National Sports Commission, Mallam Alhassan Saleh Yakmut.
Oliseh is Pep Guardiola of Africa – Pinnick
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick has described newly appointed Chief Coach of the Super Eagles Sunday Oliseh as the African version of German giant Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola.
Pinnick, who spoke at the official presentation of Oliseh to the media as the chief coach of the national team, also reassured Nigerians that the nation’s football is in good hands given the pedigree of the former national team captain whom he described as the best choice for the team at the moment.
According to him, after series of consultations with football personalities both at FIFA and CAF, the federation settled for Oliseh due largely to the recommendations they were given about his qualities which qualified him to have been selected into the prestigious FIFA technical study group.
“Let me tell you that we are just presenting to you the Pep Guardiola of Africa, we are very excited because we know as a federation that Sunday Oliseh will deliver, the federation has been working as a team and we met till about 5 am this morning before going to bed and I believe that after the meeting members of the technical committee and members of the executive committee did not have any choice but to do what we are doing right now.
“Talking about Sunday Oliseh, I personally have been globe-trotting lately especially within the confine of CAF and FIFA and they have always mentioned to us that ‘if you need glory in football you don’t need to go anywhere else you have it at the back of your house and that is the person of Sunday Oliseh. So we are very excited because football has technologically advanced, he has a degree in Economics, he is so very vast when it comes to the game.
“On the field he gave Nigeria one of the best brilliant goals ever; on the field I don’t think we have found a replacement for him since he left Nigeria 13 years ago; on the field he was dedicated, he was disciplined and even off the field he is a good father and husband, dynamic and amiable member of the highly revered FIFA Technical Study Group which I know he has traversed the length and breadth of the world acquiring knowledge and giving out knowledge, coaching coaches, teaching teachers, training trainers and today he is experienced both on and off the field.
“Talking to Oliseh last week in London, I just noticed that I was talking to an Arsene Wenger and to a Pep Guardiola because before he said anything, he didn’t talk about individual stardom, he talked team stardom, he talked about teamwork and when a coach sees the need to redefine his playing pattern you know that he knows what he is talking about,” stated Pinnick who also promised to give the coach all that he needed to succeed.
He also pledged on behalf of the NFF to ensure that the terms of the three-year contract which was handed out to Oliseh was religiously followed because of the foreknowledge of the fact that Nigerians sleep and dream football.