There were some muted resistance to the emergence of Amaju Pinnick as the Nigeria Football Federation last year in Warri and just months into his ‘reign’, he has shown glimpses of what some said would be an autocratic rule.
On Tuesday, June 23, the NFF’s Disciplinary Committee will sit over issues of insubordination levelled at the Super Eagles captain, Vincent Enyeama; and the national team’s coach, Stephen Keshi – who is said to be seeking the job of Cote d’Ivoire’s national team manager.
These issues in themselves are not things that should have been publicized the way they have been done; they could have been solved internally. The NFF also fined Ogenyi Onazi $5,000 for getting an unnecessary red card against Chad two weeks ago.
So there are many questions that need to be asked of Pinnick and his board. What are the criteria for making these judgment calls? What will be achieved by this sitting? Will the NFF be empowered by this show of strength or will they lose their moral leadership place?
NFF vs. Keshi
There was a macabre dance before Keshi was named as the substantive coach of the Super Eagles after he had been fired thrice, he had resigned once and all the shenanigans that were involved. But finally he was handed a new two-year contract and just one match under that contract, his employers are looking for ways to fire him, because that is the way it looks at the moment. Were the NFF arm-twisted into appointing the ‘Big Boss’ by higher powers and now they want their pound of flesh? But whichever way it pans out, it shows this board as being indecisive, a position which portends danger for the game in the country.
NFF vs. Enyeama
Vincent Enyeama has never been an irascible person though he has had clashes with Samson Siasia as national team coach, and Nigeria ultimately lost as we did not qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup and Siasia got fired. The best goalkeeper in Africa and one of the truly great servants of the Super Eagles said Kaduna was not the best place for the Super Eagles and he was right with that statement (even though undiplomatic) and we all saw the state of the pitch that was used and the weather condition to which players coming from Europe were subjected to. He made a mistake but should the NFF go forth to ‘killing an ant with a pestle’? They might just push the Lille guardian into early national team retirement.
NFF under Pinnick
The first issue that greeted the regime of Pinnick and his board was the inability to guide the Super Eagles to the Africa Cup of Nations Cup tournament for which they were the defending champions. Nigeria, despite having talented players in the national women’s team and the U-20 national team were unable to fulfil their potentials at their World Cup tournaments. So on the basis of assessing the first eight months of this regime, they would score below average and if it were a truly democratic setting, the followers would by now be calling for another election. That is the situation!
Leaders do not force their followers to follow them – their integrity ensures that the followers know that the person they are following has their best interests at heart. Pinnick’s reign is the opposite of this. And there is one thing he should understand, he is the piece that can easily be changed, not the players!!!