Eagles’ AFCON Failure, One Miss Too Many

By Peter Ijeh –

Let me first appreciate all my fans across the world for their loyalty and follower-ship. As usual, I’m back with another edition of my column in your soar away eyeonthenews.com.

This week’s topic is on the failure of Nigeria’s Super Eagles to qualify for the African Cup of Nations, AFCON, which was a Back-To-Back miss by the country.

I think it’s high time our people, especially those saddled with the affairs of managing our game, to know that the price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change, which is inevitable.

That our own Super Eagles failed to make it to Africa’s biggest football fiesta for two consecutive times belittles the quality of stars we have in the team. I don’t know which one to call it; Is it a shame or a result of change?

The men at the helm have been clueless, going Back….back, forth and forth. Sorry, I’m forced to recall that inspiring classic hit music of the 80s, which makes meaning and makes more sense because after back and back you go forth and forth.

On a more serious note, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF has not really done enough work to salvage the poor situations in the senior national team.

The body keeps ignoring advises from experts and would not bring on seasoned technocrats to offer crucial inputs in the administration of the game.

Resistance at all cost is the most senseless act to indulge in, or how can one stomach Nigeria’s inactivity at AFCON for good four years?

The Eagles failed to make it to the AFCON held last year and will be spectators at the 2017 edition of the continental fiesta; this is not good for the development of the game in the country.

I have listened to many critics saying all manners of things to register their displeasure but the fact remains that the players are worse hit by this national embarrassment.

For those who don’t know or who know and don’t care, Nigeria’s failure at making it to AFCON would have denied the present crop of players close to six (6) years of inactivity at the national level. This will affect their contracts and deny them good transfers.

What a colossal waste! Imaging the average age of the present Eagles squad, in as much as there’s no qualification, there won’t be much room for individual development of the main actors (players), this will be evident in the national development chart as there is ‘No Way Forward”.

Another fact to consider is that the setback will affect the profile of Nigerian players in other championships such as the Champions League.

Their ratings in European competitions have not been impressive overtime and Eagles’ failure to qualify for AFCON will worsen the situation.

Notably, our leaders have preferred to ignore what setback really means in the socio and economic lives of our people.

Interestingly, I personally sent an email to the NFF before the last game against Egypt and offered my own advise on the best way to approach the games that Nigeria could have won.

Funny enough, the NFF officials didn’t even acknowledge receiving any mail from me to talk less of taking any of my professional advise, which I did free of charge as a patriotic Nigeria.

Now, the same officials are going from pillar to post to tender apology to football loving Nigerians, such apology is ill-timed because the NFF is hell bent to hiring a foreign Coach or Technical Adviser for the Eagles.

That’s another wrong step because Nigeria has someone, or should I say the country has many good and qualified Grade A coaches who can salvage the team from the mess created by the administrators in the Glass house.

Without sentiment, a leader can’t give to the masses what he/she doesn’t have or teach what he/she doesn’t know. So, my conclusion; those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

The officials of NFF need to change their attitude and must know that the Eagles deserve to be at major championships.

But now that the Eagles will be spectators at next year’s AFCON, Nigerians should expect another free-fall of the nation in FIFA Rankings.

I’m pained just as all lovers of the game in Nigeria.

Hope you enjoyed this brief piece, join me again in eyeonthenews.com as the next edition of my column is on the way.

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Peter Ijeh,
Uefa Grade A Coach based in Sweden.
ULc, BSs honors.

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