.Over Appointment Of Assistant Coach –
The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, Lagos chapter, has called on the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, and Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, to close ranks and uphold the spirit of teamwork in order to steady-foot Nigeria’s preparation for the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
The call by Lagos SWAN is in reaction to the on-going conflict on the appointment of an assistant coach in addition to Daniel Amokachi and Ike Shorunmi to beef up the technical crew of team.
SWAN observed in the statement signed by its chairman, Fred Edoreh, and secretary, Emma Njoku, that “whereas Keshi is insisting on the reinstatement of Sylvanus Okpalla, while the NFF is insisting that Okpalla remains sacked as a matter of disciplinary action for alleged insubordination, what is required is for both bench and management to approach the matter with sobriety and not grandstanding”.
SWAN pointed out that the nation is disturbed about this discourse and how it will rub off on our World Cup campaign and urged the parties to listen to each other.
“We are informed that both Keshi and the NFF agree on the need for an assistant especially in the area of training. We are further assured that Keshi has been given liberty to seek the assistant, local or foreign, by himself but within the prisms of affordability and acceptability. The contention is whether the NFF should reverse itself on the issue of discipline with regards to Sylvanus Okpalla as Keshi is said to be insisting.
“We believe that the conflict can be resolved with a sense of mutual understanding and respect between employee and employer. We are in no doubt that the NFF would and should give Keshi all the necessary support to succeed but it is also crucial that the institutional authority and discipline within the organisation of the NFF be respected and maintained without which it will be condemned to a house corrosive disorder with potential ripples into other grades of our male and female national teams.
“We therefore advise both parties to understand each other and work out a common ground before it is too late and do not allow the issue to degenerate into a major distraction”.
According to SWAN, there are basic assurances which make the matter a lot simpler to resolve. “While there have been fears that talks about a foreign technical assistant might just be a ploy on the part of the NFF to bring in a foreign technical adviser above Keshi, we are assured from our inquiries that the football house is not contemplating any such thing which they very well know holds no guarantee and have amounted to no reasonable effect over the years. With this fear satisfactorily assuaged, the issue of seeking an assistant coach can not therefore become another bone in our neck”.