• Green advocates grassroots football development
Former international, Bright Omokaro, is worried that the performance of Nigeria’s junior teams, has continued to dwindle, blaming this on Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) penchant to recycle coaches as a major problem against the growth of the sector.
Speaking on the recent poor performance of Flying Eagles at the ongoing WAFU Zone B Championship in Benin Republic, Omokaro said Nigeria’s football would continue to face challenges at all levels if the right coaches were not appointed to handle the national teams.
He wondered why Nigeria that has dominated youth football in Africa and even the world, would fail in a West African championship, adding that poor decisions by coaches’ selectors has hampered the growth of the sport.
He urged the NFF to stop recycling coaches, who failed in the past at international engagements, advising them to look inwards and select the best ex-players for the youth teams.
“It is a shame that at this point the Flying Eagles is performing below expectations in age grade football championship comprising West African countries. Nigeria’s loss of the World Cup ticket is another big blow for the nation after the Eagles’ woeful performance against Sierra Leone in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
“The problem with the youth teams now is the recycling of coaches. This is killing football in Nigeria.
“The NFF leaves coach A who is experienced and credible to do the job and go for coach B they can manipulate. This is not right. People should understand that football is done in the open. Any poor selection you do behind closed doors must surely reflect on the pitch,” he said.
Also disappointed by the Flying Eagles performance at the WAFU U-20 tourney, former NFF technical director, Chris Green, said the outing in Benin Republic was a total disgrace to Nigeria that has been dominating African youth football over the years.
“I find this embarrassing that Nigeria’s Flying Eagles is struggling in the WAFU championship. This is a big disgrace to Nigeria. During my time at the NFF, I worked hard to see that Nigeria dominated Africa at the U-20 level because that has been the trend of other administrations. Age grade tournaments are Nigeria’s strong force.
“African teams play Nigeria with fear in the past. In my time, winning the Africa version of the U-20 championship was a reality, the only problem I faced then was on how to excel at the world championship. I am really disappointed at what is going on now,” he said.