Home / News / Local / On Sunday Oliseh’s provocative ‘home video’ by Tayo Ogunbiyi

On Sunday Oliseh’s provocative ‘home video’ by Tayo Ogunbiyi

Sunday Oliseh, Super Eagles Coach
Sunday Oliseh, Super Eagles Coach

Sunday Oliseh, the current Chief Coach of the senior national football team of Nigeria, the Super Eagles, recently took caution to the wind when he took to the you tube to lambast and demonize his critics. Some of those who became victims of Oliseh’s caustic tongue were soccer administrators, ex footballers, sports writers, soccer analysts and soccer fans who believe the coach doesn’t have what it takes to lead the Super Eagles to the Promised Land. In an unprecedented needless provoking explosion, Oliseh described criticisms against him as the ranting of sick and insane minds. He said: “The only word with which I could describe criticisms against me is insanity”. He did not stop at that. He took particular exception to criticisms from his ex colleagues at the Super Eagles, some of whom he referred to as mere mediocre who were bench warmers in their soccer days. In a one- man drama sketch that lasted for eight minutes, Oliseh literally took on everyone who didn’t share his footballing ideals to the cleaners. Of course, as it is always the case with people like him, the only person he spared was himself. Everybody was wrong except him; the man who can do no wrong.

Though the football authorities have claimed that Oliseh had apologized for his obviously offensive and pointless eruption, certain fallouts of his babyish mind-set are, however, worthy of appropriate scrutiny. For one, the job of a national team coach like the Super Eagles is a hot and tough one. Lots of Nigerians are crazy and obsessively passionate about football. In a country where the people have almost little to cheer about, rightly or wrongly, football remains a way of escape for some of our compatriots. Hence, whoever is saddled with the hard task of leading the national soccer team naturally has his hands full. Aside the country’s President; perhaps, no one else draws huge flaks from all corners as the Super Eagles coach. All eyes are simply on him. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, everyone is a football ‘pundit’ and a ‘coach’ with ‘fantastic’ idea about not only how the Super Eagles should play but about who should actually play for the team.

Since the coach earns his pay through the tax payers, it is only normal that he would be criticized. Even in well –established and respected European football clubs, which are run as private enterprise, coaches still get criticized. It is, therefore, naïve of Coach Oliseh to expect that since he had been offered the national team job, everybody should go to sleep and leave him alone to do his job. No! It doesn’t really work that way. Whether he is winning or losing, people will always have something to say about him and his team. That is the way of the game of football. It is a passionate game. It is rather ironic that Oliseh has mischievously refused to acknowledge this fact. While Stephen Keshi, his predecessor, held sway as the coach of the Super Eagles, Oliseh used to be one of his most fiery critics. Then, Oliseh used to be a ‘respected’ football analyst on television. He was actually accused by some Keshi’s apologists of eyeing the latter’s job, a claim which he vehemently debunked. It is, thus, rather hypocritical that Oliseh who took delight in disparaging others now takes exception to same. How awful!

That takes us to yet another salient point. This is the issue of the wide gulf that exists between the job of a football analyst and that of a coach. Often, a football analyst sits in the comfort of an air conditioned television studio to talk about a football game that is either on-going or has just been completed. The coach, on the other hand, doesn’t have that luxury. He is on the hot seat. Most of what transpires on the field of play happens so quickly that he might not even have explanation for some of them. Ex -England international and Manchester United legend, Garry Neville, used to be a fiery soccer pundit on television. He was unsparing in his criticisms of coaches. He was, indeed, the nemesis of most football coaches in the English premiership. Funnily, he is now on the other side of the divide and by now must have become wiser. He has been the coach of Spanish side, Valencia FC for over three months and he is yet to win a single football match with his team. As they say, talk is cheap!

Oliseh, in similar manner, must have realized by now that there is a great difference between theories and practicals. The Super Eagles recent disgraceful exit from Championship of African Nations, CHAN, should be a reality check for him. Rather than vilifying everyone else except himself, he should remain absolutely focused on the job he has been hired to do. What he earns in just a month represents the earnings of some Nigerians in a lifetime. To whom much is given, much is expected. Oliseh should stop being childish and exhibit character traits that are expected of the office he holds. He should stop desecrating the office. He needs to work on his character. Oliseh used to be highly temperamental as a player and captain of the Super Eagles. He had a volatile temper. When he was appointed as the coach of the team, he claimed he had outgrown his fiery temper. Recent experience has, however, proved otherwise. Oliseh has proven to be the proverbial leopard which doesn’t change his spot.

On its part, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, must come to terms with its share in the Oliseh’s debacle. Appointing Oliseh as the Super Eagles coach is, in the first instance, an aberration. Till his appointment, Oliseh had no previous coaching experience at such demanding level. He was a rookie with no proven record. Coaching at the highest level isn’t all about having the knowledge or idea of the game. It involves man- management which involves having to bear with the ego, and sometimes, arrogance of top football stars, poor officiating as well as the ineptitude of soccer administrators. It involves crisis and conflict management. Thus far, it is yet to be seen if Oliseh actually possesses the needed qualities to efficiently navigate the murky waters of managing the national soccer team.

However, as the saying goes, to err is human, to forgive is divine. Since Oliseh had reportedly apologized for his misplaced outburst, he should be pardoned and encouraged by all to succeed. Only that he should go and sin no more.

Ogunbiyi is of the Features Unit, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

About Global Patriot Staff

Check Also

Access Bank unveils ‘Love is More’ campaign for Valentine

By Aderonke Ojediran Lagos, Feb. 6, 2023 Access Bank has unveiled several discounts and mouth-watering …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *