12th October, 2010
Alhaji Aminu Maigari proved he is not the messiah who can lead the countryâ€™s football to the promised land when he unbelievably revealed he did not watch weekendâ€™s Nations Cup qualifier, which the Super Eagles lost 0-1 to the Syli National of Guinea in Conakry.
Maigari, the Chairman of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, who was expected to tell soccer-loving Nigerians how the encounter against Guinea in far away Conakry â€˜fired blankâ€™ while reacting to a live radio interview yesterday.
The said the match was televised live on AIT, but the beleaguered NFF boss showed by his response to the interview conducted on Brila F.M. that he neither watched nor was he keen about what happened to the Eagles who fell like pack of cards on Sunday.
It clearly showed that Maigari lacks the passion for the nationâ€™s football, otherwise his conversation with the anchor man of the sports radio station, Femi Raji, who got through to him on telephone at about 7.13 a.m. yesterday left much to be desired.
â€œYes hello, Oh! Okay the match, how did it go, what did they play against Guinea?â€ That was how the NFF chairman responded when he was asked to comment on the poor display of the Joseph Yobo-led Eagles.
Maigari, whose controversial election as head of the new NFF board sparked criticism from concerned Nigerians, however tried a face saving reply: â€œWhat a loss, but thatâ€™s not too bad, they will do better next time,â€ he shamefully enthused.
A few of the players who featured for Nigeria in Guinea departed for their clubsâ€™ bases straight from Conakry Sunday night while the others returned to Abuja to connect flights to their various destinations around 6:00 a.m. yesterday. But Maigari was completely in the dark over what transpired with the senior national team until his response on radio.
It would be recalled that the Federation of International Football Association, FIFA temporarily lifted an indefinite ban on Nigeria last weekend due to what the body called governmentâ€™s interference in the administration of the game in the country.
Meanwhile former member of the Eagles, Emmanuel Amunike says the present crop of players in the team are not committed to national duty.
The former Barcelona FC of Spain was speaking against the backdrop of Sundayâ€™s 0-1 loss in the hands of the Syli National of Guinea.
Amunike said there is need for committed players to be invited into the team to make it competitive and formidable. According to him; â€œThe players in the Eagles are not committed. They play as if there is nothing at stake and Sundayâ€™s match really opened our eyes to the fact that the players paraded are not hungry for success at all.â€
The former Julius Berger coach predicted that Nigeria may find it difficult to qualify for the next Nations Cup.
The Eagles are placed second in Group B with three points behind table toppers, Guinea, who have maintained a clean sheet, winning their two matches.
â€”Tunde Oyedele/Adebobola Alawode