AFCON 2021: NFF, Super Eagles planning to fail
It’s Christmas morning and Nigerian football is fully on holiday.
In about 17 days, the Super Eagles will play Egypt in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations opening fixture.
But right now, there is nothing that suggests the three-time champions have a desire to perform well at the tournament.
There is still no provisional squad. No dates for camping. No announcement on warm-up friendlies.
The entire drama began November, 21, when Gernot Rohr was fired as head coach. We can all agree that he had to go, but the sheer lack of contingency plans is shocking.
Augustine Eguavoen was immediately appointed on an interim basis, but we are yet to see any proof he is up and doing, except for the random interview here and there.
Serious countries like Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Senegal, and Cameroon have all released lists of players ahead of the competition. They already have a head start. NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, seems to have put all his eggs in the AFCON-will-be-cancelled basket.
Or is it possible players have threatened a boycott in solidarity with Rohr?
In an interview with ESPN, Rohr said: “I spoke with some players, and some of them told me they don’t want to continue.
“But I said to them: “You have to continue. Now you have Nigerian coaches, and you have to do well for your fatherland.”
His mention of ‘Nigerian coaches’ is poignant. Maybe the players don’t respect one of their own barking orders at them.
Pinnick has also embarked on a PR overdrive, claiming the federation consulted Mourinho, as they seek a permanent replacement for Rohr.
At the end of the day, football comes down to the preparation of personnel, tactics and welfare. And none of this is visible as the fireworks welcome in the Yuletide.
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