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Oliseh, a manager or a martinet?

08 October 2015, 20:47Israel Ojoko

Lagos - The last time I wrote an opinion piece about Sunday Oliseh since taking over the Super Eagles job was when he announced his first list of invited players for the 2017 AFCON qualifier against Tanzania in Dar es Salaam and the friendly against Niger.

After leaving out John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo and Kelechi Iheanacho, the results of both games are there for all to see, as many Nigerians started raising eyebrows about the professionality of a senior national team coach.

In that article, I concluded by welcoming Oliseh to the “most difficult job in the world” and advised him to be ready for happenings.

Less than two months afterwards, things, and unfortunate things for that matter, have started happening.

Oliseh has now forced captain and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to retire from international football without thinking of the future.

Any player, in any circumstance, has the right to quit international football at any time, which Enyeama has done on Thursday. What this means for Oliseh is that his newly-found hero – Carl Ikeme will be fully fit and in form for national duty at all times for many years to come.

Also read: Critical look at Oliseh’s 18-man list

It also means Ahmed Musa, who was Nigerian Premier League top scorer with 18 goals at Kano Pillars in 2010, can and will captain the Super Eagles in every game at all time for many years to come.

I am not taking anything from these or any player as they’ve done averagely well for the national team, and much is still expected of them.

Oliseh has made critical decisions since taking over as Nigeria coach but in a rather amateur way. His first open decision was to drop Mikel, Moses, and a hot Ighalo from his first list, but some will argue that a coach has the right to select who he deem fit for his plans.

His second decision was to prematurely and unceremoniously take the coveted captaincy band from Enyeama. If he had it in mind to strip the Lille keeper of his position, he should not have invited him for the friendlies against Congo and Cameroon in Belgium, knowing fully well that Enyeama could still be in mourning mood over his late mother’s death.

Oliseh could just have explained that he left out Enyeama because he wants him to psychologically recover from his misfortune. This would have saved him the trouble of asking the hotel security to order the former Enyimba goalkeeper out, and as a result earning himself a bad name.

Another critical decision taken by Oliseh was to invite 21-year-old Arsenal starlet Alex Iwobi to the Super Eagles for the games in Belgium, just few hours after the player was cleared by FIFA to represent Nigeria at senior level.

Oliseh could have been patient, since the player has decided to represent Nigeria, what’s the rush all about?

Three months into his unveiling as Super Eagles coach, what I observed is that Oliseh is impatient, temperamental and bossy.

But Oliseh needs to understand that there is a big difference between being a player, and being a manager. As a coach, you need to first know how to manage yourself before you can be able to manage a team. You can be a good football player, a fluent football pundit, but it takes so much more to be a good football coach, especially of a national team.

Oliseh should and must work on himself, he needs to be patient, accommodating, understanding and be approachable, at least he was once a player too. He needs to talk less and work more, he also needs to allow media officer Toyin Ibitoye, who I’ve not received one press release from since assuming his new status, to do the talking for the team.

Oliseh should know and admit that these players have built a cordial relationship with former coach Stephen Keshi and it will take time and a gradual process to recreate and rebuild relationship with a new coach.

Truth is, Enyeama’s exit has put the heat on Oliseh, I hope he knows that, even if he feels he has won the battle as a boss.

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- News24


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