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
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.For
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