Eguavoen accused of plotting Paseiro sack

Edwin  - CEO December 2, 2023
Updated 2023/12/02 at 5:55 PM
8 Min Read

As Osimhen, Iwobi, Chukwueze,  back Portuguese-born coach in his fight with NFF


AUGUSTINE EGUAVOEN: From athletics to football World Cup


By Ed Emeanua


Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) technical director Austin Eguavoen has been accused of subtly plotting behind the scene to have Super Eagles head coach José Paseiro fired from his job before the start of next year’s Africa Nations Cup.


According to a source close to the team, this would allow the NFF technical director pave his way and lead the team as chief coach to next year’s TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cote d’Ivoire.


Super Eagles players are equally set to enter the current rift between their embattled head coach Paseiro and NFF by backing the Portuguese born coach against their home Federation, so as to thwart NFF’s plans to sack him.


According to our highly reliable source, influential players, striker Victor Osimhen, forward Samuel Chukwueze, midfielder Alex Iwobi, and attacker Simon Moses, are now spearheading the fight by leading other players to take side against the Federation.


Certain notable players of the team see the recent attacks by the NFF against their head coach as a mere ruse and furtherance of the affront and attempts of the Federation to stifle concerns over their accruing match bonus and unpaid allowances since 2018 by every means possible.


Other mainstream players including defenders Kenneth Omeruo, Ola Aina, Calvin Bassey, and Jamilu Collins, as well as Midfielders Wilfred Ndidi, and Frank Onyeka, with forward Kelechi Iheanacho, have equally signed on to backing their embattled coach against the football federation’s sack threat.


Eguavoen is accused of using the team’s recent poor outings to orchestrate his recommendation for the termination of the head coach to the Federation with only few weeks to the Nations Cup, leaving little room for the NFF to find a good replacement before the start of the competition.


This would then force the hands of the NFF into handing the rein of the team to the technical director in an interim capacity until a suitable coach is found for the job.


With just weeks to the start of next year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cote d’Ivoire, the development threatens Super Eagles from making any meaningful impact at the continental football fiesta for African nations come January 2024.


“Instead of blaming themselves for not doing the job they are being paid to do, the NFF board and the technical department led by Austin Eguavoen are busy blaming the team and players,” our source fumed.


“This is exactly what happened two years ago when the same Eguavoen mysteriously inherited the team after championing the sudden termination of the former head coach over accusations of dwindling performances despite having already qualified the Super Eagles for the Africa Cup of nations in Cameroon and the last legs of the 2022 World Cup qualifier.


“After the sacking of Gernot Rohr with just days to the start of the Nations Cup on the recommendation of the technical director, Eguavoen was appointed to lead the team in Cameroon.


“But the Super Eagles were even worst under Eguavoen in Cameroon as we later saw during the competition, and were much more worse technically against Ghana Black Stars in the last legs of the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers.


“Eguavoen crashed out with the team in the second round in Cameroon marking Nigeria’s worst Nations Cup outing in over 20 years and failed to qualify for the world cup.


“We are back at the same stage again. It is as if we never learn anything from our history. Eguavoen is scheming his way again to a job he has not got the ability to perform right under our eyes.”


Our source insists that the team’s poor outing in recent years being cited by the NFF as reason to get rid of the Super Eagles head coach is due to glaring lack of motivation for the team following backlog of years of unpaid bonuses and allowances.


“Paseiro of recent and in the past Ekong, have particularly been in the forefront and have pleaded with the powers that be to pay the players their outstanding bonus and allowances that have been accruing since 2018 to allow the players to focus on performing well for the national team,” our source said.


“Rather than heed these pleas, the NFF has been busy with stifling each voice that has been on the side of the players over this issue.


“First, the former Sports Minister Sunday Dare under whose administration the bad culture of not paying the players their entitlements began ordered the excommunication of the assistant captain from the team totally just for speaking out for the players.


“Now, it is the turn of the coach to face the wrath of these powerful men in the Federation for doing the same. However, it appears the players too have had enough as they are now ready to enter the fight collectively and in full force.


“This is going to be very bad for Nigeria in Cote d’Ivoire. There will certainly be some scandals to deal with in Ivory Coast.”


Our source disclosed that Super Eagles players are very bitter that not only has the Federation reneged on payment of their bonuses and allowances over the years, the NFF has also been treating their concerns over the issue with an audacious nonchalance and remarkable shabbiness, and by always stifling the voices of whoever speaks out for them over the issue.


Now the players appears to have had enough of the NFF’s big handedness in dealing with the matter, which our source insists that poor motivation and not bad coaching, is to blame.


“A team that can defeat another national side 10-0 away and then blunder through their next games tend to suggest to me that a lack of motivation is blighting their performance and not bad form, and especially poor coaching, as the NFF would want us to believe,” our source argues.


“The same team would effortlessly fritter away a 4-0 first half lead just like that only to eventually draw the game 4-4. This same team would then lose 0-1 to a team everyone consider minnows at home, and then go ahead to defeat the same opponent only a few days later away from home. All these suggest lingering issues of bad motivation for the Super Eagles on the part of the NFF. NFF is to blame, not the team, not the coach, and definitely not the players.”


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