Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, has released an official statement stating its side of the story after erstwhile coach of the Super Eagles, Sunday Oliseh unceremonially resigned from his job on Friday.
The NFF on Monday revealed how Oliseh was tolerated by the football governing body throughout his short reign as the Chief Coach of the senior national team.
The statement which was made available on the website of the NFF reads:
“In order to clear a lot of falsehood that has been making the rounds in sections of the media following the resignation of Coach Sunday Oliseh, the Nigeria Football Federation has decided to make a statement regarding events relating to the employment and resignation of the Super Eagles Coach.
First of all, the NFF would like to state that contrary to what few members of the media would have Nigerians believe, the appointment of Mr. Sunday Oliseh as Head Coach of the Super Eagles was thoroughly thought-through; it went through a meeting between himself and the Technical Committee and was ultimately approved by the entire Executive Committee of the NFF.
The NFF had the best of intentions in hiring Mr. Sunday Oliseh, and despite the misgivings about his temperament (he himself alluded to this at his unveiling) he was seen as a bright young Coach able to take the Super Eagles to new heights. This view was premised on his resume, (having played in various countries around the world), his undoubted football knowledge and his currency of ideas (being a respected former Super Eagles Captain and a member of the FIFA Technical Study Group).
The fact that from Mr. Oliseh’s perspective, the relationship had gone so awry to the extent that he resigned his appointment is unfortunate because despite the temporary financial difficulties which crept into the relationship in the last four months or thereabouts, the NFF Executive Board with its penchant for long term planning took a long term view of his appointment and remains confident that with a little more patience on the part of the Coach, things would have turned around for the better in the long run.
The NFF seizes the opportunity to apologise to Nigerians for the situation that we, through no fault of ours, find ourselves, but assures the teeming Super Eagles supporters that we shall patriotically remain committed to the success of the team. This is already evidenced by the swiftness with which we have reconstituted the coaching crew and received the assurances of the patriotism of the Super Eagles players who have vowed to fight for the Nigerian flag and spirit, and ensure that not only do we qualify for the African Nations Cup but also that our long term goals are not derailed.
The NFF gives the foregoing assurances despite the circumstance which has arisen with the untimely resignation of Coach Sunday Oliseh and despite the fact that the decision was taken unilaterally without discussion with NFF or any of its officials or board members, without giving the requisite one months notice as stipulated in his contract immediately after he was paid his arrears of salary and housing allowance after his request to travel across Europe to visit potential call ups for the matches against Egypt was approved by the President of the NFF and; despite the fact that we have crucial qualifying matches to play next month.
With regard to the various allegations made against the NFF by Mr. Sunday Oliseh in his letter of resignation and in the media, the NFF as a responsible organisation feels the need to this once respond to those allegations as follows, and thereafter continue with the job at hand without any further distractions:
Mr. Sunday Oliseh in his letter of resignation and in various reports has talked about not being respected, and not getting the support of the NFF. The NFF categorically denies these allegations and notes that from the time of his employment the NFF had always shown him respect which, unfortunately, not always reciprocated.
In order to encourage him, to exhibit an intention to put the issue of financial disagreements with coaches behind the Federation and to help the new Coach quickly settle down, the NFF proceeded to pay him three months’ salary in advance – something that had never happened previously in Nigeria football.
The NFF introduced him to our principal partners/sponsors in order to show that the Federation had total regard for and was fully supporting its coach. The President thereafter reiterated the vision of the NFF board and its mandate to the new coach to build a new and vibrant team that the Government and people of this country would be proud of. The NFF has since then allowed him to carry on his duties without interference. The NFF also purchased for Mr. Oliseh a brand new car to ease his movement locally whenever he was in Nigeria.
With regard to the allegation that he was not supported, it is pertinent to note that Mr. Oliseh himself had on numerous occasions expressed gratitude for the support he had received from the NFF and in particular from the NFF President and Vice Presidents. The NFF makes bold to say that he has been supported throughout his short tenure as the Super Eagles coach. Not only have his requests and choice of training camps been accepted, his choice of players have never been interfered with, his choice of venues have all but once been accepted and even where not accepted, an explanation was promptly given which was duly appreciated and accepted by the coach.
Only a few minutes before sending an email intimating the NFF of his resignation, Mr. Oliseh had written a mail to the NFF President about his trip across Europe to see players, which the NFF President had approved the day before.
For the competitive matches against Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Swaziland that the Super Eagles played away from home under Coach Oliseh, the NFF despite its financial constraints flew the team by chartered aircraft at the request of the coach.
It is pertinent to note also that, despite its financial constraints, the NFF acceded to Coach Oliseh’s insistence on camping the CHAN team in South Africa. His show of appreciation was to go on air to talk about spending his money to buy food for the team in South Africa. The truth is that the team stayed at a world -class facility where buffet feeding had been arranged. Coach Oliseh opted to buy Nigerian food for the players on two occasions, without alerting the NFF or the hotel management. Food meant for the team on those two occasions went to waste.
In support of Coach Oliseh and in a bid to give him some confidence regarding the issue of finance, the NFF top echelon traveled to Rwanda at their own expense along with the Minister of Youth and Sports, in order that the coach and the team would have the opportunity of hearing first-hand from the Minister the challenges the NFF was facing with regards to funds. The Minister told the team clearly that the financial problems were not the fault of the NFF and promised to do his utmost to resolve it forthwith.
After the CHAN championships in Rwanda, the Technical Committee requested for the usual technical report of the Championship but Coach Oliseh wrote a terse email back to the secretary of that committee stating that he did not report to them.
Even though by the terms of his contract he was obliged to return to Nigeria at least 2 weeks to any Super Eagles match and is obliged to watch our domestic league matches from time to time, one can count how many local league matches he has watched and one can point out that he did not return to Nigeria before he went to the CHAN championship on the grounds that he was ill. Yet, he went to South Africa and Rwanda but did not return with the team to Nigeria.
The NFF has accommodated these only in support of the ultimate success of the coach and the team. On resumption, Coach Oliseh wanted to sack the entire backroom staff of the Super Eagles including the media officer saying that he could not work with them. A potentially messy situation was aborted by the firm position of the General Secretary and the President on the matter. The coach virtually tore the team apart with his impulsive style of man management, for example if not for the way the NFF President and Vice Presidents handled the matter, his disagreement with erstwhile captain Vincent Enyeama would have seen all the senior players quit the Super Eagles.
Contrary to the terms of his contract, Coach Oliseh went on air several times to talk about the NFF’s finances and in a derogatory manner. He went on air to insult Nigerians in what is now known as his ‘YouTube rant’ wherein he made serious allegations against the Nigeria media, which he has failed to substantiate. In it, he also noted that he didn’t want the job of the Super Eagles Chief Coach but was prevailed upon to accept it.
From the foregoing, it is clear that without claiming to be perfect and working under considerable financial difficulties, not only did the NFF support Mr. Sunday Oliseh in his capacity as Chief Coach of Super Eagles, it actually showed lots of restraint in the face of aggravated impulsive behaviour by the coach bordering in some cases on insubordination.
In closing this Statement there are a few things we must point out:
We find it strange though that, after complaints of non -payment, Mr.Oliseh waited to receive monies owed him before resigning. Two days before his resignation, he had passionately appealed that we unite as one force to fight the battle on the football field with the Egyptian national team. We had no idea he was selling a dummy.
For the avoidance of doubt, Mr. Sunday Oliseh resigned and was not sacked. We bear no grudges against the coach and wish him well in his future endeavours.
We have heard strange talk of “instability in NFF.” How can there be instability in NFF simply because an employee chose to resign? The Executive Board of the NFF has resolved to accept his resignation and has responsibly gone ahead to accept the recommendation of the Technical Committee in replacing him temporarily with competent coaches.
We have now moved swiftly beyond the issue of the resignation of Coach Oliseh and like responsible business -minded administrators we are now thinking about the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, with the immediate business being the hosting of the Egyptian national team in Kaduna and playing them in Egypt towards the end of next month.
We thank the teeming patriotic supporters of the Super Eagles, seek your forgiveness if we have done any wrong, ask for your understanding of the very difficult financial situation under which we are working and above all request your continued support and prayers.”