Tag Archive | "FIFA World Cup"

Nigeria Football Coach in Homosexual row


BERLIN (AFP) – Football’s governing body FIFA on Wednesday criticised Nigeria coach Eucharia Uche for branding homosexuality as ‘dirty’ and admitting she forced lesbians out of her team.

“FIFA is against all forms of discrimination,” Tatjana Haenni, FIFA’s head of women’s competitions, told German television channel ARD.

Haenni said FIFA will be talking to Uche about her comments and reminding the coach of the governing bodies statutes.

In a mission statement, FIFA says it wants to use the sport in ‘overcoming social and cultural obstacles for women with the ultimate aim of improving women’s standing in society’.

“We are here at a FIFA event and will point out that it would be best to express oneself neutrally,” said Haenni.

Uche sparked controversy in a New York Times interview ahead of the women’s World Cup, which started last Sunday, in which she called homosexuality ‘dirty’ and insisted it was ‘spiritually and morally very wrong’.

After Nigeria lost their opening Group A game 1-0 to France on Sunday, Uche said she has acted to remove any lesbians from the Super Eagles.

“Yes, the lesbians in our team were really a big problem,” she said having taken over as Nigeria’s coach in 2009.

“But since I’m coach of the Super Falcons, that has been cleared up.

“There are no more lesbian players on my team.

“I can not tolerate this dirty life.”

Defending champions and hosts Germany play Nigeria on Thursday in Frankfurt am Main and have declined to comment in Uche’s remarks.

Germany reserve goalkeeper Ursula Holl is married to a woman and first-choice shot-stopper Nadine Angerer is openly bisexual.

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A New Football Culture is what Nigeria needs


Written by Henry Kester Ewruje

Ninety minutes on a football pitch can make a world of a difference. That the Super Eagles did not qualify from the group stage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is like a nightmare for most Nigerians. Football fans that have been looking over their shoulders since the match against Greece in Bloemfontein are now depressed as Nigeria ended the group matches with a 2 – 2 draw with South Korea in Durban and did not qualify for the knockout stages.

What is wrong with the Super Eagles? Many things are wrong with football in Nigeria. In truth, the Super Eagles team has never been at its best in recent years. Not all the matches played by the team in the past four years have been vintage performance. The squad only exhibited a steely determination to prevent a massacre in their 0 – 1 loss to Argentina in Johannesburg with an outstanding performance from goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

I talked to a hell of a lot of people. Managers, coaches, scouts, players and friends and what came back was uninanimous. They all felt that most of the players and Coach Lars Lagerback made mistakes in all their group matches. The technical ability of the Gaffer was tested in South Africa. He had to prove that his appointment was not a mistake. Personally, I doubted Lagerback’s ability to lead the Super Eagles to South Africa. He had nothing to offer because he was a spent force. He had not upgraded his coaching career in Sweden and failed to lead the Swedish national team to the world cup finals in South Africa which led to his resignation from the job showed that he was not the right coach and did not have the pedigree to take the Eagles to the next level in the world cup and beyond.

The gaffer failed technically and he adopted wrong tactics and formations in the three matches played. His starting line-ups were not the best. Not only that, in an apparent display of insufficient knowledge of the Nigerian players, he played some of the players out of their positions which affected the performance of the team. Most of the players had the reputation for shirking the grittier aspects of the game. The coach and the team made lots of mistakes. Even in the Pro Zone age of football where the coach’s team selections are influenced by the distance a player completes each game, there will always be no place for majority of the forwards he took to the world cup.

Nigeria is a country with a proud tradition of outstanding right wingers like Segun Odegbami, John Chidozie, Sam Okpodu, Tarila Okorowanta, Clement Temile, Dimeji Lawal, Pius Ikedia, Tijani Babaginda, Julius Aghahowa and Finidi George. However, the coach decided to field a player in the right wing whose lackadaisical style and a moment’s exhibition of madness earned him the red card and cost the team the match against Greece. Even the most creative elements of Lagerback’s side did not show any willingness to sacrifice themselves for the team. They could not ally graft to their craft.

.Now, the players are talking and complaining about Lagerback and his tactics as well as the playing time given to them. They are also complaining about the quality of players Largerback picked for the world cup. These same players had praised the coach after they played three friendly matches before the world cup. These players failed the nation and they are masters of the dark arts of media manipulation. These players are the delight of journalists. They are open mouths in search of a microphone. This a joke but nobody is laughing. The players to the South Africa 2010 world cup were not the best Nigeria can provide. Only the best players should don the nation’s colours in future competitions

So what is the way forward before the next world cup in Brazil in 2014?

I suggest that all the senior professionals in the Super Eagles who have been talking about throwing in the towel, should quit international football now. Most people might think that some of the senior pros are playing too well to retire from the national team. They might say this decision is a bit too hasty. But the players are big enough to be aware that they are taking a risk with football supporters because a few average performances will raise questions about their retirement from the national team.

The older players are the standard bearers. They are the ones that set the standard. The senior pros have to be the ones to show what it is all about and there is no better example than to quit now. The next world cup is in 2014. The younger players in the team should be groomed with new invitees to the Super Eagles to play in the next Nations Cup Competitions and then the world cup.

While people are taking the mickey out of some players, it is the Nigeria Football Federation, (NFF) that is mainly responsible for the problems of football and it needs a total overhaul. Every association has its values and at the moment, the NFF miss that. I think it is important for the nation’s football that the NFF should be overhauled because with the present players and coaches in the national team, we will never be a leading football country in the world in the coming years. Criticisms of the game are good for Nigerian football.

Presently, the NFF secretariat in Abuja must be littered with e-mails, faxes and letters from supporters who cover every generation. The message to the NFF is that they have failed the nation. The new chants on the streets are “give us a new NFF in the next elections”. Surely, the NFF cannot overlook the stream of correspondence. They should resign immediately and not wait until their elections in August, 2010. The NFF has failed to launch a bold plan to revolutionise the country’s football since they came to office. They have been unable to draw a strategic plan with enough concrete proposals to tackle the nation’s underachievement head-on. The plans of the NFF if any sound bland and boring. Their strategy lack obligatory buzzwords such as vision, purpose and values.

There is nothing uplifting and positive about the NFF with all its lies, deceits, crooked agents and absurd financial structure. The conduct and utterances of the NFF always send people laughing. While the zany twittering of the NFF is sending people into fits of giggles, I am not amused at the amateurishness that is rife in football coaching in Nigeria.

Amodu Shuaibu was sacked by the NFF as the coach of the Super Eagles for doing a commendable job by qualifying the team for the 2010 world cup and for winning bronze at the Nation’s Cup in Angola. He was accused of getting the results but not performing. This excuse was the cruellest joke. It will be recalled that millions of Nigerian football fans and other stake holders called for the removal of Coach Amodu. It would be remembered that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) recommended for Amodu’s sack and a sound foreign technical adviser to be employed. When Amodu was fired, the NFF sent people into reels of laughter by concluding the second-coming of former Super Eagles technical adviser, Frenchman Phillipe Troussier, whose most famous television documentary was how he spilled the blood of a hapless chicken in a bowl for his Burkina Faso players to lick ahead of a match.

The NFF is guilty of epitomizing triumph of style over substance. The NFF should be overhauled immediately. The new NFF should have an approved coaching qualification. Nigeria is the only major football country that does not have it. The new professionalism will spell the extinction of dinosaurs that prefer big talk to tactical awareness. They should launch a school for managers as part of plans to overhaul the game. Aspiring bosses should not be allowed to manage their clubs unless they have an NFF approved qualification. The important thing is to raise standards. Every other country has a mandatory coaching qualification. This scheme backed by the league managers association will also help the coaches get jobs abroad. Only Samson Siasia and Augustine Eguavon improve themselves by attending coaching courses and seminars abroad at their own expense.

Christian Chukwu failed technically during the France 1998 world cup qualifiers that the then captain of the team, Austin Okocha had to arrange coaching lessons for him under Sam Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers football club in England.

The new NFF should clamp down on agents by overseeing all transfer negotiations. Clubs should have their finances reviewed annually to make sure that all deals are above suspicion. Agents who cream millions of naira from the game should come under a bung-busting unit. Clubs should be required to tell the NFF where all the money in a transfer has gone and which agent is involved. Teams often get less than foreign clubs pay. But making all international and domestic transfers to go through the NFF will thwart such dodgy practices.

The new NFF should plan a radical shake-up of the games in the grassroots. A national football center should be opened. The quality of coaching in the soccer academies should be attacked and a professional women’s league set-up. Super clubs should be nurtured. A non-league club should have lots of sides of all ages under his wing. This will improve football at the community level and produce fantastic young players. The aim is to give the various national teams, the raw materials to be more successful. The hows, whys and wherefores should not be vague. Stakeholders should organize seminars and meetings for the NFF to go to, people to talk to and a new football culture to be introduced. The country’s youth development should be the envy of Africa. We already see the benefits of soccer academies and the youth teams of some organizations and clubs in the country.

This should be a wake-up call for an association that has been standing still. The NFF should not rest until there is a fundamental overhaul of the game. Nigerians are waiting.

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