FRENCH coaches Claude Le Roy and Herve Renard have apparently begun sending out feelers to the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) amid signs that the association may demote or suspend Super Eagles head coach Sunday Oliseh after the recent Rwanda debacle.
Oliseh led the home-based Eagles to the recent Championship of African Nations (Chan) tournament in Rwanda where Nigeria crashed out in the group stages. Apart from the fact that Nigeria did badly in the competition, Oliseh made his position more precarious by blaming the NFF for the team’s poor showing.
After Nigeria got knocked out by Guinea when the Eagles lost their final group game 0-1, Oliseh blamed the NFF for the loss, attributing it to the non-payment of player bonuses and allowances.NFF officials are said to be furious that Oliseh is passing the buck, after an unimpressive outing in Rwanda.
In his post-tournament comments, Oliseh blamed a lack of motivation for the poor showing, claiming he spent $4,000 of his own money at their training camp in Pretoria, South Africa. NFF executives are thus considering either demoting him to handle one of the junior teams or suspending him from office.
One NFF official said: “Oliseh should have taken responsibility for the Eagles crash and move on with preparations for the all-important African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Egypt but he chose to make the NFF the scapegoat with his comments that his players were not motivated. His behaviour after the exit of the Eagles from Chan is an infringement of the code of conduct for national teams and he cannot claim ignorance of this because he was given a copy of it when took the job as head coach of the Super Eagles.
“We are waiting for his technical report and reply to the query before he faces the technical committee who will recommend what action to be taken against him. The truth be said, Oliseh has yet to show signs that he is capable of taking the Eagles to the expected heights, so we might ask him to work under a technical adviser or resign if he cannot but we can’t risk leaving him to experiment with our dear Super Eagles.”
Nigeria won the bronze medal in their debut Chan appearance under coach Stephen Keshi in 2014 but failed to make it out of the group stage of the 2016 edition, with Tunisia and Guinea progressing at the expense of Sunday Oliseh’s team. As speculations continue to mount over Oliseh’s future several foreign coaches like Claude Le Roy and Herve Renard, who have excelled in Africa, are now queuing up to handle the Eagles.
One NFF source said: “Foreign coaches have indicated strong interest to handle Nigeria and even some of them have appointed Nigerian representatives to get them the job.”
However, NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire dismissed the stories about Oliseh’s future with the Eagles as mere speculations, pointing out that the relationship between the coach and the federation is normal. It is unclear what is being planned ahead of the all-important African Cup of Nations qualification double header against Egypt in March.
Renard, who led Ivory Coast to win the African Cup of Nations last year, has long been linked with coaching Nigeria since 2010 and is presently without a job after he was sacked by French Ligue 1 club Lille. Le Roy, who has also been linked with the Nigeria post over the years, only recently quit as Congo coach and has also worked in DR Congo, Cameroon and Senegal.