Top officials of the Super Eagles, including Team Coordinator Emmanuel Atta, Secretary, Dayo Enebi Achor and team spokesman, Ben Alaiya, have strongly defended the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in the nation’s Cup of Nations triumph in South Africa.
According to the officials, if not for the Aminu Maigari-led NFF board, it could have been a different story for Nigeria at the competition.
Super Eagles Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, dismissed insinuations that the NFF was at war with the national team during the tournament, stressing that the NFF President and most of his board members attended virtually all of the team’s training sessions leading to the victory over Burkina Faso in Johannesburg.
He also quoted Atta as saying, “No single person can win a tournament of the magnitude of the Nations Cup, it was a collective job and Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, acknowledged that fact and has repeatedly said so. So we must be careful in labeling the NFF because they provided all necessary logistics for friendly games leading to the tournament and stood by the technical crew even when majority of Nigerians wrote them off.”
On the controversial issue of tickets being issued ahead of the quarter-final tie against Cote d’Ivoire, Achor declared that it is a CAF regulation to prepare in advance tickets for the two teams that are playing the quarter finals, as none of them is to stay in the hotel beyond 24 hours after the game. Even the team that qualifies was also to move to the next venue of the tournament immediately, according to CAF regulations.
“So, the Ivorians also had their departure tickets and you will recall that they left under 24 hours [later],” he said. “So there should be no controversy over that”.
He said that it was based on that proposal from CAF that he spoke to all the players on where they would like their tickets to be routed and that he was sure that the Ivorian federation also did same to their team.
There was no issue about the NFF or the backroom staff, as we are now labeled, wishing the team bad,” he said.