New Super Eagles Coach, Sunday Ogorchukwu Oliseh, along with his two assistants, are to receive three months’ salary advances as they take up their assignments in Nigeria, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said at their unveiling in Abuja on Wednesday.
NFF boss Amaju Pinnick made the surprising announcement as he welcomed the new coaches. In the past, national coaches have sometimes been owed several months of unpaid wages.
Responding to the announcement after he signed a three-year contract, which has the option of an additional year, the Delta State-born coach opened up on his philosophy for players selection to his team.
“My assistants and myself will not invite to the camp of the National Team of Nigeria any player who is not playing in the top division in the recognized leagues of the world, including Nigeria. The only exception would be those players from any of the age-grade national teams that we find exceptional and deserving of an opportunity to try and win shirts in the senior team,” he declared.
Mr. Oliseh, a former member of the FIFA Technical Study Group, however warned against untenable expectations, declaring that he is no messiah. “I have come to do my very best, give 150%, to take Nigeria football to the next level, with the support of my assistants, the NFF and relevant stakeholders. I am optimistic that we will lift the Nigeria game to a new height," he said.
He also moved to allay fears about his perceived ‘stubborness,’ the former Super Eagles captain differentiating between being principled and being stubborn in the course of duty.
“I come to serve my country, not to wage a war,” he said. “I have come to serve, and the NFF has promised to give me all the support I need to succeed. They are the employers and I am the employee. That distinction has to be appreciated at all times.
“I have had meetings with members of the Technical and Development Committee, led by Chief Anyansi-Agwu, very knowledgeable people all. I have met members of the Executive Committee and the General Secretary. I believe we will all work together excellently. It is a huge honour to be the head coach of Nigeria.”
Mr. Pinnick presided over today’s event, supported by the top brass of the NFF. Also present was the new Technical Director of the Super Eagles and twice team coach, Shaibu Amodu.
The multi-lingual Oliseh played professional football in Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. He also won Olympic football gold, Africa Cup of Nations gold, as well as silver and bronze medals for Nigeria, among other achievements.
Mr. Oliseh’s first task is to ensure Nigeria’s qualification for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, having missed out on the 2015 edition. In a recent blog, he warned that the country might fail to win qualification if it did not focus on purely soccer issues.
“Nigeria is returning [back] from a painful setback situation of missing out on the Nations cup 2015 and barely has the qualifiers started for the next one and an opinion of its Captain is the latest thing to pounce upon to discredit another loyal servant in Vincent Enyeama with what hidden agenda this time?” he wrote.
Mr. Enyeama had criticized the choice of Kaduna for Nigeria’s match against Chad, for which he was punished by the football federation.