WAFU 2017, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana.
Encouraging even earthy ethics’ eventual end, Eagles’ elder (coach) eagerly embraces enticing envelope expertly extended, expressly entangling him to ensure he fields extolled exportable players for entrepreneurial ends.
The head coach of the team that represented Nigeria at the Ghana WAFU 2017 Tournament, Salisu Yusif, took $1000 from Tiger, who was there as an undercover players’ agent, and agreed to use two of his players in the upcoming CHAN 2018 Tournament regardless of their form to make it possible for Tiger’s Players Agency to sell these players, out of which Yusif would receive 15% of their sales. The meeting took place at the Visitor’s Lounge of the Best Western Plus Atlantic Hotel, Sekondi-Takoradi.
Salisu Yusuf (Coach), the head coach of the Nigerian football team at the WAFU 2017 in Ghana, in a meeting with Tiger at the Best Western Plus Atlantic Hotel, Sekondi-Takoradi, accepted to use Osas Okoro of Rangers International and Rabiu Ali, the Kano Pillars’ midfielder, in the then upcoming CHAN 2018 Tournament to take place in Morocco except for injury and sickness regardless of their performance.
Mr Yusuf, with smiles all over his face, took a 1,000 US Dollars at the meeting and accepted an assurance of 15% from the sales of these players should all go as planned. He appreciated the offer with a promise: “Don’t worry, they would be at CHAN”.
The meeting, which was interrupted many times with phone calls by the head coach and exchange of pleasantries from passers by, has the following transcript as bits of the conversation between Tiger, the undercover players’ agent, and the Head Coach of the Super Eagles at WAFU 2017, Salisu Yusuf.
Tiger went straight to the point as usual and made known to Yusuf the agendum for the meeting and his proposal for him after exchanging pleasantries when he – Yusif - arrived for the meeting.
Tiger: Errm, we are monitoring two of your players.
Coach: (slightly bent towards Tiger with his right arm on his lap supporting his upper body and listening intently at what Tiger had to say) Uhh?
Tiger: I say we are looking at two of your players.
Coach: (Still bent over his lap) Okay.
Tiger: Errm, two of your players. Errm, Moses (Osas) Okoro,
Coach: (Assumes the former posture after being interrupted by passers-by) Umm?
Tiger: Moses (Osas) Okoro,
Coach: (Still bent over his lap) Okay. Tiger: The right back and then Rabiu Coach: Rabiu Ali.
Tiger: Ali Rabiu, the number 10. Coach: Okay.
Tiger: Yeah. We are seeing potentials in them and then, we have agencies that are looking at them too. So, we have agencies that are looking at them.
Tiger: Yeah. That are looking at them too. Errm, we know you have qualified for CHAN.
Coach: Ehh (Yes).
Tiger: So, we are just simply out here to see you as the coach and then encourage that you send them to CHAN too, so that we would continue (Coach laughs a bit) to monitor, we would follow you to CHAN. So, that I’ll monitor them (another passer-by interrupts the conversation), so that we’d continue to monitor them. And ten, we can then bring them in,
Coach: Ehh, yeah! (Nods his head to indicate understanding Tiger’s proposal as another passer-by interrupts the conversation, followed by a phone call from his brother in Nigeria and then another passerby). Errm, it’s not that they cannot go to CHAN, but we don’t know what would happen tomorrow. But they are part of the team. They are first-team players, so, here’s nothing that would stop them from going to CHAN, only maybe what we don’t pray for, injury or sickness. So, that’s no problem, eh?
Tiger: Okay. So, we can follow you to CHAN?
Coach: We don’t know where to play CHAN yet. Whether we’d play in Kenya or Morocco.
Tiger: I’m sure it’d be in Kenya, I’m very sure. I’m very certain. From my sources.
Coach: They say Kenya?
Coach: So, if you want to be in Kenya, apart from these two factors (another interruptions and exchange of pleasantries).
Tiger: Okay. So, no problem. We know they are good, so far, the games that they have played and we have watched them, we know that they are good. But you are the head coach, you also give them small time, small playing time, in (on) the big stages. (Laughs) Hahaha.
Coach: You see, in football, you have to be, it's supposed to be about, your consistency and form. If you are very consistent, you don’t have a problem (another interruption with a phone call).
Tiger: If you don’t mind, we can exchange contacts.
Coach: Okay. I have two numbers, +2348102991960.
Tiger: (After entering the number) Okay. Yusuf. Coach Yusuf.
(After struggling a little with the contact umbers, Tiger handed out an amount of $1,000 to Coach)
Tiger: Okay. Now we are going, so we have something for you (hands out a $,1000 to Coach).
Coach: (Laughs after collecting the money) Hahaha. Thank you. Tiger: This is $,1000.
Coach: Okay. Don’t worry, okay. (He exchanges handshakes to seal their deal as they part ways)
Tiger: Ehh! So, if anything goes through (Coach nods his head as he intently listens to Tiger) and those players get the contract, you would get 15% of the contracts.
Coach: (Coach nods his head in agreement to Tiger’s proposal) That’s no problem. Then, they would be in CHAN. (They finally part ways).
Meanwhile, Nigeria reached the final of CHAN, eventually losing 4-nil to hosts Morocco.
THIS IS BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION
The coach committed a sin, an infraction. When you are a coach, you owe a duty not just to the team, but to your country as well. Your job is to win games by using the best tactics as possible and the players that can help you achieve this. So first of all, selection of a player must be based on merit, your strategy, and tactics. You cannot allow financial, family ties, politics or personal reasons to determine who plays. Some may argue that, the Coach may have already selected the players or would have selected the players anyway since they are already on his team.
My answer is that we don’t know that for a fact. What we do know is that, the money and 15 % selling price of the players, offered the coach influenced the inclusion of the two players in that game irrespective of their form. If money was not an influencing factor, the coach could have simply said NO, I have already selected these two players or NO, these players are part of my team and come what may, they will play, or NO, this game I am not fielding these players because of a, b and c. But none of these occurred. He simply took the money and fielded the players. So, one can conveniently say the money and the 15 % promise of the selling price of the two players caused their inclusion in that particular match.
COACH COMMITTED NO CRIME
Lawyer Bukari has argued that the coach committed no crime because he did not demand for the money and 15% of the selling price of his players. His players were going to participate in CHAN 2018 Tournament anyway. Coaches are also entitled to 15% of sales of players. When the coach was offered the money, he did not make any promises. As a coach, he already knew who would play. The coach knew that the players were already on his list. So let’s call it HAPPY coincidence or a gift.
ALI RABIU AND OSAS OKORO
Indeed, Ali Rabiu and Osas Okoro, whom Tiger paid to be featured in the Super Eagles team of Nigeria, played at CHAN 2018 as per Tiger’s desires. Whether they were the best for their positions or were picked because of Tiger’s proposal remains a question to be answered by the court of the footballing masses.
The head coach of Ghana’s Accra Hearts of Oak, Frank Nuttal, was recently sacked for his admission for been involved in aiding, introducing and signing out players of the club to agents, including his own agency (NM Agency) and vice versa without the knowledge of the management of the club. He as well promised the players involved lucrative deals outside the shores of Ghana. Winful Cobinna, the team’s most sought-after playmaker; Kwame Kizito, a forward in the team; Thomas Abbey, captain for the team and Atinga, one of the team’s most dependable centre full-backs were some of the players involved in his escapades. These were mostly players with little time left on their contracts.
The WAFU 2017 Cup of Nations (which was dubbed, Ghana 2017) is an association football tournament that took place in September 2017 in Ghana with sixteen participating teams from West Africa, a sub confederation of CAF. The tournament was originally to be hosted at the Sekondi-Takoradi Esipong Sports Stadium and the Cape Coast Sports Stadium but had the Esipong Sports Stadium was set to change to the Elmina Nduom Sports Stadium by the local organizing committee due to structural defects at the Esipong Sports Stadium and the danger it could pose to fans during the tournament. The tournament had match officials and other football managers from most part of the continent to participate in the success of the tourney. But as the saying goes, “in every bunch of nuts, there is a rotten one” and the same happened at this tournament.
The tournament saw Ghana, the host nation facing their arch-rivals on the continent in the grand finale which Ghana thrashed Nigeria by 4:1 to lift the trophy.
Stay tuned for more