Finidi, Osimhen and the Super Eagles 

By Fred Edoreh 
I really do not think that Osimhen should be shut up. Perhaps he should have toned down his protest, given that Finidi is his elder and senior in the profession, but he has a right to defend himself against the attempt by Finidi to put the blame of the Super Eagles looming failure to make the 2026 World Cup on him.
According to him, he copped an injury in his club’s game against Lecce, and he promptly informed the coach. He also said he pleaded with the coach to let him however be in camp with the players, but Finidi refused, asking him to stay with his family.
If so, why would Finidi turn round to blame him for the losses, saying that he cannot beg him to play for the Super Eagles?
That, ordinarily is unfair. Football is a physical game and it comes with injuries which keep players out from time to time. We also saw that our lone goal scorer against South Africa, Dele-Bashiru, also copped an injury that kept him out of the game against Benin Republic.
On the other hand, it is possible that Finidi did not believe that Osimhen had an injury, or that his injury was serious enough to keep him out. On that, all he needed to do was to contact the player’s club doctors who will surely furnish him with the true situation. So far, there is no evidence that he had a contradictory fact.
Should Osimhen even have feigned injury, it speaks to the issue of player-coach relations. If the coach is a good and inspiring manager, players would want to play for him. If he does not build good communication and interpersonal relations, this kind of situation will occur, and Finidi’s attempt to openly put the blame on the player speaks to how he has related with him.
If you cannot inspire a player to play for you, then you cannot blame him for your failure.
But, beyond Osimhen, I do not rate any coach who will say the fate of his team depends on just one player. Granted that he is a big player, but with other attackers, any good manager can still rejig his team, re-adjust his approach to still get result.
In fact, even during a match, the so called big player can get an injury early in the game or bag a red card, and a good coach will have to adjust with other players. After all, it is a senior national team in which all the players invited by the coach are expected to be up to the task.
I do not accept Finidi’s make-believe or excuse that we lost our games because of Osimhen’s absence. In the tragic game against Benin Republic, we lost the game in the defence.
The defenders were horrible in the two goals against us. In the first goal, I still do not understand how the last men would not understand the elementary rule of not letting the ball bounce in front of you.
The second goal was even worse for intelligence. Before then, an opponent had roughly tackled and rattled Nwabili to provocation in a corner kick situation which often leads to loss of concentration.
Seeing that he was easily offended and lost his cool, almost going for a fight, the opponents knew to make him uncomfortable again in another corner kick situation, by coming close to him.
In fact, the referee saw the situation and went to have a word with the opponent. In all that, there was no attempt by our players to stay close to him, to defend him and give him confidence.
When the kick was taken, Nwabili panicked and rushed out without any clear calculation.
We had the same situation in the AFCON final against Ivory Coast.
Seeing that kind of defence, I still want to hear from Finidi why he dropped William Troost-Ekong from the team, from the defence and from the captainship. He was great in our defense at the AFCON. He was a great organiser, on pitch and off pitch, and, in fact, even scored more goals than the forwarders.
Why did Finidi drop him? Did he also plead injury? Or is it the same tendency by our ex-international indigenous coaches to low down current stars in the team just to hunch their ego, like we saw between Sunday Oliseh, Vincent Enyeama and Mikel Obi?
Why do they always have to do that?
We will always celebrate Stephen Keshi for his success as coach of the Super Eagles, but that now seems like an albatross on us, with virtually every player of the Super Eagles ’94 set claiming entitlement to coach the national team.
Clearly, while they all played well, they all cannot transmit to good coaches. Even Maradona turned out to be a horrible coach.
We also can celebrate Siasia for his u20 and Olympic team successes, just as we will do Amunike for his victory with the u17, but we have seen them all at the senior level in the continent – Oliseh, Amunike in Tanzania, Amokachi, Eguavoen. With Enyimba, Finidi also proved nothing in the continent. So on what basis was he rated to handle the Super Eagles in a World Cup campaign?
We have also had and still have a number of them in the Technical Committee of the NFF. In fact, after the hype which followed Eguavoen’s take over from Rohr, the subsequent flop at the Cameroon 2021 AFCON and the ultimate failure to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup as finally undertaken by Eguavoen and Amunike, Eguavoen has remained the Technical Director of the NFF, and all this Finidi saga is happening under his technical watch too.
Then, to the NFF, I do not understand how they could have appointed Daniel Amokachi as Assistant Coach on the condition of no salary and involvement in team campaigns only on needs basis. What sort of employment was that? How inspiring is it for anybody? Alas, Finidi had no assistant, no second opinion, and we could see how the team was stagnated on ideas.
Given all these, I feel that Osimhen is not the issue. There is no basis for the comparison of how Finidi in his playing days won more laurels than him. We are no longer discussing Finidi as a player but as a coach and he did not prove his mettle in the two competitive games he has played, which now has brought our World Cup qualification hope into serious jeopardy.
Let us be honest to ourselves to re-examine the trajectories of the Super Eagles for the past 10 or so years and try to locate and situate the real problem, and leave this scapegoat distraction being foisted on Osimhen by Finidi.
I am not falling for it…
Fred Edoreh, a respectable journalist and an authority in nigerian sport, was a two term chairman of Lagos SWAN.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button