Saturday, December 25, 2010


Newly appointed national U-23 Eagles coach Austin Eguavoen reveals his plans for the challenges ahead and also explains how Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia can succeed in this interview with BAMIDELE BOLUWAJI
Let met start by congratulating you on the U-23 Eagles job?
Thank you my brother.
Sir, don’t you see this job as a demotion in your coaching career after handling the senior national team, the Super Eagles?
No. It is not a demotion because as a coach, one must always be ready to take up challenges. I am a Nigerian and whenever my country want me to serve her, I would always be ready. This job is not a personal job, it is a call to national duty and I must be ready to contribute my quota. The important thing is what I want to contribute and what I want my country to achieve from my contribution.
Personally, what do you think you can contribute to the junior team?
The U-23 Eagles job is like a building process for the Super Eagles and this requires the services of an experienced coach. If we can have quality players now, we can be rest assured of the future that some set of players will move on to play for the Super Eagles, but that also depends on the programme we have on ground.
So, what are your plans for the U-23 Eagles and how do you intend to raise a quality team?
My plan is to come up with a strong team and I want to achieve this by moving round to watch league matches and also go to places where football is being played in this country to get players  that have good qualities and are still within the age bracket. Nigeria is well blessed with talented players, all I just need is an effort to go out there and get them. I will also seek for support from those I think can be of help.
Like coach Samson Siasia?
Yes, Siasia has handled the U-23 team before, he knows what it takes to build a team of that age cadre and his record at that level speaks volume. So, I will definitely seek for Siasia’s help and advise in achieving good results. I am just the Head Coach but it is our collective project and I will not hesitate to contact anyone I feel can contribute positively to the project. Siasia has been very close to players of that age group and I will definitely need his assistance.
What programme do you have for the U-23 Eagles now?
Like I said earlier, I will move round the league venues and shortlist names of the quality players I am able to see and by the first week of February, I will invite all of them to camp for the first phase of screening where I will also be able to see them again. I would have done that in January but I discovered that the programme of the NFF will be tight then, mostly with the U-20 and the Super Eagles programmes. Though, it is a proposal, by the time I see Dr. Ikpeme, I will discuss it with him and see what we can achieve from that. But basically, some players would be picked at the first phase of  camping while some will be dropped and from there, I will start monitoring more players till we get what we want.
But is your scouting exercise going to be limited to the domestic league only? I mean, are you not going to invite any player from abroad?
What I am planning for now is to start from home front  and later look outside and see the players we can bring in to make the team very strong, but I must state here that only few of them who are within the age bracket and playing regularly would be considered.
Coach, I should also ask you this question. Do you think you can do better than coach Samson Siasia who took the team to the Olympics final in 2008?
I am not competing against the achievement of anybody. Siasia was given a job and God helped him and he reached the final of the Olympics. Now he is not there, somebody else is there and I happened to be the one. My target and promise is that I will do my best and I pray that God helps me to even do better than what Siasia did in 2008. If God helps me to win the gold, it will be to the glory of this nation, Siasia who is also a Nigerian and everyone in this country.
What kind of support do you think you need to succeed as the U-23 Eagles coach?
I need  the maximum support I can get from the FA, other coaches, journalists and the entire nation. This team is not my personal property, it belongs to all of us and we must all work together to ensure that we achieve positive results.
Very soon, the Olympic Games qualifiers will kick off. How are you preparing for the challenges?
Yes, I am ready to give my best, preparation has already started with what I have told you so far. We are just waiting for next year to come  when the time table will be roled out and from there, things will begin to happen.
Away from the U-23 Eagles, do you have any regret leaving the Super Eagles job?
No. I have no regret, I knew that a coaching job is not permanent and all over the world, coaches are bound to come and go. Super Eagles is a national team and everyone should be given the opportunity to contribute, not just to contribute but to contribute positively. I have no regret and I have no grudges against the new coach. Samson is a good friend and I will do my best to support him to do well in the team.
Nigerians were wondering that you did not re-apply for the Super Eagles job when it was thrown open. Can you tell us more?
I did not apply for personal reasons because at the time, NFF were planning to make changes in the technical crew of the Super Eagles. We all knew what happened and how Nigerians clamoured for Siasia. Applying for the job at that time would have been a waste of time and more so, I was just brought in by the NFF to help in the interim after the exit of coach Lars Lagerback from the team. Aside that, Siasia and I are good friends and more so, I had been told about the new assignment the NFF wanted me to handle. There is no doubt, Siasia was a popular choice. Nigerians believe so much in him and he had also proved that in the previous teams he had handled.
Do you think the choice of Siasia was the best for the Super Eagles?
I think so. This is a person who has played the game before, he knows most of the players and he has been around for quite sometimes now, so making him the coach of the Super Eagles is quite good and I am sure he would do his best again.
Don’t you think Stephen Keshi would have done better than Siasia?
The issue of comparison should not be brought in at this time. Both of them are Nigerians, it is just that someone has to be there at a particular time. What should top every patriotic Nigerian’s mind is how the Super Eagles can do well at the next Nations Cup and the World Cup. For me, I look beyond personality and I believe that NFF has made a good choice we must all support.
As a former coach of the Super Eagles, how do you think Siasia can succeed?
Siasia is a well experienced coach though the Super Eagles  job is different from the U-20 and U-23 teams. The most important thing is the programme he has for the team and the kind of support he gets. Aside this, he needs to stamp his authority on the team by ensuring that there is total commitment from players and high level of discipline.
Do you think the Super Eagles need a code of conduct to do better?
Well, I think we have matured players in the team, though code of conduct depends on what it is set out to achieve. But we can still have  well disciplined players without it. I am sure that the present coach will learn from the mistakes of the past and make necessary corrections to excel.
How do you think Siasia’s recent trip abroad can help the Super Eagles?
Oh yes, it would definitely help him but the report I am having about the snow situation in Europe is not encouraging. However, if we look at it properly, it is a good move and we need to commend the NFF because it has clearly shown that the football house value indigenous coaches as well.
Siasia said he will stick to Joseph Yobo as the Super Eagles captain, what is your reaction to this?
The choice is his, he knows what he wants and he knows how best he can go about it. I have worked with Yobo before and I can describe him as a cool headed guy, very committed and hard working.
But you never had the opportunity of travelling to Europe to monitor Super Eagles players just like Siasia, how would you react to this?
This is a different administration and things keep changing, we just pray for more to come.
You handled the Super Eagles to win one and lost one in the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers, do you think Nigeria can still make it?
We have only played two games with three points, and we still have four more matches to play, Nigeria will definitely qualify. My plan was to win the two matches but of course, we all know the problem we had then. There were lots of injuries, so the players couldn’t really give their best but even with that, Nigeria will still qualify.
Then the issue of the Nigerian coaches that will assist Siasia, what is your take on this?
That is the decision of the NFF but I think Siasia needs somebody he can work with. Somebody that will share the same dream with him so that we can see a better team soon.
What about the choice of Simeon Kalika?
I think that issue has been settled right from day one because Siasia has made it clear right from the start that he wanted Kalika because of the good working relationship he had with him in the past. If he does not believe in him, he wouldn’t have asked for him, so, I don’t think there is any problem with that.
Then, how will you react to the issue of friendly matches for the Super Eagles?
It is good to play friendly games but it has to be timely and purposeful. I think both Siasia and NFF will be able to work out something on that.
Finally, what advise do you have for Siasia?
The only thing I can say is to wish him well

Ghana To Build Hotel With $11m 2010 World Cup Cash

Ghana are considering investing the US$11m earned from the 2010 World Cup in the construction of a three-star hotel as a camping base for the country’s national teams.
The financial reward of Ghana’s participation in the tournament will be channeled towards the hotel at the Ghanaman Soccer Centre of Excellence at Prampram in the Dangbe West District of Greater Accra Region.
The hotel with an Olympic-size swimming pool amongst other facilities will serve as a major camping base for the various national teams and also operate as an income generating venture.
Ghana reaped 11 million US Dollars after taxes for reaching the last eight of the first ever Mundial on African soil, South Africa and Ms Akua Sena Dansua, Minister of Youth and Sports said at an interaction with the media on Tuesday that the hotel facility was amongst the consideration of a legacy project for the country.
Ms Dansua said there were many proposals with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) in respect to the legacy project and the three-Star hotel project received an almost positive response.
“The parties have not finalized discussions, and the project can only take off after all parties have consented to it.
But for the recent problems between the GFA and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), discussions would have been advanced according to the Minister.
Ms Dansua confirmed that the cash was still in Government coffers and will be channeled through for the approved project at the right time


Mr. Fix It To Explain How He Spent N1.3b On ‘PR’
To Be Quizzed For Another N180m Spent By His Wife
To Explain N80m COJA Expenditure Involving His Son-In-Law
To Get Bail On Provision Of His International Passport

Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency has begun quizzing suspended FIFA executive member, Amos Adamu, over allegations of corruption.
“We invited Adamu after he finally arrived in the country on Friday and he has been at our office in Abuja since Wednesday morning,” disclosed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) spookesman, Femi Babafemi.
“For now, the investigations are on and we do not know when he will be allowed to leave our offices.”
Babafemi said that the anti-corruption body is interrogating Adamu over how the 24 billion naira (about 190 million dollars) budget for the 2003 All Africa Games of which he was the chief executive was spent.
Adamu will also have to explain another 1.3 billion naira, which he purportedly spent as “PR”, Babafemi added.
He also said Adamu is being quizzed for another 180 million naira in an affair concerning his wife as well as 80 million naira expenditure involving his son-in-law.
Complete Sports could not confirm if Dr Adamu was allowed to go home last night but Babafemi said the suspended FIFA executive committee member can only be granted bail if he submits his international passport.
The suspended CAF official had early this month asked Nigeria’s high court to keep authorities in the country from investigating him over the World Cup vote-selling scandal.
The requested order says Nigeria’s anti-graft bodies, police and courts “lack the authority” to question Adamu, who was banned for three years by the ethics panel for world football’s governing body on November 18 after being linked to bribe-taking in a British newspaper’s undercover sting.

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