FIFA sanction: Don’t sweep this disgrace under the carpet, Abdulraman pleads
…Rohr, assistants should lose 3 months salary
Abdulraman Abdulrazak can be described as a soccer buff.. He is surely one. He is also deeply rooted in other sports and has rich ideas on sports development some of which we have harped on and published before.
He is of the opinion that many people, including Coach Gernot Rohr, his assistants, the technical staff and even board members responsible for Nigeria losing World Cup points by fielding an ineligible player should be sanctioned.
He described what happened as a shame and maintained that discipline must reign.
Abdularaman who is also the MD of First Fuels, an oil and gas company helped set up FC Abuja owned by the EFCC,when Nuhu Ribadu held sway. The objective was to have a premier division club. Nuhu’s departure from the anti-corruption agency did not help that dream come true.
Notwithstanding, Abdulraman is still grounded in sports and remains a respected voice in Nigerian sports, particularly football.
He was angry that just when Nigerians were still in the euphoria the World Cup qualification brought about, the FIFA sanction came as a sudden reality check which points to the fact that all was not well yet, a few years after Nigeria missed in the defence of the Africa Cup of Nations trophy the Eagles won in South Africa in 2013 due to poor knowledge of the rules of the game.
In 2014, Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2015 AFCON held in Equatorial Guinea thus losing the trophy the Super Eagles won in South Africa without kicking a ball.
In the last group qualifier against Guinea in Abuja, after 2-0 victory away in Point Noire a fortnight earlier, a win for Nigeria would have safely landed them in Equatorial Guinea, regardless of the outcome of the game between the Falcons and the Red Devils of Congo in Sudan.
Tough as the encounter was, the Eagles were leading 2-1 in the second half of the gruelling encounter. Not satisfied with the margin and, not sure if that could qualify them for Equatorial Guinea, Coach Sampson Siasia urged his players to go all out for more goals.
The entire outfield players, including the back line swoop on the visitors’ half, leaving the goalkeeper unprotected. One counter attack by the Guineans resulted in the equaliser that denied Nigeria the chance to go to defend the trophy the Eagles won a year earlier.
It was a clear case of not being conversant with the rules of the game as a 2-1 victory would have been enough if they defended well and maintained that scoreline to the end.
Early this month, the technical department of the Nigeria Football Federation again come under focus after the FIFA sanction on Nigeria for fielding of an ineligible player against Algeria in the last group match of the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier in Constantine, Algeria. Abdulrazak Abdulraman has questioned the competence of both the technical department and the leadership of the NFF over the matter. He has recommended sweeping sanctions across board.
“Rohr and his technical crew members should lose three months’ salary,” an angry Abdulraman said, asking, “what would have been the story if Nigeria’s qualification for the World Cup was dependent on that match?”
He said the entire NFF hierarchy, “from the President, the board members, the technical committee to head of the technical department are all guilty of negligence. How could a whole federation forget that one of its players who had been given two yellow cards therefore, not eligible to play the next match?”
The former FC Abuja bigwig therefore recommended what some might see as harsh reprisals for the NFF President, board members, the technical department staff and the technical crew.
Apart from recommending a three month pay forfeiture for the national head coach, Rohr and members of his technical crew, Abdulraman said the President, Amaju Pinnick and all his board members should forfeit their allowances for three months. “I gather they are on allowances, which means they too can forfeit their allowances as penalty for the disgrace they brought to this country,” he contended.
He is also recommending the total overhaul of the NFF Technical department. “If they were up to their duties, this embarrassment could have been avoided and Nigeria’s World Cup goals and points would not have been lost to Algeria, who couldn’t beat us on the pitch.”
Abdulraman did not spare the player in the middle of the storm, Shehu Abdullahi. “If any other person forgot, how could he, the recipient of two yellow cards forget?” he asked.
“Perhaps the bonus and other allowances were too attractive to him that he kept it to himself,” he reasoned, insisting that he, too deserved some form of punishment.
Although this is not an official explanation, some have argued that Shehu Abdullahi’s first yellow card came during the reign of Sunday Oliseh in the first preliminary match of the qualifiers against Switzerland in 2015 and the second card was against Zambia.
The NFF and indeed, the technical crew thought, wrongly though, that the first card would not count during the group stage and so went ahead to field Abdullahi, who by FIFA rule was ineligible to play.
“This is rubbish,” Abdulraman said. “Don’t they know the rule? It is disheartening to hear things like this. It is embarrassing and we must not take it seriously and I am not happy the way they are trying to sweep this national embarrassment under the carpet.
It is like business as usual, everybody seems to have suddenly forgotten it. The NFF must be seen to be acting on this matter. Enough is enough.”
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Click here to read the full text by Nwafor Polycarp