The recent row the Nigeria national team manager had with Vincent Enyeama which forced the record appearance holder to quit international football reveals that Oliseh’s demons of years past have not been completely exorcised.
When the former Juventus player first burst unto the international scene as a precociously talented teenager and the natural successor to a fading Stephen Keshi, it was evident that Nigeria had found the perfect foil to enable the unbelievable attacking ability of Okocha, Kanu and Finidi to flourish.
One of the youngest Eagles at the time, he was enjoying faovurs from the gods.
He was one of only three players who were part of the teams that won the 1994 AFCON title, played at the World Cup that same year and claimed the Olympic gold medal two years later.
And after his wonder goal earned Africa’s largest nation an unlikely victory over Spain in France 98, Oliseh’s legend was sealed among his countrymen.
It was shaping up to be a splendid career when the Delta State-born midfielder moved from Ajax to Juventus in a widely celebrated transfer.
Then the demons appeared!
At first, his first team chances at Juventus were limited and he became frustrated.
Only a year and just 8 Serie A games later, Oliseh was back in Germany with Borrusia Dortmund. Things were looking a bit up when he was to skipper his darling Eagles to the AFCON 2002.
And the demons reappeared! Sunday Oliseh let his anger got the better of him, picked a quarrel with the administrators and spat in the face of the country’s football bosses.
Consequence to his actions, the FA punished him for his indiscipline but Oliseh wouldn’t stomach that drop of horseshit.
And when Chief Onigbinde refused to name him in the squad that was to represent Nigeria at the Korea Japan World Cup, the ex-Reggiana midfielder snapped. The next moment, he announced his international retirement.
Matters went downhill from there instead of up. While out on loan at Bochum from Dortmund, a teammate squared up to Oliseh on the training ground and the 6ft tall Nigerian nonsensically flattened the aggressor with a sucker punch.
Both Bochum and Dortmund wouldn’t tolerate that gross misconduct and Sunday’s contract was terminated.
Trust the strong headed pitbull, he didn’t apologise and after a brief stint in Belgium he hanged his boots for good.
At age 31, when the likes of Makelele, Van Der Saar, Okocha and Xavi were playing their best football, Oliseh, one of Nigeria’s finest footballers, retired.
His demons had won.
After a while in the footballing wilderness, Oliseh resurfaced as the manager of the same side he skippered over a decade ago. His appointment was well received and hailed by young and old alike.
He was the Chosen One.
Not a few believed he is the best man to take the Super Eagles forward.
Then the demons came again.
His team goes unbeaten in his first two games in charge, then he mismanages the captainship issue with Vincent Enyeama which forces the latter to quit playing for the national side.
A few hours later, Oliseh tasted his first defeat as Super Eagles coach to less fancy Congo DR.
He sure rallied to ochestrate a pleasing 3-0 win over Cameroun but that appeared more like glossing over apparent cracks in the wall.
It really doesn’t seem as if Sunday Oliseh is free from his heady disposition and fiery temperament.
Just like when he was a player, Sunday Oliseh as the potential to go as far as he desires in his chosen field but first he has to get rid of the demons that can so halt his destiny untimely and ultimately.