Earlier this month, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) took a bold decision to sack Gernot Rohr as the coach of the Nigerian national team.
The decision did not come as a surprise, though, but the timing was shocking as it came just four weeks before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Nonetheless, while Rohr might feel disappointed, it was the right decision. It was clear the Super Eagles had regressed under the German, and a new direction was needed.
While the team did qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations and sealed their spot in the 2022 World Cup playoffs under him, the performance was a hard one to take for Nigerian fans, which made Rohr’s position untenable.
However, while Rohr deserved to go, it is unlikely to change the Super Eagles fortunes, no thanks to the embarrassing behaviour of the NFF president Amaju Pinnick.
Ever since he got elected in 2014, Pinnick has made many wrong decisions that have been detrimental to the development of football in Nigeria.
But the latest one could cost the Super Eagles the little chance they have in winning the AFCON and a place in the World Cup.
Following the sacking of Rohr, former Nigeria international Austin Eguavoen was appointed as the interim boss, pending the appointment of a permanent coach.
It was expected that Eguavoen would lead the team to Cameroon. But surprisingly, with just two weeks to go, Pinnick told journalists on Thursday that a foreign manager would be appointed next week as the team’s permanent boss.
But it is a decision that does not help the team, especially with just two weeks before the start of the competition.
While other teams are busy naming their squad for the competition, the three-time African champions are still unsure who leads them to Cameroon.
This is an act of irresponsibility on the part of the NFF, led by Pinnick. The 51-year-old added that he asked Roma coach Jose Mourinho and ex-Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger for recommendations as the NFF searches for a permanent replacement for Rohr.
Aside from the fact that it is probably Pinnick making himself the centre of attention and he did not meet any of the two coaches, the information does not in any way benefit the team.
Pinnick has shown over time that he likes playing to the gallery and cares about his image. So it will not be ridiculous to say that his words were just to satisfy his ego, and he did not talk to any of the two great managers.
Although bringing in another foreign manager to replace Rohr is not a bad decision, the timing is odd, especially with just two weeks before the commencement of AFCON.
The new manager will not have enough time to prepare the team, given most of the players will only arrive just a week before the competition starts due to their club commitments.
And with that in mind, the logical thing to do will be to allow Eguavoen to take the team to Cameroon. After all, the former Gent defender is familiar with most of these players as he was the technical adviser to the NFF before Rohr was sacked.
As of now, Nigerian fans still do not know the players that will represent the country when the competition kicks off on January 9, which is a shame.
This is not an ideal situation for the team, and it only shows that Pinnick is only concerned about his image and not what is best for the team.
And it is not just about the Super Eagles alone. Football in Nigeria has declined under him. The youth teams have failed to qualify for the World Cup in recent years, while the Super Falcons are a shadow of their former self.
The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) has not improved under his watch. Last week, it was announced that Enyimba had been booted out of the CAF Confederations Cup for what is not their fault.
Yet, Pinnick, one of the CAF representatives on the FIFA executive council, could not help the People’s Elephants fight their case.
But while this is a piece for another day, his handling of the Super Eagles managerial situation could cost the team a decent outing in the AFCON and potentially a World Cup spot.
It is time he stops making himself the centre of attention and does what is best for the team.