Every manager wants a sane environment for players – devoid of distractions, overblown stories and dangerous insinuations but there’s a thin line
Criticism is not condemnation, except when the motive is clearly ignoble.
Every nation is built on a strong media, constructive in their criticism and fearless to tell it as they feel. Journalists are to make stories, regardless of who is involved or their personal relationships with the subject.
Randy Waldrum described the Nigerian media as ‘very negative’ in response to the criticisms the team received against South Africa.
First, journalists are Nigerians, and are mentally and emotionally attached to the Super Falcons and every Nigerian team. Next, they must dissect, analyse and point out frailties when they see them and commend when impressed.
For reiteration, the Super Falcons were poor against the Banyana Banyana and it’s not the first of flat performances by the team under Waldrum. That they were criticised afterwards was in response to the weaknesses shown by the team in its setup and deployment.
Waldrum is coaching Nigeria – the biggest nation in African women’s football and nine-time champions. Of all the things ever desired by man, victory tastes best and anything but it is hardly acceptable.
Losing to rivals, South Africa is possible, but losing without a bite and in a drab manner as the Super Falcons did on Monday will always come with criticism.
The Super Falcons were much better on Thursday against Botswana and they’ve received praises in equal measure. Waldrum isn’t managing an American college soccer team this time. It’s the Super Falcons and anything but triumph is dubbed failure.
Every Nigerian wants the team to win a 10th WAFCON and in a worst-case scenario, qualify for the World Cup. That South African game saw Nigerians press the panic button and that’s what one expects of football fans.
To deny the Nigerian media some form of access to the team is his choice and it will be respected. He has the final say on what has to be done to find the conditions best for the team. He takes the fall when results are negative. However, tagging the media ‘very negative’ because of criticisms is evident of a man who’s yet to realise the weight of his job.
“Honestly, media in Nigeria is very negative. We don’t want a distraction in our team,” Waldrum said.
“We are trying to qualify for the World Cup & the teams must be isolated,” he said.
The Super Falcons is for Nigeria and Nigerians. They are attached in various forms to their team.
Criticism will always come and the team will be hailed when the performance is positive. Waldrum must realise he’s managing the best team on the continent and must show it.
Every performance will come with its deserving appraisal and no, the Nigerian media is not negative, they’re doing their job. Waldrum has the responsibility of understanding this. It’s part of the job he took.