Despite rekindled hope of playing in the next Africa Cup of Nations, the Super Eagles cannot be said to have given Nigerians reward for their passion following their unimpressive outings. In this interview with Chigozie Chukwuleta, FC Bayern Youth Cup Nigeria Tournament Director/VOE Foundation Founder, Victor Edeh gave an insight on possible ways to pull the Super Eagles out of the muddy waters of nonperformance.
What is your impression of the football dwindling fortunes in Nigeria especially the Super Eagles?
These are strong terms to describe our darling Super Eagles but there is an argument that you make your own luck. The FIFA rankings are out and the effect of poor performances in the past 24 months are beginning to show. The resources are there for the Eagles to be consistently challenging on all fronts.
What do you think went wrong or the contributing factor?
The FIFA rankings are based off a mathematical model over a period and it is available for every one to use as they see fit. Poland used it favourably in the period leading up to the 2018 World Cup to secure top seed and avoid the big names of world football. These things should never be left to luck. Whenever the Eagles play, whether it is the home based Eagles or the main team, it counts towards our ranking and can be used to affect it negatively or positively.
There is also the question of our dire need of qualified coaches at grassroots level due to non-organisation of CAF coaching courses in Nigeria for over 5years. The state/lack of adequate sports infrastructure and lack of appropriate competitions to engage and support athletes who want to pursue sports as a career play a big part in all that is wrong.
With your knowledge and experience, what do you think can be done to get the Super Eagles back on the glory lane?
It’s not rocket science. Our strategic plan and goals for the Super Eagles should be clearly defined so that stakeholders can see what we are trying to achieve and be able to measure how well or far off the mark the team is performing.
A focus of supporting the coaches in their education and grassroots with adequate infrastructure and support will go a long way. The most important part of the piece is offering a truly professional, competitive and rewarding NPFL where the best players being developed in Nigeria and Africa are proud to participate. This would reverse the current tide of our best players choosing to languish in 5-9th leagues in Europe over playing in the top tier at home. In a nutshell, the NFF are responsible for developing and promoting the game in Nigeria and they will play a major role in delivering sporting success to our dear nation.
Do you think the down fortunes of the Super Eagles has effect on the other national teams?
The Super Eagles and other national teams have a lot in common. They all share the same management resources and utilise the same infrastructure. The only difference is the playing personnel. With this in mind, the external factors affecting the Eagles definitely affects the other teams and I might argue with more devastating effects as the Eagles enjoy the largest and choicest pick of available resources.
Your interest in female football is not hidden, as the Super Falcons set out to do Nigeria proud at the next world cup, what is your word to them?
This is a simple one. I hope the preparatory tournaments are adequate for the team personnel to iron out any creases and come up with solutions to questions they were asked at the AFCON and at recent tournaments in North America. The Super Falcons are the most successful nation team in Nigeria and I believe in Africa as well. All of Nigeria and our continent are proud of the Falcons and will be rooting for them at the World Cup. I am hoping to cheer them in person again, like I have done at their previous World Cup appearances.