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Nigerian Football: Sunday Oliseh left because of "juju"

After eight months in charge, Sunday Oliseh announced his resignation as coach of the Super Eagles in a pair of tweets which took many by surprise early on Friday morning. Claiming that he had not got support from the Nigeria Football Federation as well as having his assistants and players go unpaid, Oliseh threw in the towel and, in that one act, looked to have stuck up the middle finger to everyone who has criticized him over the past few weeks. “I feel fortunate, blessed and eternally grateful for having had the honour to play, captain & coach this great nation of ours, Nigeria,” Oliseh wrote. “Due to contract violations, lack of support, unpaid wages, benefits to my players, asst. coaches & myself, I resign as Super Eagles Chief Coach.” For someone of his calibre and temperament, it did not come as a surprise that he would quit so early because Oliseh has always been one to react swiftly to events, often times out of anger. 

When he took over in July 2015 with promises of turning around Nigerian football following the sacking of Stephen Keshi, a long suffering and measured character, Oliseh’s youth and ideas brought a lot of hope. However, events of recent months have come to show that he was his worst enemy, with a combustible approach to opposition and opposing voices. Despite his education and general worldliness, the 41-year-old lacked the tact and maturity to manage men. Oliseh’s reign must be placed in perspective: under him, Nigeria lost, in acrimonious circumstances, the services of Vincent Enyeama, a hero of immeasurable proportions, a captain who led from the back with glorious save after save in a decade-long international career.

The coach’s resignation was timely as he had begun to lose the support of his backroom staff. He became suspicious that someone wanted to do him in with juju and he ordered them to stop dipping hands in their pockets while speaking to him. Events such as the retirement of Enyeama distracted from Oliseh's work He had also tried to get key backroom staff sacked, actions that were rebuffed by the federation as officials told him that matters like this were beyond his remit. A backroom source said there was much rejoicing when the news of his resignation came through on Friday.

An informed source said there was the likelihood that Oliseh had also lost his influence with some of the players after telling media that they would not turn up for future games if their bonuses were not paid. The NFF is said to have found out that the coach might have tried to instigate the players, many of whom were unwilling to turn their backs on their country. There was also the issue of media distrust after he claimed that certain journalists had asked for bribes in order to give him favourable coverage in a blog post as well as in his now infamous YouTube rant. The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria had asked him to come clean over his sweeping remarks or be ready for war.

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Cameroon Concord  is an online publication covering and reporting on  local and world news, sports, entertainment, politics, business, and religious news. Serving Cameroonians .

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