Although it had been rumoured on social media for a while now that the NFF will recycle controversial coaches for the various under-age national teams, the cat is now out of the bag.
Salisu Yusuf is the Under-23 and Chan Super Eagles coach, Ladan Bosso the Under-20 coach and Nduka Ugbade the Under-17 coach.
These names on the face of it instantly conjure an image of failure on the pitch and financial irregularities off it. They have been associated with national team failures and alleged bribery and corruption in team selection.
But is it enough to write them off? Salisu Yusuf shot himself in the foot by being embroiled in bribery scandal in 2018. Although filmed taking money, however, there was no evidence that the cash received by the the then 56 year old Salisu Yusuf affected any decisions he made in the player selection process ahead of the CHAN tournament.
But that wasn’t good enough as his reputation was forever tainted. Sad, because for me Salisu is a competent coach. He has won the NPFL title once and has won the the Nigerian FA Cup twice. He has a compelling coaching philosophy that won silver for the Super Eagles B team twice. His recent attachment to the recently failed Super Eagles outfit makes him more repulsive to fans.
But, if one strips off the controversies that trail Salisu, I expect him to do well in his current appointment.
Ladan Bosso, 49 years old, now has a third bite of the Under-20 cherry having led the team to failure twice. He served as an assistant to several Under-17 national team head coaches before he himself was appointed head coach of the unsuccessful Under-20 national team that went to the 2007 World Cup.
He would also manage the 2009 Under-20 national team in the world cup qualifiers but was sacked. Having managed clubs like Wikki Tourist, Niger Tornadoes, Bayelsa United (where he had most success to date without winning the league), Abia Warriors, El-Kanemi and Ifeanyi Ubah FC, Bosso has no trophies to write home about.
Having said that, I was impressed with how his Under-20 team played at the 2020 Wafu Cup. Although they he failed (again!) I thought poor pitch and poor officiating played major roles in his team’s failure. The boys played a decent brand of football.
I am not too gloomy about his appointment this time around as I am expectant of a more positive outcome at least on a continental level. I think he would have learnt valuable lessons from his recent failures that can propel him to moderate success. (I hope!).
Coach Nduka Ugbade is more known for his Under-17 heroics as being the first captain on earth to lift the trophy in the tournament’s inaugural edition in 1985. Coaching wise, he also has nothing to write home about. Yes he was assistant to Manu Garba in the 2013 under-17 world cup winning team. But when in MFM fc and Remo Stars, his accomplishments were basic at best. In fact it was rumoured that some NFF officials kicked against his appointment but he is here against popular demand. Just like the rest of these controversial appointments, I hope Nduka makes the best of his latest role as Under-17 head coach. Perhaps he can replicate, as a coach, what he achieved with the team as a player!
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