The chairman, Gombe State Football Association (FA) chairman and board member, Nigeria National League (NNL) Mallam Yakubu Sarma, has revealed why the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) under the leadership of Ibrahim Musa Gusau retained Portuguese tactician, Jose Peseiro, as Super Eagles coach.
According to Sarma, NFF did not want to repeat the mistake it made when it dismissed former coach, Gernot Rohr, weeks before the last Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) hosted in Cameroon.
He said Peseiro’s retention was not only for continuity but also part of the development process the NFF is working on. While expressing optimism that Peseiro will surpass the target set for him by the NFF, the Gombe State FA boss said it is high time for Nigeria to take a cue from Senegal and other countries that have made giant strides in youth football development.
“We are unperturbed when some people are making noise that Peseiro was retained as Super Eagles coach. His retention is part of the development process of the NFF. We know what happened with Gernot Rohr. A few days to AFCON, a lot of issues came and we dismissed him.
“And (Austin) Eguavoen had to come and start afresh and when he failed, everybody wanted his head. Nobody wants to look at it that he did not even have the opportunity to pick his own team. This same thing could have repeated itself now if the NFF board and the Ministry (of Sports Development) had not put heads together to salvage the situation.
“If we had allowed Peseiro to leave, then whoever you are bringing will start building his own team and AFCON is just some three or four months away and that could have been a problem. We have hope, the target for Peseiro is the semifinals but we want to believe that he will exceed that just like (Randy) Waldrum was able to meet his target. We want to believe too that Peseiro will meet his target with the right people on the ground.
“In football, there is nothing like a giant of Africa again. Every country is a giant as far as football is concerned. So you don’t take any country for granted. I think where we have got wrong in the past is that our developmental programs are very poor. We cannot just wake up overnight and just make a team. Take a cue from Senegal and some other countries, you will see that they have tried to develop their youth programs and there is consistency.
“I think that is one thing we lack in the past but with the Ibrahim Gusau-led board, we are trying to put our heads and house together and see that we have a developmental program,” Sarma told Sports Tribune in Abuja.
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