Salisu Yusuf's Super Eagles recall: A moral burden on the NFF

Mixed reactions have trailed the re-instalment of the suspended Salisu Yusuf as the Super Eagles first assistant coach and the head coach of the Home Based Super Eagles otherwise known as the CHAN Eagles by the Nigeria Football Federation, (NFF).

Salisu Yusuf

Most of the reactions border on the morality of the Nigeria Football Federation's decision and integrity question hanging on the neck of the coach for accepting one thousand dollars from a 'football agent' to field two players in the squad to the 2018 CHAN.

Caught in the act

The former Enyimba coach was a victim of a sting operation by Ghanaian investigative journalist, Anas Ayew.

Salisu Yusuf was recorded while accepting the token to field the reporter's players who posed as a football agents.

The secret filming of Salisu being caught in the act went viral and he was suspended immediately by the NFF.

The case was swiftly referred to the ethics committee to investigate the role played by Salisu in the said video.

The conviction

The committee "found as a fact from the documentary and video evidence before it, that he accepted the cash gift of $1,000.

And he was consequently banned from all football-related activities at both national and international level" slamming a fine of five thousand dollars along with the ban.

The coach accepted he collected the cash but as a gift that the players were selected based on merit.

Anyways he served his one year ban and the Super Eagles moved on appointing Imama Amakpakabo as his replacement then.

The one-year suspension elapsed in September 2019 and the NFF announced the re-instalment of the coach two years after his suspension elapsed, citing competence as the basis for the re-appointment.

The coach will resume by November 1st, 2021 after he was recommended by the technical committee to the Executive Committee " for his match–reading ability, calm demeanor and proficiency in talent discovery and development, "according to a statement released by the NFF media.

The moral burden on the NFF

This decision of the football body put the morality of the NFF into serious scrutiny on why the NFF should involve a man that has failed a huge integrity test in the past.

By this decision, the NFF has just set a standard on how to treat coaches that are caught in the act of taking 'gift' to Influence players' selection.

"All he or she will get is a year ban, and they can return to the job" what an antecedent.

The NFF also missed the opportunity to clear the doubts on ordinary Nigerians minds about the integrity of the body especially when it comes to the selection of players into the national team, that it is not strictly by merits, that who to invite or be selected to play for the national team's have other considerations apart from merit alone.

The appointment of Salisu Yusuf also bring to the fore, the allegations by some players that they are being told to part with some amount of dollars before they could be selected.

Forgone alternatives

The NFF could have dealt with the issue in a better way, first is to ask him to resign before facing the ethics committee instead of creating a vacuum by ordering a mere suspension of his appointment.

The Federation could have hired a coach that understands the Nigeria Professional Football League, as the assistant coach of the Super Eagles after Imama Amakpakabo's contract expired instead of hiring Joseph Yobo.

Yobo's mistake could have been corrected by hiring a coach that can read matches, that have a calm demeanor, is proficient in talent discovery and development, and has uncompromising integrity.

I am very sure we have them in abundance in the Nigeria Professional Football League.

This would have helped our mental health a bit, better than justifying why Salisu is the best man in Nigeria for the job.

The fact that he is expected to lead the home-based Super Eagles to the next CHAN, the competition where the shameful act took place in 2018 makes it more mentally draining to take as a Nigerian.

Conclusion

If It's not too late to make amends and reverse this decision, the NFF retract and take the honorable step.

If it's too late, we have to start learning how to cope with memories while commentators and analysts take us back to the issue as the 2022 World Cup qualifiers continue and at the 2022 AFCON in Cameroon with Salisu on the bench as part of the technical crew.

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Olusola Adebayo is a highly-skilled, enthusiastic, self-motivated writer with over 10 successful years of experience.

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Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.

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