While I was running around at the World Cup in South Africa, my wife and I had an addition to the family. It felt a bit weird not being there for the birth of my daughter, so it was understandable that immediately I got back from South Africa, I took a break and headed off to the USA to see my kid. It has been more than fulfilling taking a break from football, especially Nigerian football after the disaster that was South Africa 2010. While I have kept away from actively being involved, that does not mean I did not follow events closely (I couldn't keep away if I tried). But in the weeks since the tournament, things have been going in the direction that we all sort of expected. The NFF's key leadership trio have been impeached, certain Super Eagles players have been 'retired' from the team, Lars Lagerback has refused to return to Nigeria's House of Commotion, elections into the NFF have generated a dozen different kinds of controversy and a new coach (read Samson Siasia) is about to be appointed. There is more than enough in all these and others issues to write an opus, and I promise I will deal with all of them in time. But for now, the more immediate issue is that of the appointment of a coach. After the Berti Vogts debacle in Ghana, some of the folks from the NFF asked for my opinion about a new coach. My response was that we should go local. But I put a caveat in that recommendation. I told them of my fears with the appointment of a local coach, and pointed out things that needed to be done to ensure that said coach stayed within the bounds of ethical and professional behavior. At the time, my choice for the position was Stephen Keshi, for what he had achieved since venturing into coaching, first as assistant to Shuaibu Amodu, and then his success with Togo. However, my worry was in the way Nigerian coaches conduct business. I have had too many firsthand experiences of coaches receiving 'gifts' from players, agents and certain other characters. There have also been instances of coaches blatantly getting involved in player management matters that they have no right to. Don't get me wrong. Coaches elsewhere do the same. But where those others may employ the services of third parties to cover their trails, there is a blatant disregard for secrecy in the way our coaches go about what should be a clandestine activity. A business that is at best illicit, and at worst criminal. In the end, we pass it off with one of those hackneyed sayings of 'where a man works is where he eats'. And in some twisted justification, maybe it is not entirely their fault. Nigerian (and other African indigenous coaches) are some of the worst remunerated in the world. As an example, look at the pay disparity between Shuaibu Amodu and Lars Lagerback. Where Amodu was paid a measly $15000 a month sans perks, Lagerback was paid $200 000 plus perks. Or we can go slightly back. Austin Eguavoen was paid less than $10 000 a month, without perks while Berti Vogts, who usurped him, got $50 000 with all the perks he wanted. Additionally, the foreign coaches get the job security afforded by watertight contracts and are allowed the leeway to do just about anything they want. The local coach is second-guessed at every turn. What this leads to generally is a coach who is. 1. Not in control of his team, and gradually sees his respect eroded in the eyes of the players 2. Is continually worried about his future and tries to make as much money as possible by whatever means he can using his position, while he still has it Some have argued that the local coaches are so desperate for the jobs that they accept whatever they are offered without a fuss. That may be true, but the coaches also argue that they do it in the national interest. All that is beside the point of this argument. The key issue here is that because the indigenous coaches are so poorly paid and compromised, they can barely make the decisions that would be in the best interest of the team and nation. These were the issues I spoke about in 2008, and I told them that in appointing a local coach, the key issue of adequate remuneration and the colloquial 'free hand' should be allowed the new coach. That, as it turns out, did not happen. And so, as we all understand that the NFF are negotiating with Siasia, my point is that irrespective of whether we feel he is the right candidate for the job or not, both Siasia and the NFF should address these issues properly in his contract. First, Siasia should settle for nothing less than the $50 000 paid to Vogts. He must also insist on the various other add-ons that will allow him to do his job properly, including whatever assistants he feels he will need to deliver. We should also consider the Brazil model, where the coaches are appointed in a four-year cycle, culminating in the World Cup. That allows the coach time to build a team from scratch and impose his own imprint on them. In our case, I would suggest a two-year contract with the option of renewal for another two years conditional on certain key performance indicators achievable within the initial two-year period. By the same token, the NFF must include in his contract, a clause that he will stay away from any activities that might be considered underhand. It may not be entirely enough, but it is a start. STAR WARS: ATTACK OF THE EX INTERNATIONALS We are in a real Star Wars scenario where the former stars (pun fully intended) have decided to take over the administrative reins of our football. While I have no objection to ex internationals wanting to be involved in the running of the game, I want to caution that being a good player is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition to be a good administrator. Examples abound all over the world. I told my good friend Victor Ikpeba the same thing just before I left for the US. These ex internationals wanting to 'take over the world' must earn the right to be where they are headed for. Otherwise, the danger is that if they come in enmasse and fail to make the change that people want, they would have closed the door on future generations. Anyway, my friend China Acheru has written what I consider an excellent piece on the issue. While I do not entirely agree with everything he said there, I think his idea of devil's advocate should get us all thinking.