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Jay-Jay Okocha warns ex-players from Super Eagles dressing-room

Posted: 12 November 2011 Time: 11:36

Former Nigeria captain Austin Okocha has asked ex-players and others to stay away from the Super Eagles dressing-room during matches.

Former internationals and other officials regularly come into the Eagles’ dressing-room at half-time and offer opinion, but Jay-Jay, a member of the NFF's Technical Committee, says it is wrong.

“I don’t think it’s wise for ex-players or whoever to contribute in the dressing-room because that's wrong. If you have anything to say you should have said it beforehand or after the game,” he says.

“If all of us have something to say, then the dressing-room will not contain all of us. The coach is paid to take decisions. All of us are not coaches. We might be football lovers, we might have our own opinions, but at the end o f the day it's the coach's team and, with all due respect, you have to leave him to do his job.

“As a friend you can call him and talk to him and give him your own opinion. But it's left for him to take it or not.”

Okocha, who was with the team for most of Samson Siasia's short-lived tenure, says his former teammate was unlucky.

“I think he was unlucky because in life sometimes little bit of luck can change things.”

Previous comments on this story...

posted: 12:08 pm
Okocha, thank you. But that's not the problem. The problem is about some heady players like Mikel Obi, he's too proud, thinks the Eagles can't fly without him, does not commit totally to the team, always feigning injuries when in the national team but would stake his life for Chelsea. Let him remain with Chelsea, let the Fengors play for us, players who have Nigeria at heart. Fuck Mikel Obi, to hell with him.
posted: 12:33 pm
Jay Jay is spot on , 'too many cooks spoil the broth'. Most times these irrelevant pressures on the coach drives him to confusion .Too many voices develop into babel of voices.

Okocha, who was with the team for most of Samson Siasia's short-lived tenure, says his former teammate was unlucky.--Colin Udoh

These words from 'Jay jay' has deep meaning .
posted: 12:35 pm
True talk from jayjay. D dressin room should b out of bound to all Ex, includin d Nff. D coach has been appointed 2 do a job, allow him 2 do his job, nd any observatn shld b given b4 a match nd after a match. Cos most of dis Ex, are jobless, they wil delibrately give wrong ideas hopin 4 d teams failure or even give good ideas, nd b d first 2 take d glory by goin 2 d press to seek 4 attentn, just rembr d way all dis Ex playas attacked Siasia. From Oliseh to Amokachi to tijani just name them. I guess dey must ve been to d dressin room too. True talk Jayjay, plz BigBOSS WATCH OUT.
posted: 12:36 pm
@Basil:: I know u will die very soon just because of MIKEL obi, all the guys wey always talk about MIKEL obi will soon die, weting dey worry una self ?? MIKEL take una wife or MIKEL kill una mother ?? i tire for una naija guys oooooooo, Habaaa,
posted: 12:56 pm
I was in a cab in Lagos reading my copy of Newsweek International the Monday or Tuesday after Sunday Oliseh's 25-yard screamer sank Spanish hearts across the world on 13th June, 1998. From the short report on the match, I took away the immortal words '...the mighty Nigerians...' which became my abiding memory of an age when the Super Eagles were indeed a dominant force.

Today the picture is a contrasting story. Whereas we were usually among the favourites, not once have I stumbled across any mention of Nigeria as favourites for a good African showing at the 2010 World Cup or even Angola. Ours has been a shambolic team constantly patched together in the vain hope that it can function as a fluid unit.

That has been the story since 2002 when we struggled to qualify for the World Cup and were dumped out in the first round. It has been too many years of pain, too many years of fear, too many years of feeling that every Super Eagles match regardless of the opposition is a potential source of unhappiness.

What I am hoping to achieve is an expanded debate on how we can get back to the pinnacle of African and World football.

To get to that I think we need to find out how we became powerful in the first place, and that quest dates back to 1989, nine years before the Spain match, with the appointment of a certain Dutchman Clemens Westerhof as the head coach of Nigeria. While perhaps not a great tactician, Westerhof was an excellent manager, who worked his way well in the seat of power and got the team the support it needed.

He met a team much like today's and completely dismantled it. It was a bold move at a time we also had the 1990 Nations Cup in Algeria looming. However he had a clear vision for the future, and told Nigerians instead to look forward to 1994, which gave him the latitude to introduce brand new players like Amokachi into the team.

This brings me to SOLUTION 1... Forget Angola!

Anybody who thinks Nigeria stands a chance in Angola is pretty much a wishful thinker in my book. So I would say forget Angola. Refresh this team and take what should look like Nigeria's team of the future to the Nations Cup. Tell Nigerians what they already believe, that our chances are slim against the likes of Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, Egypt, so we should instead see this as a building block for a truly younger and dominant Super Eagles in 2014.

This solution might appear cold and callous and would upset those players who worked hard for this ticket, but is this about the players' feelings or about Nigeria? Many may say we will be humiliated and will end up with nothing, but how is that different from what we expect of this team?

Solution 1 is about visionary thinking. One of the great things about a well articulated vision is that it carries the followers along. In this case it would make defeat understandable as we collectively work our way to glory.

A brand new team will expose Nigeria's best young talents to the world and create badly needed big-club opportunities for them. We will by this move be raising a new generation of fearsome players as opposed to now when only one Nigerian plays for a truly top club - Mikel Obi. Contrast that with Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon and Ghana.

The more national team football a player gets the likelier he is to break into a top club. After our successful outing in the 1994 World Cup and 1996 Olympics young players like Kanu, Amuneke, Okocha, Finidi George, Amokachi got big opportunities. Who in our aging team today can expect any such from?

If we miss this opportunity where are we going to get another to prepare for 2012 or showcase or future stars? Besides we need to stop our tomfoolery and enjoy the best of our players in their prime. Most of these players we call 17 or 20 today are well into their mid and late 20s. Not exposing them now means we can only get them in their thirties, when they are past their prime.

From the U-17 and U-20 teams we can put together a team that can render the current Super Eagles squad redundant in a couple of months and I will venture a few names.

From the U-20 squad: Nurudeen Orelesi, Obiora Nwankwo, Ibok Edet, King Osanga, Rabiu Ibrahim, Danny Uchechi, Gbolahan Salami, Omatsone Aluko, Lukman Haruna and maybe Harmony Ikhande and Odion Ighalo.

From the U-17 squad: Fortune Chukwudi, Kenneth Omeruo, Stanley Okoro, Abdul Ajagun, Terry Envoh, Omoh Ojabu, Sani Emmanuel, Edafe Egbedi, Ramon Azeez, Mohammed Aliyu and may be Aigbe Oliha.

Eagles: For experience add to these guys Mikel Obi, Vincent Enyeama, Joseph Yobo, Echejile, Osaze Odewimgie, Obafemi Martins, Adeleye and may be one or two others.

What you will probably get is a team with a true average age of 25 - 27 years that will be a stunning competitor by 2014.

One of the biggest problems with the current squad is that they lack pace and cannot create and use space well. Nigerians often confuse this for a lack of patriotism when indeed it is not. It is because we probably have a team with an average age in the 30s every time the Super Eagles play.

Why stunt your own development? Why have a 27-year old Chukwudi act 17, why don't you have, a young Sani Emmanuel (like a Wayne Rooney or Fabregas or Theo Walcott) act 26 or more instead? Why is there just a sprinkling of truly young players in the current Amodu team?

The U-17 team has now been promoted to the U-20, meaning we still intend to arrest their development by continuing in our deceptive ways. I have often wondered when Okocha would have got he chance with the Super Eagles if not for Westerhof, because in 1993 when he made his debut he could not have been as old as Stanley Okoro or Fortune Chukwudi.

So ladies and gentlemen, my first proposal to help the Super Eagles soar is to rebuild the team and use 2010 as a great opportunity to start and fast track the process. It may mean that we have to wait a few years to see the benefits, but we have waited 11 years (since 1998) for a fantastic Nigerian performance, we can wait a few more years.

Kenneth Ezaga,

I was one of the critics of Mr Ezaga but now has come to terms with his insightful write ups, imagine if NFF has heeded to dis call and used these mentioned young blood our darling SE would had been a great team today.........Mr Ezaga more grease to your elbows i must confess you are one of the best soccer analyzer Nigeria has.
posted: 01:03 pm

I have been following Ghanaian football for a short while now, and have been amazed at the future potential of the Black Stars. Not many outside, or within, the West African nation are aware of the ramifications of the current developmental efforts of the national team. I suspect that when the pieces all come together the Black Stars will dominate the continent's game much like they did in the 1970s and very early 1980s.

To tell you about what I see of what is going on in Ghana, I will relate it to the Nigerian model under Westerhof in the very late 1980s to the tail end of the 1990s. It was a strategy that saw Nigeria become the 5th best team in the world in FIFA rankings, it was a philosophy that embraced youth potential.

How did Nigeria do it then and how is Ghana doing it now? It all happened with the appointment of the wily Dutchman Clemens Westerhof as coach of the Super Eagles in 1989. The new manager met a team of worn stars akin to what Nigeria has today and practically flushed out everyone one of them in search of fresh talent.

What followed was the announcement on the global stage of phenomenal Nigerian players like Daniel Amokachi, Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George, Celestine Babayaro, Emmanuel Amuneke and Mutiu Adepoju. Most of all though it was the introduction of perhaps Nigeria's greatest player of all time, Austin Jay Jay Okocha. At the time the very young Okocha got his debut for the Super Eagles in 1993, he was probably younger in 'real terms' than most in the Nigerian U-17 squad to the last tournament.

For the past ten years though, Nigeria has been coached by ball-less men who have been afraid to risk young players in the team for fear of losing meaningless matches. So we have had a team of recycled stars and mediocre players who are in middle,to bottom of the table teams in Europe.

To build a world class African team today one has to first discover the talented local players, expose them through the national teams to bigger international clubs, who then teach them relevant technical skills, before calling them back as more accomplished players for national team duty.

When, as with the case in Nigeria today, the truly talented young players do not get a look into the national team, theirs become a walk on life's back streets. The Rabiu Ibrahims, Harry Ikhandes, Odion Ighalos are rotting in reserve teams in Europe or loaned out to second division teams.

A little national team action can change their psyches, give them more respect at club level, and brighten their fortunes. Same goes for brilliant local players like King Osanga, Stanley Okoro, Ramon Azeez, Sani Emmanuel, Abdul Ajagun, Terry Envoh, Ibok Edet, Fortune Chukwudi e.t.c. A lot of Nigerian talent have rotted, are rotting and will continue to rot away if our reliance on old and mediocre players because of short-term results is not reversed.

The world is waiting for this talented bunch, but first Nigeria has to show them that they are worth any attention. Where will Nigerian youngsters be in two years compared to their counterparts in the Ghanaian Black Satellites team? Dominic Adiyiah, Andre and Ibrahim Ayew, Agyemang-Badu, Daniel Agyei and Samuel Inkoom are already in the Black Stars final 23-man squad to the African Cup of Nations.

Not one member of the Siasia's team, that had perhaps the best midfield in Egypt, dominating play against all teams including Germany and Spain, is in the Jumbo-sized squad Nigeria released for the Nations Cup.

Adiyiah is already with AC Milan, and given the opportunity handed him by Milovan Rajevac and the Ghanaian FA, he may well gain the respect he needs at AC Milan to be given the opportunity to become the next big thing out of Africa. For my money, Adiyiah is the new George Weah.

Inkoom is with Basel, Agyemang-Badu has just signed with Udinese, Andre Ayew is on loan from Marseilee to Ligue side Arles-Avagnon and exploits in the Black Stars will no doubt fast track his return to Marseille's first team. Other youngsters to benefit from this youth-friendly tack include Udinese's Kwadwo Asamoah and Anthony Annan who was voted the best player in title winning Rosenborg.

Not so for the Sani Emmanuels, who because of national team snobbery, will now have to struggle for second division clubs in Europe if lucky. How else are Nigerian players supposed to get international attention? No one is fooled anymore by success in age grade competitions. Why is no U-17 or U-20 player in the current squad?

Part of this I believe is the insane expectation from the fans and officials that the Super Eagles must always enter every competition to win. The other part is the inability of the coaches to enunciate a bold vision that the fans will buy into, enough to give them valuable time.

Westerhof told us in 1989 that his sights were set on 1994; the current technical crew needs to give us a vision that dates beyond Angola and South Africa, neither of which I believe Nigeria has any chance of winning. Realistically they might no longer have the latitude, but that is important if they continue beyond Angola.

We need then to begin to build a future like the Ghanaians are doing today where the young talents are the main event. Then, and only then, can we begin to see a future in which Nigeria can be world champions.

Kenneth Ezaga,
posted: 04:51 pm
Please anyone having access to watch the game can help by giving us text highlites on here so others can follow. Thank you
posted: 05:15 pm
5mites we go nid match ratings after da match. Etuhu has no biz in niaja futbal,why? Nt serious,slugsh,visionles on da pitch,mikel no gud 4 num 4 coach! Dat guy no fit guide ball,very slow,cnt even run as a num 4,taye no sabi anytn again,eichejele is far beta dan hm,ambrse na minus 1,okwomkw na kick nd 4lw. After sunday oliseh our next num 4man is sani kieta(no nonsense) he cn kip da bck 4 in shape. Take ma words or leave buh na da truth be dat. Peace!
posted: 05:41 pm
game abt to start.............
posted: 05:48 pm
please, where can I watch the match.
posted: 05:50 pm
watch Nig vs Botswana on
posted: 05:51 pm
Register and click AIT....preview
posted: 05:53 pm
Eagles are still playing the same way.....nothing special.........
posted: 06:43 pm
@Tartan,thanks for the site,but is like they re on haif time...
posted: 08:26 pm
Okocha u are d man
posted: 02:08 pm
Okocha, you are stupid. You recommend siasia who is a failure, now is kash. You said it through SABC sport analysis during 2010 Fifa world cup that Africa don't have EX-players chance to coach their national team. Super eagles cannot go forward with the likes of the ex-players in Nigeria. Why can't you call the name of those ex players trooping in side the dressing room.
posted: 06:04 pm
@Basit. I don't know why u are negatively so much obsessed about Mikel. What as he done 2u. I'm sure if u see him live, and u have the chance 2 shoot him, i know u will. U are the only one commenting against Mikel and people are not interested in your opinions about him. Aren't u tired of it? Naa! waa! ooo!
Santi Santi
posted: 11:46 pm
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