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Shock, disbelief as Frenchman, Le Guen, rejects Eagles job

By Gowon Akpodonor
20 July 2016   |   2:12 am
His reaction, which took many Nigerians by surprise, has further complicated issues for the nation in the fast-approaching Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Paul Le Guen

Paul Le Guen

• Izilien, others want NFF Technical Committee members to resign.

In what appears an international embarrassment to Nigeria, Frenchman, Paul Le Guen, who was announced as Super Eagles’ new technical adviser on Monday by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), yesterday came out to say he never accepted the offer.

His reaction, which took many Nigerians by surprise, has further complicated issues for the nation in the fast-approaching Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

As expected, reactions have poured in from every corner, with many Nigerians calling on members of the NFF Technical and Development Committee to resign with immediate effect for committing a ‘schoolboy’ error.

On Monday night, the official website of the NFF reported that Le Guen had been named as the new Super Eagles helmsman by the technical and development committee of the football federation. The deal was, however, subject to Le Guen agreeing contract terms with the federation’s executive committee.

However, a top French journalist, Herve Penot, revealed on his verified Twitter handle @hpenot_lequipe in the early hours of yesterday that Le Guen had rejected the offer by the NFF and would not come to Nigeria since his conditions were not met.

Counter-claims from the football house followed a few minutes later.

While the chairman of the NFF’s Technical and Development committee, Chris Green, said Le Guen did not accept the terms offered by the football federation, the NFF Executive Committee stated that it never gave the Frenchman the Super Eagles’ job in the first place.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, former coach of the female national team, Super Falcons, Godwin Izilien described it as not only shameful but an international embarrassment to Nigeria.

“This is an international embarrassment to the country and in a society where people think normally, those who took the decision to name Le Guen as Technical Adviser for the Super Eagles should have resigned by now because they committed a ‘schoolboy’ error. It means these people never spoke with Le Guen before coming up with their pronouncement. It is not acceptable to Nigerians.

“I have said several times that the NFF Technical and Development Committee is made up of interlopers. Many of them did not play football. And the few ones who played the game did not coach football. So, you don’t expect them to give what they don’t have.

“This is what you always get when a country relies so much on foreign coaches. A Nigerian coach will never embarrass the nation this way. What Nigerian coaches want is free hand to operate and good salaries like our foreign counterparts,” Izilien said.

Also speaking with The Guardian, former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu said: “I am sure the man (Le Guen) took the decision after finding out that the NFF has not been able to take care of local coaches. If the NFF can’t pay salaries of Nigerian coaches on its pay roll, what is the guarantee that they will be able to pay Le Guen? We have been embarrassed once again internationally, though this is not the first time.”

Green, who alongside others like Victor Ikpeba, Christian Chukwu and Paul Bassey, presided over the Technical and Development committee, revealed to supersport.com that Le Guen did not accept the terms offered by the federation.

“The announcement made on Monday by the NFF’s technical committee was quite clear. Le Guen was offered the job subject to contract terms being agreed.

“We had to look at the best interest of the country before offering anyone the job to manage the Super Eagles and one of such conditions was that the new technical adviser would reside in Nigeria.”

Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, dismissed reports in local and international media of the Frenchman’s rejection of the position as simply preposterous.