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We’ve not received Bonfrere Jo’s application for Eagles job, says NFF

By Gowon Akpodonor
03 December 2021   |   3:28 am
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) says it has not received any application from former Super Eagles coach, Johannes Bonfrere, despite media reports that he has formally applied...

Bonfrere Jo.<br />REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won LJW/CN

It’s a slap on Nigerian football, analysts blast Dutch coach
• Pinnick meets Minister on Rohr’s fate

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) says it has not received any application from former Super Eagles coach, Johannes Bonfrere, despite media reports that he has formally applied for the job. The Dutchman was sacked in 2001 after losing a World Cup qualifier in Sierra Leone.

Before then, Bonfrere was assistant coach to Clemens Westerhof between 1990 and 1994, and he led Nigeria’s U-23 team to win gold at Atlanta ‘96 Olympics.

About 20 years after his sack from the Super Eagles, Bonfrere feels no one has done what he achieved. He declared in a letter he allegedly dispatched to Nigeria that: “It doesn’t take up to two months to create a formidable team and make a winning pattern.”

However, a top official of the NFF told The Guardian yesterday that the federation did not receive any letter from Bonfrere. “I read about it on pages of newspapers that Jo Bonfrere has formally applied for the Eagles job. I don’t think we have such an application in our secretariat at the moment. Sincerely speaking, the NFF is not thinking in that direction now. Our focus is our preparation for Cameroun 2022 AFCON, which is about five weeks away,” the official said.

Asked if the NFF is shopping for a replacement for coach Gernot Rohr, the official said: “I don’t have an answer to that now. Every Nigerian will know our position if anything of such happens. For now, our focus is on preparing the Super Eagles for the African Nations Cup in Cameroun.”

Meanwhile, some Nigerian sports analysts have described Bonfrere Jo’s latest move to return to the Super Eagles job as a ‘big slap’ on Nigerian football.

“I feel so sad that Bonfrere Jo is seeking to return to the Super Eagles 20 years after he was sacked,” one analyst, who gave his name as Oluwatoyin said on a radio programme monitored in Lagos yesterday. “Which football club or national team has Bonfrere coached since he was sacked by Nigeria in 2001? To be frank, Bonfrere Jo is not the type of coach the Super Eagles need now. Football has moved from his kick and follow the style of play.”

Another analyst, who gave his name as Kingsley, said: “The time to the Nations Cup in Cameroun is too short for us to be talking about Gernot Rohr today and Bonfrere Jo tomorrow. The NFF should come out and clear the air on the position of the Super Eagles coach. Who is taking Nigeria to the AFCON? Who are the players invited? We watch Nigerian players featuring for their clubs in Europe and other parts of the world every day. We know those who are doing well and those that are struggling. We also see what good coaches are doing with other national teams. We need a sound coach for the Super Eagles.”

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, spoke yesterday after his meeting with Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, on the fate of Gernot Rohr.

“We have discussed with the minister. We are working in close harmony with the Sports Ministry. I have to discuss with my executive members, and come back to give feedback to the minister,” he said.

Pinnick continued: “We don’t want to hurt Nigerians. We are looking at our decision from an objective perspective. Trust me, whatever we are doing will be in the interest of the country. We have looked at all the documentation, and I can assure Nigerians we will have a clear direction soon.”