Nigerian football achieved nothing in 2019, says Laloko

Former Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Kashimawo Laloko, has said that the overall performance of the country’s national football teams last year was abysmal but expressed hope that things could take a turnaround this year if the right things are done.

Nigeria picked a bronze medal at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt and Laloko believes that the country deserves more than that if the proper developmental process was put in place for better use in a country with lots of untapped talents available for selection.

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“As far as I am concerned, we achieved nothing in football in 2019. At the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt, we came third and Nigerians were jubilating. We have to call our football administrators to order because we should be achieving more.

“During the qualifiers for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroun for example, it was marked with controversies and eventually we failed to qualify. Coach Imama Amapakabo, who was the same coach for the CHAN tournament messed us up again. He was accused of using the wrong players and we suffered for it. And now, we will not be at the Olympics in Tokyo Japan,” he said.

Speaking further, Laloko added: “If Amapakabo had done his assignment well, the country wouldn’t have found herself not going to the Tokyo Olympics.”

The former coach of The Gambia national team pointed out that the Super Falcons did not get things right during the qualifiers hence their failure to pick a ticket to Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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“Look at how they messed up the Super Falcons. When I saw the way the team was going, I even offered myself for service but was turned down. I don’t think we needed to employ a foreign coach in the first place because to me, it amounts to wasting money.

“At the U20 World Cup tournament, we didn’t make any mark as usual and even the U17 championship. Coach Manu Garba used to do well, but I think he got wrong assistants. There is this wrong assumption that people who have played the game before can also coach. The fact that you once played the game doesn’t mean you must now start coaching.

“I think we need to start developing our football by accommodating at least 30 per cent of the home-based players playing in our league. Even if they are not going to play, they must be in the team and develop from there. This is the only way we can give them confidence.

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“Thank God we now have a sports minister, who has now intervened to make sure they do things rightly. We need to reorganise ourselves and be more transparent. Coaches should be trained properly because the federation doesn’t use to train anybody. When they are looking for coaches to appoint, they put their men, and that is why we’ve been failing,” he stated.

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