Former Nigeria Football Federation technical director Kashimawo Laloko has ripped into the performances of the country’s national teams in 2019, saying they “achieved nothing in football”.
The senior men’s team were unable to claim the Africa Cup of Nations title, narrowly falling to eventual champions Algeria in the semifinals of the tournament in Egypt, but they were not the only Nigerian team to underperform: most notably, neither the men’s or women’s teams qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“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,” Laloko told Nigeria’s The Guardian.
“During the qualifiers for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroun [sic] 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.
Laloko added: “If Amapakabo had done his assignment well, the country wouldn’t have found herself not going to the Tokyo Olympics.”
He continued: “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 percent 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.
“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.”