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Charles Ojugbana: Finidi Resigned Because He Knew He Would Be The Scapegoat If Nigeria Doesn’t Qualify For 2026 World Cup

Veteran reporter Charles Ojugbana has said that Osimhen’s public show of discontent against Finidi is an indication of something deeper.

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Veteran reporter, Charles Ojugbana, has said that the former head coach of the Super Eagles, Finidi George, resigned from his position because he realised he will be the one most likely blamed if the Super Eagles end up not qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Ojugbana said this in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Tuesday where he discussed the ongoing controversies that are surrounding the Super Eagles, particularly around Finidi’s resignation and the outburst of football star Victor Osimhen on a livestream on his Instagram social media page.

Speaking on Finidi’s resignation, Ojugbana said, “I think the man just realised that somewhere along the line, he was going to be made a scapegoat for Nigeria’s inability to qualify for the next World Cup finals. And I say this because from his own testimony and the letter he wrote to the NFA, it was very very clear. To start with, the timing of the announcement by the NFF that a technical adviser was going to be appointed was very faulty. That was on the eve of a crucial match.

“When the board should have been interested in finding out how Nigerians in Cote d’Ivoire could come out en masse to support the team, how vulnerable the eagles were, because even though they were playing lowly Republic of Benin, their coach was the immediate past coach of Nigeria, Gernot Rohr, which meant that he knows everything about your team.”

He further spoke on the wrong timing on the announcement of the appointment of a technical adviser as he said, “Most importantly in terms of that timing was the fact that after the match against Benin Republic, the next time the Super Eagles are going to play a World Cup qualifier would be some time next year. So what was the hurry? They could have waited for the result of that match, made a plan and took their time to hire somebody who in their own estimation was good enough to take us to the promised land. It’s like a student who is sitting for WAEC and he has to write seven papers, and he has written his first two papers. Because you mark them and find that he has failed, you now tell him he’s not qualified to write the remaining five. That was too hasty.”

Addressing Osimhen’s public criticism of Finidi on Instagram, Ojugbana said, “I simply feel that what Victor Osimhen exhibited was a small size of a bigger monster that was in that team. In sports and in football, we all know that for discipline to reign, what occurs in-house remains in-house. It’s unethical for a player, or even a coach for that matter, to go to press exposing the misgivings and ill feelings in-house, it’s not done. You come out in front of the world, you create a united front so that your supporters, your fans, and everybody is on the same page. So, when a player begins to speak the way Osimhen did, it is an indication of something deeper.”

“A coach is not just somebody who directs how the team plays, you are also a leader. You’re a manager of men and resources. A good manager does not quarrel with his tools, and a good coach does not quarrel with his players, at least, not in the open. A good footballer also, no matter the level where you are, just as I place Victor Osimhen as one of the best we have as at today, does not go ranting in public, go on Instagram live, and you’re castigating your team and you’re castigating your coach, no matter how good your reasons are. So, like I said, this is just an indication of a larger mountain of problems the team has,” he added.

Ojugbana then gave his opinion on solutions to be taken to restore the Super Eagles to its full glory as he said, “We must go back to the basics, there are many parameters to look at it. Look at the Super Eagles that played in the Nations Cup in Cote d’Ivoire, every match had a different set of players. Look at the ones that have played in this World Cup, every match had a different set of players. How do you chop and choose and expect- there is no cohesion.

“Coming to the Super Eagles has become an all-commerce affair. Oh, he’s playing in Malta, he scored 30 goals, invite him. Oh, this one is in Ukraine, invite him. What about the home-based team? We should have a nucleus. I’m not against foreign-based players, but the team should be built around a nucleus so that when you invite the foreign-based players, they are also even afraid of perhaps not even getting a shirt. Then the rivalry becomes good enough. That’s why I said we must go back to the basics. So you do that with the teams, you do that with the coaching system, you do that with the general administration.”

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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