How Sports Ministry’s Demand For Redknapp Rattled NFF
By Amaechi Agbo
The seemingly unending new contract renewal discussion between Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and Super Eagles Coach, Gernot Rohr took a new dimension over the past days following the ministry of Sports’ demand for a better ‘sound coach’ to take over the regins at the team, Bestchoicesports.com.ng reports.
The NFF and Mr Rohr has for the past seven months been lockdown in negotiations for new contract for the German coach.
With the new contract proposals reportedly sent to Rohr and returned to the federation, there was a cessation as both parties went mute on the discussion.
However, it has been gathered that the NFF was rattled when the Sports Ministry was reported to have hinted for the need to get a ‘high sound coach’ and mentioned former West Ham, OPR manager, 73-year-old Englishman Harry Redknapp as its preferred choice.
Top officials of the sports ministry want Harry Redknapp, to take over from Gernot Rohr. This report, did not go down well with NFF who it was gathered are reluctant to sack the German coach despite poor records of achievements since four years he took over the role.
Rohr’s current deal runs out on 20th June this year, with the Franco-German in the final stages of concluding a new deal with the Nigerian Football Federation in the coming days.
Last week, the minister of sports, Sunday Dare did not mince word when he demanded for a ‘high quality coach’ to be saddled with the Super Eagles Technical job.
In a video circulated Dare noted that he wanted a competent hand to manage the national team, “whether it is Rohr or not.”
“All I want is a coach that is competent, I don’t care whether it is Rohr or not. The name doesn’t matter, but does he have the credentials?
“Look at our footballers, they play in some of the best clubs in the world and are coached by some of the best coaches.
“So if you want to coach a Nigerian team, you better be sound because the invited players that are going to represent the country train under the best coaches, therefore, we don’t want a player that is sounder than the coach.”
The reported interest to get former Tottenham Hotspur Redknapp for the Eagles rattled the federation who was forced to release the communique of a video conference meeting the Executive Committee held on 14 May four days later.
Part of the resolutions reached and released on 18 May was the mandate for the General-Secretary of the federation to liaise with Mr Rohr and within a week conclude all formalities regarding his contract renewal.
The General-Secretary Mohammed Sanusi was directed to “liaise with the Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Mr. Gernot Rohr, with a view to concluding all matters around Mr. Rohr’s new contract within the next one week.”
But a top football stakeholder, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Punch correspondent that even though Rohr was about sealing a new deal with the NFF, the ministry was looking at Redknapp taking over as coach of the Eagles in the coming days.
“He (Rohr) is expected to get another contract offer from the NFF as there are other likely conditions included in the deal to be sent to him today (Monday),” the source said.
“But if he (Rohr) doesn’t accept the new offer, it will pave the way for the ministry’s preferred candidate Redknapp; he is highly rated by the ministry officials, even though some feel he may be too old for the Eagles job and hasn’t had a coaching job for about three years.”
Football analysts believe that NFF is not sincere with the way and manner the contract extension has lingered and expressed concern that the opportunity created by the coronavirus pandemic has not be utilised by the federation to tidy up its house ahead of commencement of football activities any time soon.
Former Super Eagles coach, Festus ‘Adegboye’ Onigbinde said Monday that “There are more in the NFF/Rohr contract negotiations than Nigerians Know.”