NFF Wanted Half My Salary To Lead Super Eagles To 2010 FIFA World Cup – Eriksson Reveals
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By Agency Report
But for whatever reason former England manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson would have taken Nigeria’s Super Eagles to the first Word Cup in African soil in South Africa, 12 years ago but for selfish interest on the part of the football managers in the country, that was not meant to be.
Instead, the Swidish tactician took fellow West Africa nation, Ivory Coast to the World Cup Mundial in the Orange Nation.
The 74 years old has come out to reveal why he refused to take the job as Super Eagles manager despite his desire to be at the World Cup
Eriksson revealed in his book My Story Sven that he was interviewed by a panel of officials 9f the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF who asked “stupid” questions, for the vacant Super Eagles post at the Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
“In the summer of 2010, the World Cup was to be played in Africa for the first time, in South Africa to be exact. I was still disappointed that I would not be taking Mexico there. This would be the first World Cup without me since 1998.
“I was also out of a job after the whole Notts County affair. That is when Athole called me with a new assignment – manager of Nigeria’s
national team. Nigeria was one of the five African teams to qualify for the World Cup. Maybe I would still be part of the tournament after all?
“I had long been curious about African football. I remember how impressed I had been when watching Nigeria almost knock out Italy in 1994. Two years later, Nigeria won the Olympics. During the past 10 to 15 years, African players had flocked to Europe and many had established themselves at the highest levels in the European leagues.
“No African team had managed to get beyond the quarter-finals in a World Cup. Perhaps it was time for one of them to take that next step.?
But many problems plagued African football. Economic resources were lacking at the grassroots and elite levels. Corruption was said to be widespread and planning often non-existent.
“After Nigeria lost the semi-final of the African Cup of Nations, the Nigerian FA had sacked the team coach, despite just four months remaining before the World Cup, to bring in a European replacement. Like many other African countries, Nigeria did not trust domestic coaches.
“I flew to Abuja, the Nigerian capital, to meet the Nigerian FA and, I thought, negotiate the job as Nigeria manager. I knew the Nigerians had also shown some interest in the coach of the Egyptian national team, but I assumed the job was mine if I wanted it. I should not have made that assumption.
“We met at the Hilton Hotel in Abuja. In the meeting room, perhaps 10 people were sitting, as if on a panel, behind a table. Right away, they started asking stupid questions. Which formation was I planning to play?
“Why was I the right man for the job? How could I help Nigeria win the World Cup? This was no negotiation, it was an interview. I had been around in the football business for too long to have to sit there and be interviewed about a job, especially by people who did not know anything about football. It was also clear that they did not research me or my background. All they knew was that I had been in England.
“After the meeting, an agent whom Athole worked with locally explained that half of my salary would be deposited into a special bank account. It was not too hard to figure out that the special bank account would involve someone else taking a piece of my pie if I got the job. There was no way I would agree to that. I never received an offer of a contract, and it was just as well.
“Not long after that, Lasse Lagerbäck, the former Sweden manager, was appointed manager of Nigeria. When I met Lasse later, I asked him if he had also been ‘interviewed’ by the Nigerian Football Association. He had.”
Portuguese coach, Jose Peseiro is currently the Super Eagles manager but since his engagement in May this year, he us yet to be paid a dime by the NFF.
Followers of the round leather game in the country believes that the inability of the NFF to make open Peseiro’s contractual papers to the minister of youth and sports in the country, is constituting a cog in the wheel of his payment.