Saturday, October 18, 2014

Interrogating Shuaibu Amodu's Performance Statistics

Last week, Shuaibu Amodu was again asked to manage Nigeria's national team. For the second time, he is asked to rescue Nigeria and earn qualification to the finals of the Cup for African Nations finals. He had previously achieved the feat in getting to the 2002 World Cup finals. This time, he has to win two games to confirm his status as "Nigeria's saviour."

What we do here is provide the reader with a reminder of Shuaibu Amodu's statistical record as Nigeria's national coach. He tutored under the great Alabi Aisien and then coached at BCC Gboko under James Peters. Amodu then made his name at the club level where he won four Nigerian FA Cups in a space of six years with both BCC Lions of Gboko and El Kanemi Warriors of Maidugri and then won a continental trophy with BCC.

Shuaibu Amodu's coaching efficiency in competitive games is outstanding compared to any Nigerian national coach, except Augustine Eguavoen who coached just 12 such games compared to Amodu's 36! Importantly, he holds the Nigerian record of coaching the national team to six consecutive victories in competitive games, including away games. That record is stunning considering that the national team's efficiency record is less than 0.50 in away games! His record is shown in the table below.

***NOTE: Efficiency is calculated using a formula where actual number of points obtained is divided by the maximum number of points obtainable. An efficiency record of .33 is often considered adequate. A .33 is obtained when a team draws all three games in a 3-game set.

If you wish to compare his statistics to those of other top Nigerian coaches then click below:
***To learn more about Nigerian soccer statistics checkout CHUKASTATS at books.***

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The End of Keshi's Tenure and Reading Textual Margins

Earlier today, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) decided, not unexpectedly, to discontinue with Coach Stephen Keshi's service. After the home loss to Congo Republic and then the loss to Sudan in Khartoum, it was expected that Keshi's tenure as coach was at its end. That Keshi's team got back on track yesterday with a 3-1 win over Sudan was too little and too late. Nigeria was still in danger of missing out of the 2015 Cup for African Nations that Keshi's team had won in 2013.

However, what was interesting is the text that surrounded the decision not to continue with Keshi's services. One was in statements attributed to the NFF at the announcement and the other emerged in Channels TV interview of NFF President Pinnick Amaju. I focus on the two below:

The text at Keshi's dismissal was striking as it included an NFF offer to sponsor Keshi and his assistants to a coaching course.  The question is why and why at the time of discontinuing with his service? Was the intent to re-hire him after the course or was this a way to thank the coaches for their services? It is a shocking gesture and one that could easily be interpreted as a calculated insult. Not that coaches should not go on refresher courses but to make this a fulcrum of discussion at Keshi's dismissal and in the weeks in which the NFF and media have publicly questioned Keshi's tactical knowledge is clearly a back slap at Keshi to accentuate what the NFF claims was Keshi's deficiency.  In reality, Keshi has no reason to depend on the NFF to pay his way to a coaching course if the coach intends to undertake such a course.

Last week, there were some who insinuated that it was difficult to discontinue with Keshi's services because the coach has grown "too big" for the NFF and that the coach backed by "high offices." Some argued that the coach needed the usual "soft landing" to satisfy such backers. But was the coaching course the "soft landing?" I think not. Instead, the offer smacks of a calculated insult and I do not believe for one minute that the coach will take the offer from the NFF. Instead, Keshi will leave his achievements to speak for him in comparison to coaches that the NFF will hire in the near future.

The second text emerged when Mr. Amaju struggled on television to justify the decision not to continue with Keshi's services. One would think that it was evident that such a decision would be taken considering that recent results pointed to such a decision. Instead, Mr. Amaju struggled to cite the fans who were at yesterday's game. However, it was clear that a majority of the fans at the game supported the team and were overjoyed at victory. It is hard to affirm Mr. Amaju's claims that the fans had attempted to attack the coach. That is a shocking claim and in fact a needless one. It would have been straight forward and understandable to simply cite the recent poor record as justification for not continuing with Keshi's service than trying to conjure or construct an imaginary.

In the end, Keshi's era has come and gone. He had revived Nigeria's football during his tenure in many ways. In the end it came to an expected halt as such tenure often does when Keshi's team hit a bad patch that stretched inconveniently across several games. That NFF took the decision to discontinue was a justifiable end but the text surrounding it must certainly leave a sour taste.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Minister Danagogo played the Fiddle While Nigerian Football was Burning. . ..

Nigeria's Minister of Sport,  Dr. Tammy Wenike Danagogo, became the central focus as Nigerian football was torn apart from inside-out. The former demolition man as Rivers State Commissioner for Urban Development and Physical Planning appears to be out of his depth as Nigeria's Minister of Sport. He clearly was on a mission but the question is who's mission? It certainly did not appear to be a mission in the interest of Nigeria's football.

Dr. Danagogo appeared either (1) a naive zealot receiving very poor advice, or (2) cunning or conning Minister. It is unclear whether it was (1) or (2), but it appeared that his activities were at the cost of Nigerian football's health. Let's examine how he has helped set Nigeria's football on fire and then went into "Pilate-ism" while attempting to play the fiddle while the fire raged.

Naive Zealot
Let's for one moment assume that Dr. Danagogo was indeed focused on setting Nigeria's football on the right path. Assume he was truly enraged about rampant corruption and inefficiencies of Nigerian football management and was determined to reform it. It is a heck of an assumption but let's oblige.

Yes, he acted swiftly by appointing a sole administrator for Nigeria's football following a Jos Court order. He was merely obeying the law of the land. After all, he is a lawyer and he ought to know, right?

Yet, if he was so well informed, how did he forget that FIFA's rules govern all its affiliates and that FIFA's Nigerian affiliate has statutes that clearly outline how to remove the top administrator for Nigeria's football? He was forced later by FIFA to scamper and follow the same statute that he ignored. This was after he assured Nigerians that he knew FIFA's rules and was not violating those rules.

Weeks later, after agreeing to reinstate the NFF President, he again insisted on an NFF board election on August 26 despite FIFA's acceptance of a postponement based on recommendation from the NFF board. Minister Danagogo's Gestapo-sanctioned tactics then culminated in a sham August 26 election that hoisted his friend (Giwa) to power and the Minister quickly hosted his friend in a macabre "victory" reception amid consternation among stakeholders of Nigerian football including the local football league, the referee association, guild of editors, and other voices of Nigerian football. Then the same tactics were used to ensure that one of the contestants -- Shehu Dikko -- could not be at the election on September 30.

Cunning or Conning
Maybe he is cunning or is it conning? (LOL).  What do you make of the fact that he ditched NFF Vice President Umeh by the way side after Umeh was conned into believing that he (Umeh) was the anointed one to replace Maigari. Next was Chris Giwa. At least, Giwa made it to the "NFF Presidency" after a sham election. But as FIFA prowled, Danagogo was no longer sure that Giwa would be the man and as Giwa refused to step down from the NFF Presidency, the EFCC men came around on a shakedown of Mr. Giwa. EFCC's effort was clearly to scare Giwa into stepping down to appease FIFA as Danagogo continued to fiddle for answers. Just may be, he will come up with another fall guy. Who's next in line?

As Nigeria's Football Burns Under Danagogo's Watch. . . .
Clearly, Nigeria's football is burning. Yet, Minister Danagogo pretends that he is the "peace maker" convincing no one of his neutrality. Instead, he is like an Ostritch hiding its head in the sand. Reality is that Minister Danagogo's role is clear for all to see and it is not pretty. His act is no more than Emperor Nero as Rome burned. Sure, Minister Danagogo has held Nigeria to ransom while still maintaining his Ministerial position but it is clear that his act is wearing thin. He has taken Nigerian football to the brink and history will certainly record this for posterity. He has time to begin to right his many wrongs and allow football administration to run as independently as possible. If he is a true zealot for accountability as he has severally claimed, then there are clearly acceptable strategies for bringing financial violators to book without destroying Nigeria's football along the way. It starts from his ability and commitment to understand Nigeria's football statutes and its relationship to FIFA and then seeking reform within those parameters.