Former Super Eagles defender Taribo West has come under attack from officials of the Nigeria Football Federation for criticising president Amaju Pinnick's administration.
West had described Pinnick and his deputies Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko as unfit to run football in Nigeria, saying the game is sinking.
“Nigeria football is sinking, it’s almost dead,” the 45-year-old said on Punch.
“Amaju and his executives have no more business running our football. I don’t have anything against Amaju. I believe he has been able to do the little he can, but right now, they don’t have it anymore, even Shehu Dikko and Seyi Akinwunmi.
“Only the best hands should handle football affairs in Nigeria. If we have ex-internationals in that position and not doing well, they need to be taken out so others can show what they have.”
Responding to the comment, NFF released a statement where Patrick Pascal, who is the Super Eagles’ team manager and Chikelue Iloenyosi launched a scathing attack on their former teammate.
“What I know and remember is that this year, Nigeria finished third at the biggest-ever AFCON championship in history (involving 24 teams) and Nigerians are excited about a young and strong team that almost defeated Brazil in a friendly match and looked very promising for the future,” Pascal said.
“I also know that this year, the Super Falcons reached the knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 20 years, and last year, we came very close to reaching the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup in Russia.”
Iloenyosi on his part said he was disappointed with the defender turned pastor, describing his attitude as a ‘shameful act’.
“We are aware of a small group of disgruntled fellows and scandal-mongers to which West now belongs, so we are not surprised. Nigeria has finished this year ranked 31st in the world – the highest for a very long time.
“Nigeria won gold and silver in the football event of the African Games in Morocco. Even the losses of the Falcons and the U-23 boys in the Olympics race were near misses, as the Falcons only lost out on the away goal rule and the U-23 boys lost only one match by the odd penalty goal at the U-23 AFCON in Egypt.
“Taribo West was appointed to coordinate the 1994 Super Eagles that were honoured by the NFF at the AITEO-NFF Awards earlier this year even though he was only on the fringes and was not in the winning team.
"We remember how he praised the NFF at the Awards. Now that he has joined those creating a toxic environment, Nigerian football is ‘sinking’ in his blurred eyes.”
The former Inter Milan defender's comments came on the back of Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare’s damning assessments of the country’s football under the Amaju Pinnick-led administration on Tuesday, berating the comatose and stunted growth of the game under the NFF president.
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