Former Super Eagles Coach, Joseph Erico, has absolved Coach Imama Amapakabo of any blame for the failure of the national U-23 team to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Home-based Eagles inability to make the 2020 edition of the African Nations Championship (CHAN).
Amapakabo is the coach of the national U-23 team, which failed to qualify for the semifinals of the on-going African U-23 Nations Cup, which also serves as the qualifier for next year’s Olympic Games.
He had earlier led the home-based national team to elimination by Togo in the qualifying series for next year’s African Nations Championship.
Speaking to The Guardian at the weekend, Erico said Amapakabo should not be blamed for Nigeria’s failure to qualify for both the CHAN and Olympics, adding that it takes a strong coach to manage and succeed with any national team in Nigeria with the type of administrators running football in the country.
“It is not Imama’s fault that we didn’t qualify for the Olympics. It is because he doesn’t know politics. You need strong coaches and the administrators here don’t like such coaches.
“We used to have them in past but after the demise of coaches Shuaibu Amodu and Stephen Keshi, we don’t have them again. When we were on board the administrators kept on controlling coaches.
“That is why the expatriates don’t stay for too long, they get fed up and leave. Anyone that stays is because he has no option. Look at Bonfere Jo, he keeps coming back, because he wants to come back again since he hasn’t got a job.
“Look at the female team coach, Thomas Dennerby, who just left; he has a new job because he has the pedigree in his country,” he said.
Erico said the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) detests strong and principled coaches, adding, “They like people they can manipulate and direct. Imama may not be able to tell you what he is passing through. He is not a bad coach, but the people around him, the sycophants.
“I wish you know what the national coaches are going through. In my days we had the same problem, but we were strong. In qualifying for the 2000 Olympics, we had 21 home-based players and five goalkeepers from the national league. We invested time with them and introduced to them the basics, the technics and individual tactics.
“There are enough materials in the local league. What we did was to identify their problems and took care of them instantly without anybody knowing. Defeat calls for explanations, while victory covers a lot of sins. The administrators want victory so that they will not be exposed for their squandermania,” he stated.