Former Holland star Ruud Gullit has entered the race to replace Festus Onigbinde as Nigeria technical advisor. « Yes, Gullit is the latest to signify interest in the job, » Nigerian football association (NFA) secretary general Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi said.
Gullit’s representative John Fashanu was spotted in Abuja where he had gone to lobby president Olusegun Obasanjo for support.
NFA board members though reacted angrily to what is seen as an attempt by Fashanu to circumvent the association. « If Fashanu thinks that by going through the president he will get the job then he is in for a big surprise, » said one.
Gullit was generally deemed unlucky to be dismissed as manager by Chelsea having won them an FA Cup, but his brief time as coach at Newcastle was less impressive, with fans questioning his commitment as he frequently returned to Amsterdam.
Meanwhile sports minister Steven Akiga has said that the appointment of a technical advisor is strictly the business of the FA. « The Ministry will not in any way intervene in the appointment of a technical advisor. It is the duty of the NFA, » he said.
Akiga has made no secret of his annoyance at Onigbinde’s truculence since he was sacked as coach following Nigeria’s World Cup exit.
Onigbinde has not merely refused the post of technical director that he held before being appointed coach in February, but has also accused the NFA of only wanting to appoint a foreign coach to facilitate their corruption.
The minister has given the NFA until the end of July to appoint a new technical director. Onigbinde’s former assistant Fanny Amun, who led Nigeria’s Under-17 side to victory in the World Youth Championship in 1993, is doing the job in a caretaker capacity, but is far from sure to be confirmed in the position.