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Oliseh, Enyeama and Law of Karma

Chris Adetayo Wrote: Lots of stuff have been written about the tiff that broke out during the week between Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh, and the erstwhile skipper, Vincent Enyeama. I have no interest in going over the same issues.

I am more interested in what is now a pattern of behavior of former Eagles players turned coaches and their management style. I start with Stephen Keshi. In 2012/2013, Keshi banished the Eagles leading striker, Osaze Odemwingie, from the team set to go to the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa. Why? Apparently, Osaze had requested permission to arrive late in camp preparatory to the competition. Lots of heated debate, accusations and counter-accusations followed. But, guess what, in 1988, the same Keshi was shuttling between his base in Belgium and Morocco where the Eagles were contesting the same Nations Cup. In fact, of the 5 matches the Eagles played, Keshi featured in only 2 (both against Cameroun) because he had club commitments. In essence, Keshi was granted the sort of leeway that he was unwilling to grant Osaze some 25 years later.

In the same vein, the Oliseh who is now railing over a purported insubordination by his skipper is the same man who in 2002, as the Skipper of the Eagles at the Nations Cup in Mali, reportedly committed serious acts of insubordination towards the team’s coach, Shuaibu Amodu, and the then Minister of Sports. The episode was so bad that the Minister ordered the replacement of the coach and banned several players from the team including Oliseh, thus ending his illustrious Super Eagles career ignominiously and denying him the chance of playing in 3 consecutive World Cups. As history will have it, it was that ministerial decision that opened the door to the likes of Enyeama in the national team. This week, we are back full circle!

What does this tell us? To my mind, we are producing managers who are seeking what, as players, they did not give nor accept. Oliseh and Keshi were not known to be the most differential to authority, the same attitude they have found difficult to deal with in their own players (see also Keshi’s problems with Togo’s Adebayor). Without assigning blames either way, this episode is a good lesson for current players who will end up as future managers. If you do not give due difference to authority, you will have little moral right to expect your players to be any different. Karma is always generally a bitch!