By Olanrewaju Oyedeji
Nigeria’s hope of qualifying to play in the Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON is hanging precipitiously in the balance following the exit of its coach, Sunday Oliseh, on the eve of a crucial qualifying tie.
Oliseh quit as Nigeria’s football coach after claiming violations of his contract and receiving too little help from the national federation for next month’s crucial 2017 Africa Cup of Nations clash with Egypt.
According to the AFCON fixtures, Nigeria is scheduled to host seven-time African champions and group leader, Egypt on March 25 in Kaduna before a return fixture days later, with only the overall group winners guaranteed automatic qualification to the 2017 Nations Cup in Gabon.
“Oliseh has resigned as Super Eagles coach after he did not enjoy the right support from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF),” a top official said on Friday.
“He also complained of several breaches to his contract with the NFF,” he said.
Oliseh has complained he is owed four months’ salary and has not received accommodation in the capital of Abuja that he had been promised.
It is also understood that he was unhappy over the dismissal of his personal assistant, former international Tijjani Babangida, and rumours that the NFF had indeed commenced the process of sending him packing, after it reportedly approached former Cote d’Ivoire coach Herve Renard, who has however since been appointed coach of Morocco.
Aformer Nigerian national team skipper, Oliseh was appointed as coach in July 2015, replacing the sacked ex-international, Stephen Keshi.
However, the relationship between him and the NFF has soured since Nigeria failed to go past the group stage of the recent African Nations Championship in Rwanda.
Amid speculation over his future, Oliseh took to social media platform YouTube to vent his frustration by attacking his critics who wanted him sacked, but he would later apologise.
Nigerian sports minister Solomon Dalung waded into the crisis when he advised against sacking the coach.
Under Oliseh, the Eagles played a total of 14 matches, losing two.
A replacement for the ousted sweat merchant is expected to be named by the NFF shortly to ensure that the nation’s AFCON hopes go not become irreversibly threatened.