Clemens Westerhof tells NFF to declare war on Oliseh if Nigeria loses to Egypt


Clemens Westerhof dubbed by some as Nigeria’s best coach ever, has come out in defence of Super Eagles Head Coach Sunday Oliseh after his ‘insane’ video rant that caused controversies and problems between him and the NFF, saying he should be forgiven but the NFF should declare a war with Oliseh if he loses the upcoming Nations Cup qualifier against Egypt next March. Read the excerpts of the interview with CompleteSports after the cut…

You have always been passionate about Nigeria, its football and footballers…
-Yes, yes. That is correct. Nigeria has good players; they are playing very well in Europe.
The Super Eagles have an AFCON qualifying match against Egypt in Kaduna on March 25
-Oh! It will be played in Kaduna, okay. The Super Eagles must win, okay? Of course. They have to win and go to the Nations Cup.
Why are you sounding so optimistic that Nigeria must win?
-The Super Eagles must win, they must play in the Nations Cup. The players are good, there are many of them in Europe and Egypt have not been fantastic lately. (Egypt have failed to qualify for the last three editions of AFCON).
But you have been very critical of coach Sunday Oliseh and he’s still in charge of the Super Eagles. Has anything changed?
-No, it’s not whether there is change or not. Nigeria’s Super Eagles are strong. It’s the players that determine if your team is good. Egypt have not been doing well in the Nations Cup. They have not qualified for the Nations Cup for many years and Super Eagles were champions in 2013 with (Stephen) Keshi. Yes, the Super Eagles will be at the Nations Cup.
But Oliseh recently lambasted Nigeria Football Federation and some others for criticizing him. Even though he has apologized, don’t you think this can affect the team?
-I watched Oliseh on television criticize the federation (NFF) after the (CHAN) tournament in Rwanda. That was too bad, to be harsh on your employer. You don’t go to the press and criticize your boss. You are coach, do the job and expect to be criticized; not you doing the criticizing. The coach of the team is criticized when results don’t come but when the criticized is now criticizing, then something is not okay. So you must work harder, you must not talk on TV, so I didn’t like it.
But if he has apologized, well, we move on.
If you were President of NFF, what would you do to Oliseh for his criticisms on the federation and people of Nigeria despite the failure at CHAN in Rwanda?
-You must not go to the television to accost anybody. You must do your part of the job, the contract you signed, do it well. Any issues have to be discussed between you and the federation, not to the newspapers, not the radio or TV! He got it wrong. But again, he has no experience to work at top level.
So what do you think Nigeria should have done, sacked him?
-They should not sack him. They should call him and say, listen my friend, don’t talk in the press, don’t talk on TV, how can you sit on TV and defend yourself when you lost a game. You lost (a crucial game) and all you needed to say was ‘sorry we lost, we need go back to drawing board, to the pitch and work harder for the next game’. The people are right to be angry, to criticize you because you lost.
So the NFF are right to have forgiven him…
-Listen, anybody can make a mistake, let them wait till after the match maybe he can change, it’s okay. If he loses again, then the war is open again.
But he has said ‘please forgive me…’
-He must tell the people ‘we did our best; we’ll work harder’ but not to criticize. In football, there are always people who will criticize you especially when results don’t match their expectations. That makes you as a coach and the team to sit up. That also happened in my time when I was criticized. It’s normal, such criticisms make you work harder, it makes you sharper but it is not up to you to criticize the ‘criticizer’.
So you were as well confronted by Nigerians during your time as Super Eagles coach?
-Oh yes, sometimes. They criticized over players, why did you not invite this player or why did you invite that player.
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