NFF lied, they didn’t tell us about coaches rotation — Shorunmu


By Johnny Edward.

Super Eagles goalkeepers trainer, Ike Shorunmu, has hit back at the Nigerian Football Federation, saying they lied to Nigerians over his absence from the team’s camp for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations double-header qualifiers against Guinea-Bissau on Friday, The PUNCH reports.

Shorunmu had told The PUNCH on Monday that he and assistant coach Finidi George were told by the NFF not to join the squad for the 2023 AFCON qualifiers against Guinea-Bissau at the request of head coach Jose Peseiro.

However, the NFF replied in a statement on Monday — which was made available to our correspondent — that the federation had put in place a “rotation policy” among the assistant coaches, as part of cost-cutting measures.

On May 15, 2022, the NFF, after parting ways with Franco-German Gernot Rohr, appointed Peseiro as the new Eagles head coach, with Finidi named the Portuguese’s first assistant, while Salisu Yusuf was second assistant coach and Usman Abdallah third assistant coach. Shorunmu was named the goalkeepers trainer, while Eboboritse Uwejamomere was made the team’s match analyst.

But the NFF disclosed in the statement that they had to reduce the number of technical crew officials for games because of their “high number.”

The federation added that there was “no victimisation, sleight of hand or any disrespect intended in their decision.”

The statement read, “As part of cost-cutting measures instituted at the beginning of the new administration, we established a rotation policy among the assistant coaches, based on the high number, which was agreed with all of them. The last time that the team had a programme, Mr. Finidi George was the person who travelled for the friendly match in Portugal. This rotation policy is only for matches. When there is a tournament, all of them will be with the team.

“He knew at that time that the next trip would be that of Mr. Usman Abdallah. Abdallah is simply taking his turn to be in the camp for the program of Super Eagles Vs Djurtus of Guinea Bissau, and Mr. George will be around for the next program.

“The other person who could have been contending, Mr. Salisu Yusuf, has been sent to the U23 team. There was no victimization, sleight of hand or any disrespect meant to our illustrious ex-international players.”

The NFF added that Shorunmu “showed a clear lack of desire to be in camp for the matches against Guinea-Bissau.”

“The case of goalkeepers’ trainer, Ike Shorounmu is somewhat peculiar, as the former Nigeria goalkeeper showed a clear lack of desire to be in camp for the matches against Guinea Bissau.

“We do not want to go into any details because we have the utmost respect for all our ex-internationals, including Mr. Shorounmu. It was only when we got the clear signal that he was unwilling to come, and the Head Coach was in a quandary, that he (Coach Peseiro) requested for the services of Olatunji Baruwa, who he had seen at work during the U20 AFCON in Egypt, to help do the work of training the goalkeepers.

“We agree there are a number of challenges concerning contracts of coaches of National Teams that we need to speedily resolve. The NFF is working on these and the issues will soon be in the past,” the federation added.

But former Besiktas goalkeeper Shorunmu denied the NFF’s claim, stating that the federation didn’t act professionally.

“Its easy for the NFF to say that I didn’t show desire to report to camp because the people at the helm are earning their salaries, while we the assistant coaches are working without contracts since May 2022 and haven’t been paid for months,” Shorunmu told The PUNCH.

“We asked for contracts last November after the friendly game against Portugal and they told us that the new NFF board was just elected and that by last December our contract papers would be ready, but as I speak, nothing has been done.

“We asked why Salisu Yusuf and Usman Abdallah were left out of the crew for the game against Portugal. They never told us about any rotation policy and it’s very unfair to say that I showed lack of desire to join the camp. As a professional, they should come out and tell the truth and not telling lies and misinforming Nigerians. Whatever we deserve they should give to us and not colour the truth.”