NFF reacts to passing of Amodu Shuaibu

Anulika Menanya, Lagos

Former Super Eagles' coach, late Amodu Shuaibu.

The Nigeria Football Federation-NFF has reacted to the death of four-time coach of the Super Eagles, Amodu Shuaibu.

The news of Shuaibu came only three days after the passing of former Super Eagles’ Captain and Coach, Stephen Keshi.

Family sources confirmed to NFF website, that the 58-year old, who was confirmed as National Technical Director by NFF in October 2014, complained of chest pains on Friday night and did not wake up on Saturday.

Chairman of the Edo State Football Association, Mr. Frank Ilaboya said he had been informed by the Edo State Commissioner for Information, Kassim Afegbua, that the remains of the celebrated trainer had been deposited at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital in Benin City; incidentally the same facility where Keshi’s remain is kept.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick, who was devastated, said, “This is another tragedy too many. We are still talking about Keshi’s death and now Amodu is gone. I’m short of words.”

One of the best coaches that Nigeria has produced, Amodu first took charge of the Super Eagles at the age of 36, following the departure of Dutchman Clemens Westerhorf as Nigeria left her debut appearance at the FIFA World Cup in the USA in 1994 at the Round of 16.

His first match with the Eagles was the famous ‘Wembley Friendly’ in which Nigeria impressed but lost 0-1 to England’s Three Lions.

NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, who was on his way to Amodu’s home town Okpella with NFF’s Assistant Director (technical) Abdulrafiu Yusuf and Head of Psychology, Robinson Okosun for the burial on Saturday, told “This is most shocking. We are yet to recover from the death of Stephen Keshi.”

Pinnick, who was on his way back to Benin City only 24 hours after returning from visiting late Keshi’s family, said, “Amodu’s name was synonymous with the Super Eagles. You can’t talk about the history of Super Eagles without Amodu getting prominent chapters.”

Late Amodu, who was the former BCC Lions, El-Kanemi Warriors, Shooting Stars and Orlando Pirates technician, was known to be hypertensive and had rejected taking over the Super Eagles’ coaching job in February on this ground.

Amodu took charge of the Super Eagles for the first time in 1994, 1999, 2001-2002 and 2008-2010.

He qualified the Super Eagles for the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and 2010, but did not lead the team to the finals.

He also qualified the Beach Soccer National Team, Supersand Eagles, for the 2006 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, but did not lead the team at the finals as he refused to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He was also the first Nigerian to qualify the Super Eagles for the FIFA World Cup, when alongside Stephen Keshi (who died on June 8) and Joe Erico, he rescued the Eagles’ flagging ship to win the last three matches of the campaign and reach the finals in Korea/Japan 2002, following the departure of Dutchman, Johannes Bonfrere.

When he led BCC Lions of Gboko to win the Nigeria FA Cup in 1989, it was the first time a team from northern Nigeria would triumph in the competition in 36 years.

The following year, he led BCC Lions to win the now defunct Africa Cup Winners Cup; the team reached the final of the same competition in 1991.

When he left BCC Lions, Amodu steered El-Kanemi Warriors to win the FA Cup.

In his four stints with the Super Eagles, the Okpella –born tactician won 26 of a total of 53 matches, drawing 15 and losing 12.

Eaglets’ screening called off
Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach, Manu Garba stopped the on-going screening of budding talents into the U-17 National Team after the sad news.

Garba said Amodu’s death was not only tragic but a personal loss to him because it was under the watch of the late Super Eagles coach that he captained and won the FA Cup with El-Kanemi Warriors in the 1990s.

“This is a great loss to me. I spoke with Amodu just two days ago and we discussed about our screening and I feel so sad that he has gone few days after we lost Stephen Keshi. Amodu was my coach at El-Kanemi Warriors when I captained El-Kanemi to win the FA Cup and we have remained ever so close,” Garba said.

He further said that, “He was a man with a reservoir of knowledge and we all enjoyed his presentation during the CAF License. A Coaching Course here in Abuja and I can’t just believe Amodu is dead. I’m too sad over this loss and in his honour, we have to call off our training session today (Saturday) and God’s willing, we shall continue on Monday.”