Former chairman of the Gombe FA and member NFA Mallam Gara Gombe has revealed that the combination of Amodu Shuaibu, Stephen Keshi and Joe Erico is the best ever indigenous technical crew Nigeria have ever had.
Mallam Gara disclosed this to Sports Intelligence Magazine following the death of Joe Erico who passed on recently on Wednesday morning.
“We have never had a technical crew that is as formidable as the trio” Gombe started. “The were Chief Coach, Assistant and Goalkeeper trainer” he added.
“Unfortunately, we do not value what we have and keep them together to rebuild on their capacity”. “Providing a long term transition programme would have also helped them develop our football”.
Gombe further noted that the technical deficit as well as cut and paste approach in handling appointment of our national team coaches would have been different if we had treated them well.
“They were appointed based on merits and not political, regional or any sentimental consideration” he continued. “But we got it wrong by castigating and owing them salaries”. “Yet they qualified us for the Japan Korea 2002 World Cup as well as the Mali 2002 AFCON where we won bronze”.
Mallam Gombe further added that the former Sports Minister Col. Musa Mohammed accused them of collecting bribe while in Mali, and that was the beginning and end of their era.
“Keshi invited me to his hotel at Eko Hotel in Victoria Island Lagos”. He said “Great Gara, as he used to call me the minister is from your place in Gombeand I said yes he is my brother”. “But since he became minister I have never met with him”.
Keshi told me he was going to resign as a coach following the allegations leveled against him by the minister, but I told him to allow me talk to the minister on the issue.
I tried convincing Keshi to allow me talk to Alhassan Yakmut who was the Special Adviser Technical to the minister then, but he said No, as he had already concluded plans to have a press conference. “He insisted the minister has to explain whom they collected bribe from”.
“He took me downstairs where he had gathered a full house of Sports Writers”. “I can remember that Tony Ubani of Vanguard Newspaper and the late Emeka Enech were also at the Press Conference”. “That was when SWAN was SWAN, there was no Sports Editors forum then.
“It was during that press conference that Keshi announced his resignation as assistant coach”. “Till today, we are paying dearly for that act”.
“Keshi, Amodu and Erico who died on Wednesday shall continue to rest in peace” he concluded.