Godwin Izilein, a former coach of the Super Falcons, on Monday in Benin lambasted the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for what he described as its shabby treatment of indigenous coaches.
The coach, while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), accused the NFF of always giving preferential treatment to foreign coaches, especially in the area of welfare.
Izilein, who also once coached the Golden Eaglets, said the perceived double standard had negatively impacted on the morale of indigenous coaches.
“Indigenous coaches have the capability to change the narratives of the national teams, and it is high time they are accorded their deserved respect like their foreign counterparts,” he said.
The former coach further noted that the “deliberate refusal” by NFF to pay coaches their earned allowances in arrears was a worrisome development.
“It is regrettable that, 17 years after leading the Super Falcons to Johannesburg in South Africa in 2004 to win the African Women Championship (AWC), the NFF is yet to pay to me match bonuses amounting to 28,750 dollars (about N10 million),” he said.
Izilein said several entreaties by him and others on his behalf to get the NFF to pay him the money had met a brick wall.
“It is as a result of this that I have forbidden the NFF from mourning me whenever I die.
“The only honour I want from the NFF is to pay me what it owns me, not when I am dead.
“I cannot recall any foreign coach who has so worked for the country as a handler of the national team who has been treated so shabbily.
“I don’t know what my offence is, for them to have refused to pay me this money. I have written and personally met with heads of NFF at different times and yet, the story remains the same.
“The last I did, I met the present NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, in the presence of Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, where I again tabled the matter.
“Even though he (Pinnick) expressed shock that I was yet to be paid, but he promised to do something quickly about it. But as of now, two years after, the story is still the same.
“But I am only interested in my money, not any addition,” he said.
Izilein said he was at a loss whether it has now become a crime to serve one’s fatherland. “Because, if not, why will I be pursuing what I laboured for after 17 years?
“So, I should be honoured while I am still alive and not when I am gone. NFF should honour me now by paying me the money and not cry and write glowing tributes on me when I am dead,” he said.