New Telegraph

2026 FIFA World Cup: Resign If S’Eagles Fail To Qualify, Sports Editors’ Guild Tells Finidi

The Guild of Sports Editors, yesterday, told the board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that they must be ready to resign from the body if they failed to guide the Super Eagles to the 2026 World Cup finals scheduled to hold in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The body, which comprises all the managers of sports departments in the country’s major media organizations, said it viewed with dismay the poor performance of the Super Eagles in the ongoing qualifying series for the World Cup, adding that it is unacceptable that Nigeria is struggling in fifth position in a group that comprises Lesotho, Rwanda, Benin Republic, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Rising from a meeting yesterday, the Guild said that although the situation in Group C looks irredeemable after four games, Nigeria could still qualify for the World Cup if the NFF puts its house in order.

In a communiqué signed by its president, Mr Tony Ubani, the Guild said: “We are shocked by the manner Nigeria’s bid to return to the World Cup after missing the 2022 edition is being mismanaged by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) through wrong and belated decisions and inability to set the rules for the national team.

“The NFF waited until just a month to the resumption of the qualifiers before naming a coach through a process flawed by many stakeholders because it did not follow due process.

“They kept quiet when some of the members of the new technical crew rejected their appointments; they are not shown leadership even when some of the players rejected an invitation to the national team.

“Now is not the time to apportion blame, but the NFF must know that Nigerians cannot tolerate failure to qualify for the World Cup, especially now that Africa’s slot has been increased to nine countries.”

The Guild called for a complete overhaul of the NFF’s technical department, saying that the committee should contain only football persons with sound technical knowledge of the game.

“The technical department is supposed to be the engine room of the federation, which should direct what happens at the national teams. It is not a place for politically correct individuals who know little or nothing about the game.”

The editors lamented that Nigeria could only secure three out of 12 available points after four matches to languish in fifth position in Group C, saying that such poor form could have been avoided if the relevant persons did their jobs properly.

To arrest the situation, the body urged the NFF to scout for more corporate support for the Super Eagles, saying that the federation should spread its net to generate the resources that would aid its preparations for the remaining matches in the qualifying series.

It added: “The NFF must change its priority and take the national teams as the first among its responsibilities. The practice of packing the country’s delegation to matches with states’ FA chairmen and nebulous stakeholders, who add nothing to the Super Eagles, must be stopped. Monies saved from estacodes that are paid to these ‘stakeholders’ should be used to address issues in the national team, including remuneration for assistant coaches.”
The body also urged the NFF to check the way players are invited to the national team, saying that most of the players in the current Super Eagles squad have no place in the team.

“Some of the players are no longer relevant in the Super Eagles; their cycle is done. The entire Super Eagles system needs an overhaul and those officials, who have nothing more to add to the team, should go.

“The NFF should also investigate the players’ attitude to these qualifiers to find out if their output is a form of protest. We say this because some players can do anything to sack the coach if they don’t like him.

“So going forward, the NFF must ensure that only players willing to serve the country are invited to the national teams. It is embarrassing to see players pulling out of national assignments. It suggests that the NFF did not do its homework before inviting such players to camp.

“The NFF must also ensure that going forward players do not stroll into camp two days before any match. There must be a timeline for players to join the camp and appropriate sanction for anybody that flouts that timeline.”

On the technical crew, the editors said that Coach Finidi George has failed to galvanise his players to serve the country to the best of their ability, adding that Skipper William Troost-Ekong, who was left out of the last two games, should be brought back to offer leadership to the squad.

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