Thursday, 26 July 2018

Salisu Yusuf's Exposure And The Big Problem Within Nigerian Football

The experienced tactician was caught on tape taking bribes in an episode which highlights the ills of the Nigerian game.
Salisu Yusuf
Just when things appeared like they couldn't get any worst for Nigerian football and its leadership, then the nation's favourite sport was hit with the revelation that Super Eagles assistant coach Salisu Yusuf had been caught on camera receiving a reported bribe of $1,000 from undercover agents.
The fee may have been relatively paltry, but Yusuf's act - ostensibly influencing the team-selection decisions for the 2017 Wafu Cup and 2018 African Nations Championship for his own game, are a glaring indictment of the state of Nigerian football today.
Predictably, social media has been abuzz, with many condemning the actions of a man who is highly respected in Nigerian football circles and hasn’t been alleged to engage in such practices before.
However, his actions shouldn't come as a surprise when such behaviour is rife in the nation. What Salisu Yusuf showed is nothing more than greed.
He has tried to defend himself by saying that he though the money was a gift and not a breach of the Fifa ethics code, but receiving $1,000 (equivalent to 365,000 Naira) for player selection is appalling, even before considering that Yusuf is reported to earn three million Naira a month as basic salary in order to put the nation's best interests first.
Sadly, these things happen on a regular basis in Nigeria. It is seen as the norm and is very difficult to challenge, because the country lacks a proper structure to weed out corruption. This starts from political governance, where responsibility, transparency and accountability are absent, and allows corruption to creep into the society.
The 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International ranks Nigeria 148th out 180 countries in the world in terms of its transparency, and this gives a clearer picture of the bad state the country is in.
If things were done properly, money would be channelled into the right areas such as youth and grassroots development, education, welfare, healthcare and infrastructure development. However, the love for money and power continues to be of greater importance and attention than the much needed growth.
Calls have been made for Yusuf to step down following this debacle, but Nigerian administrators regularly show a strong resolve to stay in their jobs in the midst of controversy, so it remains to be seen whether he will depart.
Furthermore, the Coaches Association of Nigeria has reportedly leapt to the defense of Yusuf, saying that he is their member and can’t accept what the video footage shows. They've also vowed to carry out their own investigation.
It's probably an attempt to cover up his tracks, as unions in Nigeria have a very strong and powerful influence. That Yusuf has been exposed does not mean the malaise of numerous corrupt acts in Nigerian football won’t continue.
It’s good to fish the bad eggs out, but if they have strong backing and are not willing to step down for their wrong actions, nothing will change.
Until there is a shift in the orientation of leaders, both within Nigerian football and the larger political landscape, to ensure that responsibility, accountability and transparency are the order of the day, the acts of Yusuf would be seen as acceptable.
After all, it’s a gift.
Written for by Solace Chukwu

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