When Gernot Rohr was appointed as the technical adviser of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, he contacted the German Football Federation about his new appointment in African most populous country, a nation known for his robost and sublime football , blessed with dynamic football talents and filled with millions of passionate football fans.
The German Football Association congratulated Rohr and recommended Jonathan Akpoborie and two other Nigerian football experts based in Germany to work with Rohr to achieve the targets set before him by the Nigeria Football Federation ( NFF ) regarding the Super Eagles.
The Nigeria Football Federation contacted Tunde Adelakun, who was based in London, England to accompany Rohr to Nigeria as a kind of tour guide in the country. Adelakun, as a sharp Nigerian man had another ideas. He was able to warm his way into the heart of Rohr and before any football stakeholder in Nigeria could realise what is going on, Rohr and Adelakun have become inseparable in the affairs of the Super Eagles. Rohr was even very bold to inform the NFF big chiefs that Adelakun is one of his assistants.
Adelakun was appointed as the International Liason Officer of the Super Eagles by Aminu Maigari led board of the Nigeria Football Federation. I am not too sure if he continues in that capacity when Amaju Pinnick and his executives came on board of the NFF in 2014, but he has been rendering services to the NFF in areas such as transportation and hotel accommodation whenever the Super Eagles want to play friendly games in Europe prior to the emergence of Rohr as the technical adviser.
Adelakun was fingered when the Super Eagles players refused to board a chartered aircraft to convey the team from London to South Africa 2010 World Cup. The chartered aircraft developed fault few minutes to take off, the engineers fixed the problem and then asked the Super Eagles players and other officials to board, but the players refused to board. Fear of the aircraft crashing enveloped the Nigerian contingent and nobody wants to die in such a tragic circumstance.
The matter even went to the court and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC waded in too by inviting Adelakun , but the hustler with British Passport did not honour the invitation from the EFCC till date. However, he was quick to honour the lure to be on the technical backroom staff of the Super Eagles from Rohr. It was alleged that $ 500,000.00 of tax payers’ money in Nigeria was paid to Adelakun for him to facilitate the deal of chartering an aircraft and I think it will be better for the anti – corruption agency of the government to still look into this matter.
Adelakun is a man of many parts . He was a special adviser to Issa Hayatou on so many projects in Africa including the CAF Hall of Fame project. He claimed that he is a consultant to England Football Association for over 15 years and he holds a UEFA Licence A Coaching Certificate, not forgetting to add that he claims to be a Surveyor. A multi talented professional indeed!
He may have all those certificates on his profile, though I doubt, but he appears more as a football agent or an intermediary. Adelakun is a typical Nigerian hustling in England in some ventures and one of his hustling ventures was as a Taxi Driver. I dont have any qualms with that because there is dignity in labour and being a taxi driver at one time is not a crime.
After the elimination of the Super Eagles at the 2002 World Cup co – hosted by Japan and South Korea, it was Adelakun that was at the Heathrow airport, London where Nigerian contingent stopped over from Japan on a transit to Nigeria. Adelakun was one of the taxi drivers that conveyed some of the football administrators to their hotel, but today Rohr wants him to be at the technical bench of the Super Eagles. What a transformation!
As football loving Nigerians are earnesly expecting the players that will be invited to the camp of the Super Eagles ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifying game against the Indomitables Lions of Cameroon, it will be interesting to inform all the passionate fans of the Eagles all over the world that Adelakun is the favoured Nigerian that scouts players for Rohr.
During the football season in Europe, Adelakun sits at home in London on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to watch Nigerian players and write a report of their performance and forwards it to Rohr as assesement of the players in their database. Remember that Rohr is mainly interested in players within the ages of 20 -25 years, so if a player is around 28 – 30 years, he is not in the category of the player to be accessed by Adelakun and Rohr.
Adelakun, being the beautiful bride of football agents, is he not the most sought after Nigerian in the selection or invitation of players to the Super Eagles? or should I define him as the middle man between Rohr and the football agents? Should I call him the the proxy man or the favoured one? He sees himself as a board member of the Nigeria Football Federation, more knowledgeable in football affairs than the rest members of the executive and technical committees of the NFF.
The former photo journalist earns $ 300 as daily camp allowance in the Super Eagles and $ 5,000.00 whenever the team wins a competitive game according to unconfirmed report from the camp of the Super Eagles. He is more like a camp commandant in the Super Eagles, attends tactical/technical section of the team. He is very powerful and the up coming players dread him in the camp. See Power! Rohr and Adelakun do have their own special meetings discussing technical aspects of the team ahead of any crucial game. Is this favour or a manipulation?
Imagine a shameful situation during one of the training sections of the Super Eagles at the practice pitch of the Godswill Akpabio stadium, Uyo few days to the humiliation Nigeria suffered against South Africa when Adelakun gave an order to the security officials at the stadium not to allow journalists to cover the training, claiming that it was a closed door training, but inside the pitch where the Super Eagles were training we could see some football agents and representatives of football agents watching the training of the pride of Africa, once rated the 5th best team in the world in 1994.
It took a vehement protest from sports journalists for about 20 minutes before one of the officials of the Super Eagles informed the security officials comprising of mobile police officers and other security agencies to allow the sports journalists including yours truly to cover the training. Does it then mean that football agents have more access and priviledges to watch the national team training at the expense of the sports journalists on the order of Adelakun? What a shame!
Was he not Adelakun that wrote the match report of the Africa Nations Cup qualifying game between the Super Eagles and the Bafana Bafana? Will Adelakun deny that it was not him? A surveyor writing a technical report of a football game? Are we treating land matters in the Super Eagles now? Oh! I forgot that he claims to have a UEFA Licence A Coaching Certificate. This is how low the Super Eagles have descended in a country blessed with so many former internationals,who have gone into coaching and other football matters, but a certain Adelakun is the one dictating the flight mode of the Super Eagles being one of the assistants of Rohr.
From all indications, as long as Rohr is the technical adviser of the Super Eagles, it is the time of Adelakun to shine in the team, having been around for more than a decade frolicking round the team from hustling as a taxi driver for the team to packaging some logistics for friendly games in England and getting involved in a faulty chartered aircraft deal that would have led to the demise of entire generation of the Super Eagles players enroute to the South Africa 2010 World Cup.
Thank God that the aircraft did not fly that day, but today Adelakun is the main man of Rohr. He has indeed hustled and schemed his way to the Super Eagles. From photo journalist in Nigeria to taxi driver in London and finding his way into the technical bench of the Super Eagles will be a good script for any Nollywood movie producer or director.
What the government officials in Nigeria, the football stakeholders and the fans of the Super Eagles earnestly desires is that the team should excel against the Indomitables Lions of Cameroon on 1 September by winning the maximum points at stake and get a favourable result few days later in Yaounde against the same team. Failure to be at the World Cup 2018 in Russia will lead to trilogy of tragedies for football in Nigeria having failed to qualify for both 2015 and 2017 African Nations Cup tournaments.
Adelakun, you have the ears of Rohr and I wish both of you would listen carefully to the heartbeats of football loving Nigerians to know what they want. What they want is simple, which is, make the Super Eagles great again in Africa and in the world. Do the right thing regarding the invitation and selection of players for any game. No player should feature in a game for the Super Eagles with the mindset to have a working permit in Spain, England, France or any other country in Europe.
Football passionate Nigerians wants players that will give the country a “ Participating Permit” at the World Cup in Russia next year and the AFCON 2019 in Cameroon. Super Eagles must not complete the tragic trilogy of not playing at three consecutive international football tournaments . This is where I stand and I am sure I am on the same page with millions of the fans of the Super Eagles in Nigeria and in diaspora.