A group, PLAYYA Nigeria Youth Development Initiative has expressed disappointment over the reinstatement of the former Assistant Super Eagles coach, Mr Salisu Yusuf, who was allegedly indicted in 2018 by the Ethics Committee of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) for collection of bribes and manipulation of members of the national team.
The group said rewarding an indicted official with reinstatement would encourage corruption and
A statement signed by the Executive Director of the group, Eze Allosyius called for the immediate reversal of the reinstatement so as not to set a dangerous precedent.
The statement also asked the NFF to transfer the case file of its Ethics Committee to Nigerian anti-graft agencies like the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution in a regular court of law.
The statement read in part, “Mr Yusuf was the head coach of the Super Eagles Team B and assistant to the national team coach, Mr Gernot Rohr. He was caught on camera by Ghanaian investigative journalists posing as agents to several players.
“During the sting operation, which was widely publicised in national and international media, Mr Yusuf was seen collecting cash in US dollars from the supposed agents who had asked him to field certain players in the upcoming African Nations Cup championship.
“He was further promised 15 percent of the players’ contract after their selection into the team.
As against the figure quoted by the investigators who caught Mr Yusuf, he eventually agreed to receive $750 as a “gift of trivial and symbolic value”, while the NFF Ethics Committee found him guilty of collecting the sum of $1,000 in bribes.
He was therefore banned from any football activities for one year and asked to pay a fine of $5,000.
The group attributed sports underdevelopment in Nigeria to bribery and corruption, alleging that they characterised Amaju Pinnick-led NFF, ranging from shoddy deals of Nike contracts related to the hiring of Mr Rohr to inflated welfare and allowances of national team members.
“It is, therefore, no surprise that the public will view Mr Yusuf’s reinstatement as a sign of the NFF being comfortable working with confessed and convicted criminals (according to the very own NFF Ethics Committee),” the statement added.