• Filmed by undercover journalist taking $1,000 cash
• He should be handed over to police, says Mabo
• NANF calls for his removal
What appears a major scandal hit Nigerian football yesterday, as Super Eagles assistant coach, Salisu Yusuf, was caught on camera taking cash from men posing as football agents.
The footage was said to be captured by controversial BBC journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, in September 2017, but was broadcasted for the first time yesterday by BBC Africa Eye.
Yusuf, who is the chief coach of the Home-based Super Eagles, is due to lead the national team to Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He assisted coach Gernot Rohr at the just concluded Russia 2018 World Cup.
The former Kano Pillars chief coach, who was said to be receiving treatment in a London hospital, was accused of collecting $1000 from an unknown agent to field Kano Pillars Rabiu Ali and Osas Okoro of Rangers international during the CHAN Tournament in Morocco. Yusuf has allegedly conceded to the allegation, but claimed he collected the said money as a gift, not a bribe.
On July 7 this year, a two-year undercover BBC investigation into football in Africa revealed footage of over 100 referees and officials taking cash before games.
In his reaction yesterday, former coach of the Super Falcons, Ismalia Mabo, called for immediate prosecution of Salisu Yusuf saying: “There should be no cover up on this matter. Yusuf should be handed over to the police immediately, if the allegation is proven beyond doubt.”
On his part, the President of National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF), Harrison Jalla called for Yusuf’s immediate dismissal from the national team. “He should be banned from coaching any Nigerian team for the rest of his life,” Jalla said.
“We (NANF) will take over this matter because Yusuf has done a great damage to the image of Nigerian football. Over 90 percent of Nigerian coaches take bribe, but for a coach in the national team to come down so low, accepting a bribe of $1000 goes to tell the level of corruption in the system. It means so many Nigerian youths have been denied the chance of playing for the national team because of the dubious attitude of coaches like Yusuf.”
To some other stakeholders, the bribery allegation against Yusuf borders seriously, not only on his integrity as National team coach, but for the country.
The Amaju Pinnick-led NFF board gives coaches the best of treatment with all their entitlements fully and duly paid.
Apart from earning about N4 million monthly as salary, Yusuf was said to have made over $80,000 from bonuses for preparations and participation at the World Cup alone. He got $20,000 as winning bonus, as well as first class treatment on every national assignment.