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Osimhen adds insult to Finidi’s Super Eagles, NFF injuries

 

 

FINIDI George was one of the top players in Europe at the peak of his career and was presumably on the way to the summit of his fledgling coaching life just a few short weeks ago.

However, in a matter of days it has all gone south for the Super Eagles head coach.

Finidi not only led the Super Eagles to disastrous results in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, he was also given short shrift by his employers the Nigeria Football Federation, which led to his acrimonious departure.

To add insult to injury, Finidi was then publicly ridiculed by Victor Osimhen over an unverified report.

There was and still is no proof that the story that led to Osimhen’s utterly disrespectful rant against Finidi was factual, but that did not stop the Napoli striker from raining insults on the man who was winning major trophies as a top player even before the Napoli striker was born.

The news report (not by Naija Times) quoted Finidi as pretty much questioning Osimhen’s commitment to the Super Eagles, with insinuations that the striker faked an injury in order to avoid the World Cup qualifiers in June, in which Nigeria drew at home to South Africa and shockingly lost to Benin Republic in Abijdan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Finidi purportedly made this allegation during a crisis meeting with the NFF and sports minister John Enoh after the damaging results, but no single person at the meeting has corroborated the report.

Instead of reaching out to Finidi to sort out the issue, Osimhen went ballistic, taking to social media to display his utter disdain for the former international.

One major takeaway from Osimhen’s contemptuous rant is that present day footballers believe so much in their own hype and do not realise how fortunate they are to be mentored by real national heroes.

Some have suggested that Osimhen might not even have seen footage of Finidi in action in his playing days or read about his achievements with the Super Eagles and Ajax.

Because if Osimhen knew Finidi was one of the best players in Nigeria’s ‘golden generation’ that qualified for the country’s first World Cup in 1994 and won the Africa Cup of Nations the same year, he probably would have displayed more restraint and respect.

At club level, Finidi was an integral part of the Ajax team that won the UEFA Champions League in 1995 and reached the final the following year, clearing almost all the domestic Dutch trophies along the way.

That was three years before Osimhen was born.

There was no courtesy in any form extended to Finidi in that Instagram video Osimhen made less than 24 hours after the contentious report was published.

Despite the fact that there are 28 years between them in terms of age and some huge achievements in terms of club and international trophies, Osimhen referred to Finidi in that video so dismissively it was shocking.

“Una dey talk nonsense. I no care if dat thing wey Finidi talk na false or whatever. I go post that video of when I dey follow Finidi talk and the screenshot.

“Respect wey I get for that man, I don lose am now. I swear to God I don lose am now because why. I call am, I tell am dis thing. I tell am make him allow me make I come camp, make I come dey with the boys.”

Above is an extract of the Osimhen rant in pidgin which was posted the same day Finidi resigned and days after he was demoted from head coach to a foreign technical adviser’s lackey.

Before the Instagram video, Finidi was already dealing with players casually sauntering into camp two days before a crucial World Cup qualifier and an NFF that demoted him without first informing him personally.

Obviously, it is understandable that a player as committed to national duty as Osimhen is would feel incensed when his loyalty to Nigeria is questioned, but there are far better ways to deal with the matter.

He could easily have issued a press statement detailing the nature of his injury and how he wanted to even be with the Super Eagles to give moral support.

Osimhen did not need to be so uncouth about the whole situation, especially when there was no hard evidence that Finidi ever said anything foul about him.

Indeed, in the report that caused the misguided lashing out, there was no direct Finidi quote, it was ‘sources’ that allegedly heard him talking.

There have been suggestions as to how the matter should be handled going forward, and none of them, at least by prominent voices, favours Osimhen.

The majority of Nigerians, after finding out that Finidi indeed had not said what he reportedly said about Osimhen, have demanded that the Napoli striker make a public apology to the coach.

Although there was divided opinion on social media in the immediate aftermath of Osimhen’s rant, with the younger ones siding with Osimhen and the older ones appalled by his lack of courtesy, the realisation later that Finidi was a likely victim of fake news tilted support mostly in his favour.

Idah Peterside, a former Super Eagles colleague of Finidi’s, has called for Osimhen to apologise, while former media officer of the team Toyin Ibitoye has suggested the introduction of a Code of Ethics for the players and staff, which would obviously lead to sanctions for action similar to Osimhen’s.

Indeed, there is a growing feeling that, despite his importance to the Super Eagles, Osimhen should be heavily fined or even suspended for his outburst, especially as he has not apologised days after.

Of course the results and performances under Finidi were underwhelming and there needed to be some kind of reaction from the NFF, but he would still feel that he was not fairly treated.

And Osimhen’s utter disregard and disdain for his person would make Finidi feel like a man that was knocked down by an elephant and then got kicked while lying prone by a mouse, the NFF being the elephant and Osimhen the mouse.

Finidi was once described as the best crosser of the ball in the world and has played key roles in AFCON and UEFA Champions League triumphs.

He also featured and scored in Nigeria’s first-ever senior World Cup in 1994 and is regarded as a legend at Ajax and hero-worshipped at Real Betis.

Several football lovers who spoke to Naija Times believe that instead of disdain, what Finidi deserves from Osimhen and the present generation of Super Eagles players is total respect as they hope to reach his heights.

Osimhen and his colleagues should look up to Finidi, not look down on him.

 

 

 

 

 

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