Nigeria’s coach Salisu Yusuf, a Senior National Team Coach, has been banned for one year for accepting $1,000 from an undercover reporter.
The Chief Coach, under Technical Director Gernot Rohr, was also ordered to pay a fine of $5,000 by the NFA, following the revelation of a video showing the coach taking cash from the same undercover reporting team that exposed FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi of Ghana.
Nyantakyi who was President of the Ghana Soccer Association, Vice President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), as well as a member of the powerful FIFA Council, had to resign all three positions. He was caught in a sting operation taking $65,000 in bundles of cash from the reporters and stuffing them into a black plastic bag. He is still under investigation by the global ruling Football body, FIFA.
Yusuf who was Rohr’s most senior assistant with Nigeria, at the world cup in Russia, accepted money from a reporter posing as an agent, who reportedly asked him to select certain players for a tournament in Morocco earlier this year, when Yusuf was in sole charge of the team.
The reporters claim to have had the meeting in September of 2017. They allegedly requested Coach Salisu to ensure that Defender Osas Okoro and Midfielder Rabiu Ali were in Nigeria’s squad for the African Nations Championshi in January and February of 2018.
In the secretly-filmed video, Yusuf is seen promising that the players will be picked for the tournament, after which the reporter hands over the cash and they shake hands.
The two players were selected for the tournament but the NFA insists that there was no evidence that the money influenced Yusuf’s decision as the duo were expected to make the squad anyway.
The NFA’s ethics Committee, Wednesday, however said that, Coach Salisu Yusuf made a “conscious and deliberate decision” to accept a cash gift, which is prohibited.
The Coach was cleared of another charge that suggested that the reporters had offered him a 15 percent cut from the players’ future contracts if he helped boost their careers with the National Team. The NFA Ethics Committee cleared him of the charge, because, according to them, “there was no follow-up action on the promise”.
There is however no indication that the two players were aware of the arrangement between the reporters and the coach.
Yusuf is the latest African football official to be roped in a bribery scandal amongst other officials, coaches and about 20 referees implicated in a series of operations by Ghanaian undercover reporter Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his team.
The videos unfortunately show a sport still struggling to free itself from the stranglehold of bribery and secret meetings three years after the FIFA Corruption scandal that brought down some of the biggest names in global football.