Is Sunday Oliseh just misunderstood?

Is Sunday Oliseh just misunderstood?
From ESPN - February 15, 2018

While Valentine's Day is typically a day of couples getting together and celebrating their romance, there was a very definite separation between young lovers in the Netherlands, as Fortuna Sittard parted ways with Sunday Oliseh.

In the eyes of romantics, it was a poorly timed breakup, but despite leading the Dutch side from over two years of obscurity to the brink of a top-flight return, Oliseh's exit had begun to look inevitable.

Fortuna Sittard attributed the parting of ways to Oliseh's attitude and work ethic, referencing his inability to work with team personnel across the board.

For some, the news came as a surprise, but for many Nigerians, this felt like world-weary dj vu.

We have been here before with Oliseh, who has previously criticised Nigerians for being professional and is now being victimised in Europe for apparently being too righteous.

Unfortunately, his departure is merely the latest chapter in Oliseh's growing catalogue of conflicts which date back to his playing days.

In 2002, as Nigeria captain, Oliseh was at the head of a bitter war of attrition between the team on the one side, and most of the Nigerian media on the other.

That battle contributed to the team's coaches, led by the late Shaibu Amodu, getting fired. Key players, including Oliseh himself, were subsequently left out of the World Cup squad and, essentially, his international career was ended.

Two years later, while on loan at VfL Bochum from Borussia Dortmund, Oliseh was involved in a physical altercation with teammate Vahid Hashemian which ended with the Iranian getting a broken, bloodied nose after a headbutt by the Nigerian midfielder.

More recently, his time as Nigeria coach was marked by stormy confrontations with the Nigeria football hierarchy, and a public dustup with Vincent Enyeama which precipitated the goalkeeper's premature retirement from the national team.

Even former teammates, who declined to go on record, have detailed tales and anecdotes of confrontations and abrasive behaviour in camp.

This latest back and forth with Sittard is just the most recent chapter, and it has led to heated discussions in Nigeria, both for and against the former midfielder, Oliseh surely needs to start looking in the mirror.

Nigerian sprinter Enefiok Udo-Obong, an Olympic gold medallist, is one prominent sportsman who has taken the side

"The truth is that Oliseh is upright," he told KwesESPN. "People in Nigeria unfortunately do not appreciate that.

'"We love 'yes sir' men. That is why we hate bold people," he added. "It will be in the interest of young Nigerians to support Oliseh."

That sentiment is shared by Oliseh's elder brother Churchill, who is also heavily involved in football, and says his younger sibling has always been guided by a high sense of principle.

"He has played football at the topmost level and he realises that one of the things that keeps you relevant in the serious world of football is principle," the elder Oliseh told KwesESPN. "Everybody knew somebody like Sir Alex Ferguson and knew what he stood for. Today we all applaud his resolve," he added. "It is the same thing with Sunday. He has the desire to do well

"He is also linked with a list of serious organisations and bodies around the world. Any illegality will cost him and he has never been willing to lose his name because he wants to bend the rules or be treated unfairly by anybody," the elder Oliseh added.


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