Super Eagles assistant coach, Salisu Yusuf has fired back with a strong rebuttal of a report by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that alleged he collected bribe to influence the selection of two players in the Nigerian national team, but top shots of the nation’s soccer body have already recommended him for disciplinary measures.
While the disciplinary committee of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have recommended punitive measures against the former Kano Pillars and Enyimba of Aba coach, Salisu has already written to the BBC to deny any wrongdoing cited in their film that has gone viral.
The video was done by respected Ghanaian journalist, Anas Aremeyas Anas in September 2017, when Salisu was preparing the Nigerian B-team for the WAFU Nations Cup, where they finished as runners-up after losing 4-0 to the hosts, Ghana, in the final.
Although Salisu pleaded his innocence, insisting that the money he collected was in the form of a gift and that it did not influence his decision in terms of players selection, the NFF Disciplinary Committee has however asked the board to sack him.
However, feelers from The Glasshouse indicate that Salisu will be relieved off his role as an assistant in the main national team as well as coach of the home-based Eagles and U23s, but will get a chance to defend himself.
That process he has already begun, as Salisu, who is undergoing medicals in London, said he neither asked for money and did not promise the agents he will pick players because of the cash they gave him.
The full text of Salisu’s letter to the BBC reads: “I hereby acknowledge your “PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL” letter of no date, giving me up to 12th July 2018 to respond to the following allegation:
““… as head coach of the Nigerian national team, you accepted $1000 in cash from men who claimed to be football agents representing two Nigerian nationals. One individual said he hoped these two nationals would play in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) before the money was handed over. You accepted the money at the Best Western Plus Atlantic Hotel, Ghana, in September 2017.”
“I confirm meeting with two persons in September 2017 at the said Best Western Plus Atlantic Hotel, Ghana where I had lodged, who introduced themselves as football agents to two players whose names I cannot now remember.
“These individuals spoke to me, among other football related matters, on the possibility of their principals playing in the African Nations Championship in Nigerian colours. I can remember giving them my honest answer to the end that if the said players were found suitable in the selection process, they would indeed be selected.
“My response was neither a promise nor a commitment, knowing that I was not the sole person saddled with selecting players for any particular game.
“There is nothing in the text of your allegation quoted above, indicating that the footage availed you by Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Tiger Eye, points to a demand for the money from the agents of the two principals. Rather, the agent only handed the money to me after expressing “hope” that the principals would play in the Championship.
“Be that as it may, I did accept cash handed to me by one of the said football agents, which I later discovered, upon checking, to be $750 and not $1000.
“Nonetheless, my understanding of the FIFA and NFF Codes of Ethics, particularly Sections 20 of the said codes, is that, gifts of any kind could be accepted by persons bound by the Codes which are: of symbolic or trivial value.
“(They) exclude any influence for the execution or omission on an act that is related to one’s official activities or fall within one’s discretion; are not contrary to one’s duties; do not create any undue pecuniary or other advantage; and do not create a conflict of interest.
“My understanding of sub-section 2 of section 20 of the Codes, which you partly reproduced in your letter is that, cash gifts are prohibited only in all cases of doubt concerning the five allowances for gifts prescribed by sub-section 1 of section 20.
“In any case, I did accept $750 handed to me by one of the two agents to the two Nigerian players only as a gift of trivial and symbolic value and not as an inducement to play the two players represented by the two agents, as Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Tiger Eye would want you to believe. Thank you.”