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Salisu’s Status After Suspension Stirs Controversy

Various angles of controversy have erupted over a declaration by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that Super Eagles’ assistant coach, Salisu Yusuf has been left off the hook after serving a year’s suspension handed him by the nation’s soccer governing body, after being allegedly caught on video collecting bribe money.

However, while the NFF information department hinted in a press statement on Thursday that Salisu is set to take over the under-23 national team, Olympic Eagles from Imama Amapakabo, the body’s media officer, Ademola Olajire later stated that a final decision of the coach’s fate will be taken only by the soccer body’s executive committee.

Although Olajire added that Salisu is yet to be confirmed for a return to his position as assistant coach of the Eagles, nor as handler of either the home-based squad or under-23 team, a board member was quoted as saying officials at The Glasshouse have no choice but to reabsorb the 57-year-old tactician, due to terms of his contract with the NFF.

Salisu, who had been handed a $5000 last September after he was caught on camera taking cash from men posing as football agents, is apparently free to return to the spotlight, after the NFF on Thursday confirmed the end of his ban, but Olajire expatiated that the executive committee will now decide the coach’s next designation.

Olajire told BBC Sport: “Salisu Yusuf’s one-year ban ended on 5 September and he’s now free to return to management again. A decision about his return or not will be decided by the NFF executive committee.

“I must reiterate that Mr Yusuf has not been reinstated as assistant to Gernot Rohr, nor has he taken charge as head coach of the Super Eagles B team or the under-23 side. We understand the public interest in this, but a communication to that effect will be made available at the appropriate time.”

However, owngoalnigeria.com quoted an NFF board member stating that Yusuf will return to his job with the Eagles and he will still be in charge of the under-23 squad, because, according to the unnamed source, the coach still has a valid contract, stressing that terms of the Kano State-born coach’s legal agreement must be respected by the football federation.

He told Owngoalnigeria.com: “Many people don’t know that among the offence that led to his suspension from the national team, none could trigger a termination of his deal.

“Beside, from the day he was appointed Imama was told that upon the expiration of the ban on Salisu he will return. So the fuss about the decision is unwarranted.

“We can only appeal to him on that but we can’t force it on him because he has a contract with spelt out conditions that we can’t breach. Maybe he will accept but we can’t force it on him.”

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