The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have given Super Eagles coach Salisu Yusuf a one year ban from all football-related activities for allegedly taking a bribe to select players.
Yusuf was caught on camera collecting N357, 000 ($1,000) from journalists posing as football agents who wanted him to select two players for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).
Chief Coach of the Super Eagles Salisu Yusuf has been caught on camera taking cash from reporters posingas football agents who wanted their players to be selected for CHAN 2018.
The coach was invited to face the NFF Ethics Committee to state his own side of the story and after careful consideration, Yusuf has been given a one year ban from all football-related activities and fined $5000.
In a report submitted to the NFF Secretariat on Tuesday, September 4, the Committee say they found the coach guilty of accepting cash gift offered by the fake football agents on behalf of Osas Okoro and Rabiu Ali.
The Committee also believes that Yusuf made a deliberate decision to accept the cash gift and ruled that it was not an error of judgment on the part of the coach.
The Committee also found the video which was made public by BBC African Eye has a damaging effect on the reputation and integrity of Nigerian football.
The decision of the Committee to ban and fine Yusuf is in accordance with Art 22, FIFA Disciplinary Code.
The $5000 fine is to be paid within three months of the date of the decision.
Yusuf collected the bribe from fake football agents who wanted two players to be selected for CHAN 2018 (CAF)
As the chief coach of the Super Eagles, Yusuf is in charge of the Super Eagles home-based side and an assistant to Gernot Rohr for the Super Eagles.
He has however been left out of the Super Eagles coaching crew for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Seychelles on Saturday, September 8.
He was in charge of the Super Eagles Team B to the 2017 WAFU and 2018 CHAN where they lost in both finals.
In an investigation led by Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremeyaw, reporters posing as football agents for some players approached Yusuf in September 2017 for a conversation about players’ selection.
During the conversation, they handed the Nigerian coach N360, 000 ($1000) and alluded to more cash incentives if he selects their players for CHAN 2018 which held in Morocco.
The meeting happened in Ghana during the 2017 WAFU Cup where Nigeria finished second after losing the final 4-1 to host Ghana.
Money for players?
Yusuf had denied taking the money as bribe and said the cash gift did not influence his decision while selecting players for the tourney (NPFL)
“So if anything goes through and these players are able to get their contracts, you will get 15% of that contract,” one of the reporters posing as an agent told Yusuf to which he replied; “they will be in CHAN.”
The two players were eventually selected for CHAN 2018 although the investigation stated that there is no suggestion that the money given to Yusuf influenced the selection which the Committee also agreed to.
“You know in football it is supposed to be consistency and form,” Yusuf is heard telling the reporters in the clip.
The 56-year-old coach had denied any wrongdoing, insisting that he did not promise or committed to selecting any player.
He also claimed that he never asked the reporters for money and that it was just offered to him. The coach also clarified that he received $750 not the $1000 claimed in the report.
He also claimed that he viewed the money as a trivial and symbolic value which falls within the gifts FIFA code allows for and that his influence over the players’ selection was never affected.
He had also believed that he was never in breach of FIFA or NFF ethics code.
Yusuf is also the coach of the National U-23 side and due to lead Nigeria to the Olympics in 2020.
One of the most respected coaches in Nigeria, he worked as assistant manager of the Super Eagles under Stephen Keshi, Sunday Oliseh and Samson Siasia.
Yusuf led Kano Pillars to the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) title in 2008 and Enyimba to domestic Cup success in 2013.