Africa’s Top Investigative Journalist “Catches” Super Eagles Coach Taking Bribe
Super Eagles coach, Salisu Yusuf has been implicated in a bribery scandal that involved him taking money after a discussion with some “football agents” over player selection.
This is according to a video recording shared by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Monday night.
According to the broadcaster, the video recording was secretly filmed by an investigative team led by Africa’s leading investigative reporter, Anas Aremeyaw Anas as part of wider investigations into bribery and corruption in African football.
Recall that Anas recently led an investigation that exposed widespread corruption by top Ghana Football Association (GFA) officials and referees, which led to the resignation of FA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi, who was caught on camera taking bribes.
But in the latest video, said to have been recorded in September 2017, Yusuf could be seen counting dollar bills received from some investigative journalists from Anas’s team who pretended to be football agents.
In the 3.37-minute video, the “agents” could be heard telling Yusuf to accept the money, said to be $1,000 (app. N361,000), in exchange for inviting two unnamed players, who had previously played for the national team, to the African Nations Championship (CHAN) team.
Salisu is presently paid about N3 million monthly by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF).
The “agents” also promised the football coach several other financial incentives.
After receiving the bribe money, which negates the FIFA Code of Ethics against cash gifts, Yusuf could be heard saying, “They will be in CHAN”.
Nigeria got to the finals of the 2018 African Nations Championship played in Morocco between January 12, 2018 and February 4, 2018, and the investigative journalists confirmed that the players were indeed invited to the team.
However, Yusuf has denied any wrongdoing, saying the money did not influence his player selection.
Yusuf could also be seen telling the “football agents” that team selection was based on performance alone.
He said, “You see in football, it (team selection) is by your consistency and form.”
In a subsequent statement issued to the BBC, Yusuf further denied any wrongdoing, saying he neither promised nor committed to selecting players for games.
He added that he never asked the “football agents” for money; it was offered to him.
Yusuf further explained that the money he received from them was $750, not $1,000 as claimed by them.
In the same vein, Yusuf said he believes the money fell within the gifts that the FIFA Code of Ethics allows for, viewing it as of trivial and symbolic value and not as an inducement to play the two players represented by the two agents.
He said his influence over player selection was never affected and that he was not in breach of FIFA or NFF Codes of Ethics.
Yusuf is billed to take the Nigerian-U23 team to the Olympics in 2020.