NFF ‘goes slow’ in selection of Super Eagles coach

At the end of AFCON 2023, that was in February 2024, José Peseiro, the Portuguese Manager that took the Super Eagles to Cote d’Ivoire became history. His contract was not renewed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) despite getting to the final of the championship and putting up a credible performance. Majority of Nigerian football fans were not happy with the team’s tactics, saying he is not good enough for Nigeria’s ambitions to become a world beater.

Since then, the NFF has been unable to announce a new gaffer for the senior national team. There appears to be a ‘go slow’ in the selection of the right manager for what would be a new national team.

Two friendly matches were played under a temporary arrangement with the Nigerian assistant coach to Peseiro, Finidi George, in charge. The team won the first friendly against Ghana, but lost the second. The loss to Mali may have sealed Finidi’s fate as the substansive coach, asthose who are not comfortable with a Nigerian as head have continued to point to Finidi’s seemingly poor technical performance in that match. They forgot to acknowledge that the team was notprepared for the match; they alsoforgot to appreciate the fact that Finidi worked alone on the bench without any other member of the technical crew, and several of his players were not available.

However, with about seven weeks to the next World Cup qualifying match, the debate in the media has been who should lead the team in the all important match. Should it be another foreigner or a Nigerian for a change? Every Nigerian has become an expert in who should take charge.
Amid these discordant voices, the NFF must make an announcement soon.

One thing is clear, except amongst hard-line critics of Nigerian coaches, there appears to be little appetite for another half-baked foreign coach in Nigeria. The rackets attached to the hiring of foreign coaches may not find a luxury accommodation in the life of a government that is trying to weed the system of corruption. The NFF also does not have the funds.The Federal Government will not accommodate the humongous fees of foreign coaches in the present dispensation.

So, it will be a Nigerian as next manager of the Super Eagles.

Why has the NFF not identified the most suitable amongst those that have indicated an interest, or that the body has identified and appointed a new national coach?
There is a lot of politicking going on. Nigerian coaches appear not to tick all the boxes of requirements, and are not eliciting the confidence of officials of the NFF with vested interest in a particular aspirant.

As things stand, however, a decision has to be taken now. Pundits point in the direction of a former international player as the next coach. He appears to be the preferred choice of many in the media, particularly, the social media. It will be a surprised if he doesn’t get the final nod to lead the team. It will, however, become a Herculean task to convince his critics that he is the best of the lot considering his antecedents when he was in one of the junior teams.

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