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Mixed reactions as NFF moves to hire another foreign coach for Super Eagles

Following the decision by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to part ways with the technical adviser of the Super Eagles, Gernot...

Following the decision by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to part ways with the technical adviser of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, Nigerians have been speaking on the calibre of coach they want as replacement for the under-fire Franco-German tactician. 

The NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, was reported as having discussions with a Serbian coach but that has been kept on hold due to the order from the Federal Ministry of Sports that due process must be followed in disengaging the coach whose contract is supposed to end in December 2022. 

However, considering the clarion call by Nigerians for the sack of Rohr, it is only a matter of time for his dismissal to be made official. He is indeed one of the most unpopular expatriate coaches to have handled the Super Eagles. 

Therefore, one of the most topical issues in Nigerian football at the moment is who should replace the Franco-German coach when he is eventually given the boot. While some are of the opinion that another foreign coach should be hired to lead the Super Eagles, others are of the view Nigeria has had enough of expatriate coaches, especially the unknown ones. 

It is against this background that Trust Sports spoke to a cross section of key football stakeholders in the country to get their views on the calibre of coach they want hired for the Super Eagles. 

A former member of the House of Representatives and proprietor of defunct Jos City Raiders, Hon. Lumumba Dah Adeh said “My attitude to appointment of foreign coach has always been whether foreign or local, if Nigeria aspires to present a formidable team, the NFF should go for the best coach anywhere in the world, be he a Nigerian, European, American, Japanese, whatever.

“We deserve the best because we aspire to be the best. And we agree that we have abundance of talents even though that can be put to question now especially given that Nigerian players are no longer doing well in some of the biggest clubs in Europe and across the world,” he said.

Lumumba, however, said if the NFF is looking for an interim coach who would lead the Super Eagles to the 2022 AFCON and the final round of the 2022 World Cup playoff, a foreign based Nigerian coach should be considered.

“If we are just thinking of an interim arrangement, in my opinion, I think a foreign indigenous coach like Sunday Oliseh should be considered. Of course, he is foreign based, he has managed clubs and he once coached the Super Eagles. He will be the right choice since he is both foreign and indigenous.

“With all due respect to indigenous coaches, I don’t know who among them can command the respect of the Super Eagles players. There will be the problem of complex and respect. So if it must be a Nigerian coach, it should be someone in the mould of Sunday Oliseh, Samson Siasia or Emmanuel Amunike,” he noted. 

The Chairman of FCT Football Association (FCTFA), Alhaji Adam Mouktar Mohammed, said the time has come for Nigeria to develop the capacities of indigenous coaches by entrusting some of them with the responsibility of handling the Super Eagles.

He, however, said if the NFF would want to go for a foreign coach, it must be someone who will hit the ground running based on his previous knowledge of African football.

“If you bring a new foreign coach, you must be certain he is used to the African style of football and will hit the ground running.  I don’t see a new face coming into our football and making any meaningful short-term impact.

“I wish we can build our own capacity and have long term plans. The earlier we see our own coaches as capable and give them the confidence to grow and deliver on the job, the better for us. Currently, we have a set of very capable hands in the country to do the job,” He stated.

Adam also said the idea of mixing up foreign coaches with indigenous ones can be counter-productive as he opined there should be a clear leader who would call the shots and take full responsibility for every decision taken.

Adam’s view was supported by a former Super Eagles midfielder, Dahiru Sadi, who said, “We have Nigerian coaches who can do the job. We have Salisu Yusuf, Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amuneke, Imama Amapakabo, Kennedy Boboye and a host of others. They are sound coaches so why not give them a chance?

 “I believe any of them with the support of the NFF can make us proud. It is high time we gave our coaches a chance and any one that gets the job should be allowed to pick his assistants so that he can take full responsibility for the team.

 “We don’t need a foreign coach. What we need is someone who will stay in Nigeria to watch our local league and select players for the national team. This is my candid opinion.”

For a former member of the NFF Medical Committee and Director of JEC Hospital Sulejah, Dr. John Ogbadu, there is absolutely no need for the football federation to waste public funds on another foreign coach.

“I say a capital NO to foreign coaches. What is the essence of having a coach who spends most of his time outside the country, does not watch our leagues, has no development plan but is touring the world in search of players he can easily monitor here in Nigeria in the comfort of his room? No country allows for such nonsense except Nigeria.

“If NFF is transparent, there are indigenous coaches who can do the job. Some of the so-called foreign based players who may not respect our local coaches should be disciplined. They should be made to understand that playing for the country is a favour to them, not the other way round,” said Ogbadu.

On his part, a former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Sports, Hon. Godfrey Gaiya, said Rohr has failed to add value to Nigerian football and the time to sack him is long overdue.

He said the NFF should go all out for a credible foreign coach to coach the Super Eagles as he also maintained that indigenous coaches lack the technical knowledge to handle the senior national team.

“Sacking Rohr is something that is long overdue. He has been unable to take Nigerian football higher. It is sad that we now struggle to win against the weakest of teams. Our team plays without a definite pattern. I think the NFF should do Nigerians, particularly those of us who are passionate about football, a favour by asking Rohr to go.

“If the NFF listens to the cries of Nigerians for Rohr to be sacked, we should go for a more competent coach. A sound coach who may not necessarily be a Nigerian but someone with the pedigree for coaching teams that have flair for African football.

“We cannot talk about Nigerian coaches at this moment. The truth is that most of them lack the necessary technical knowhow to coach this team. Going by the mentality of Nigerian coaches, if he sees that the players are earning higher than him, complex will set in.

“Such a coach will find it difficult to look at the players’ faces and ask them to sit up. They will tell him to his face that if he were a good player, where did he end up? So we need a foreign based coach who has seen it all and can tell the players to sit up or get out,” said Gaiya.

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