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WRONG TIMING – Sango faults NFF on foreign coach

It is an open secret that following Federal Government approval, a delegation from the Nigeria Football Federation is presently in the United Kingdom to have…

It is an open secret that following Federal Government approval, a delegation from the Nigeria Football Federation is presently in the United Kingdom to have preliminary discussions with some of the expatriate coaches who have been shortlisted for job of coaching the Super Eagles.

Although at the time NFF began the search for a foreign coach for Eagles, world class coaches like Guus Hiddink, Louis van Gaal, Sven Goran Eriksson, Klus Toppmoller, Giovanni Trappatoni featured prominently, but at the last count all have opted out leaving the contest for the likes of Peter Taylor, Bruno Metsu, Ratmoir Djukovic, and Hassan Shehata, who has been in and out of the list as well as Lars Lagerback from Sweden.

Even if the NFF is wobbling and fumbling as far as hiring a foreign coach for the Eagles is concerned, there is hope that one day, a white-skinned coach will be handed the responsibility of leading the team to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but Nigerians like Sango are not impressed.

Speaking to Trustsports yesterday, the former sports Minister said even before now, it was glaring that Super Eagles needed a very sound technical adviser to lead them to the World Cup but calls by patriotic Nigerians for a competent coach to be engaged for the team fell on deaf ears.

He maintained that the NFF itself knew long ago that the team will only achieve results if handled by a mature and technically sound foreign coach but due to sentiments and other parochial considerations, nobody gave it a serious consideration.

Sango said even as time is fast running out, those assigned the responsibility as still going about their assignment as if they have all the time in the world.

“There is no need to pretend. We all know that Eagles need a foreign coach. Some of us made this view known long ago but nobody listened to us. Had it been our advice was taken, we wouldn’t be talking about a foreign coach at this late hour. It is certainly late but it is better late than never.

“Eagles need a technically sound and mature coach. Without any fear of contradiction, I can mention Hassan Shehata as the coach who has the pedigree to lead Eagles to the World Cup. He is an African coach who has proved his mettle and can be trusted with the job”.

He expressed shock that even as the task before the team is enormous, the NFF is still toying with the idea of hiring a grade one coach for Eagles instead of going for a truly world class coach who can make judicious use of the remaining time to assemble a team that will not be a laughing stock at the World Cup.

He noted that if in the end, the NFF makes another mistake of employing a substandard coach who can not command the respect of the players, it would amount to beautiful nonsense.

“These players are all based in Europe where they play under coaches who are technically sound. By the time you bring a low profile coach to handle them, you will certainly record disciplinary problems because the players will not have any respect for such a coach”.

Speaking on the chances of the team under a foreign coach, Sango said it is certainly late because whoever is eventually appointed to lead the team to South Africa can not perform any magic because the time is really over for any serious preparation for a championship of such magnitude.

“It is a little too late now for the team to achieve good results at the championship. The coach who is going to take over from Amodu will not have enough time to assemble a formidable team. He will need time to study the situation on ground. By the time he understands the terrain, the World Cup must have ended”.

Sango however urged the NFF to learn to be proactive as he insisted that what it is trying to do presently is doing the right thing at a wrong time because the foreign coach to be hired will not succeed with the team because of lack of time for adequate preparation.

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