Nigeria Football Federation: Paul Le Guen Drama and Looking Beyond a Foreign Coach Appointment

paul le guenIt’s quite sad that the Nigeria Football Federation has failed to learn a lesson from Paul Le Guen’s rejection of managing the Super Eagles despite being announced as the substantive coach on Monday.

The football house must now continue to shop for another foreign coach amongst the list of shortlisted applicants that could take over the responsibility of qualifying the team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

However, will heaven fall if the NFF-led board under the leadership of Amaju Pinnick decides to ignore the call for the appointment of a foreign coach for the senior national team and focus more on the indigenous coaches?

Without any form of condemnation, there is no harm in spotlighting other credible coaches around the world but considering the NFF’s alleged financial constraints; it was reported by various news outlets that the sports body did not have the funds required to seal a deal with the French football manager, allegations of lack of funds go as far back as the sacking of former head coach Sunday Oliseh claiming to be missing months worth of salary from the House, but regardless the NFF must show a sense a responsibility at this level of the nation’s football.

Nigeria will meet their most fierce rivals Cameroon, Africa’s top ranked team Algeria and 2012 continental champions Zambia in Group B in the Russian 2018 final round qualifiers. Nigeria opens their World Cup qualifying campaign against Zambia in Lusaka on October 3, and host Algeria on November 7.

With just three months to the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia in Lusaka, it’s unimaginable that Nigeria is still battling with the announcement of a substantive coach even when “almighty” Spain and England have announced a new coach for their teams.

There is no doubt that the the House seems not to have total confidence in locally based coaches in spite of their past achievement from the underage level to the senior national team. Samson Siasia, for example, led the U-20 team to a silver winning feat at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the Olympic Games. He was also at the helm of affairs when the team won the 2005 U-20 African Youth Championship in Benin Republic with players such as Isaac Promise, Chinedu Ogbuke and Taiye Taiwo. So why not look inward, as there is no guarantee, at this point that a foreign coach would win the World Cup for Nigeria.

Emeka Ezeugo. News2.onlinenigeria.com

According to former Super Eagles defender Emeka Ezeugo, while speaking to Nigerian based newspaper Vanguard, the Nigeria Football Federation should banish the idea of waiting endlessly for a foreign coach after Paul Le Guen’s rejection, but focus more on Nigerian coaches for the task ahead.

“We have Nigerian coaches better than him. I think the NFF decided to give the job because he’s got a white skin. We don’t need a foreign coach to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia if football is properly run in the country.No foreign coach has ever won the World Cup. Le Guen didn’t deserve to be offered a job by the NFF because he is not a top quality coach. Since Le Guen has disappointed them (NFF), let them give the job to a Nigerian coach.”

“I’m embarrassed by the decision to offer Le Guen the job. We are going into the qualifiers unprepared. If you go into a battle unprepared, you have prepared to fail. We were number five in the world in 1994. Now we are 70th in the world, and 17th in Africa,” Ezeugo, who represented the country at the 1994 World Cup said.

Tunde-Disu-sundia_post

In the same vein, Former Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Tunde Disu, has charged the Nigeria Football Federation to look beyond hiring a foreign coach for the Super Eagles and focus on the fierce pponents’ profiles in Group B of the FIFA qualifers.

He had this to say while speaking to a reporter at The Punch, a Nigerian based newspaper, “I don’t think coaches will like to take Eagles’ job for now; we are in a tough group to qualify for the World Cup; consider Algeria and our perennial competitor, Cameroon and Zambia. If I am in the position, I will not call anybody else; I will give the job to the caretaker coach, Salisu Yusuf to take over. A lot of coaches have tasted that team but the only coach around now is Salisu who has also gone around and have the experience. He even won the friendly against Mali, so, I think he is competent enough to handle the team; he is qualified to lead them; we should support him to succeed,” Disu said.

Onigbinde
Adegboye Onigbinde. The Nation Nigeria

Meanwhile, former Nigerian coach and FIFA/CAF Technical Advisor; Adegboye Onigbinde, revealed to Completesportsnigeria.com that the decision of Frenchman Paul Le Guen to snub Nigeria after he was recommended for the Super Eagles coaching job by the Nigeria Football Federation was a national disgrace.

“A portion of FIFA rules talks about a game being brought into disrepute. The NFF by that singular act of shabbily handling the purported appointment and or recommendation of Le Guen and even making it a public discourse, to me, have brought Nigeria into disrepute and should have resigned or be sacked were it to be in other climes,” Onigbinde said.

“That a football federation interviewed a coach on Skype and announced to the world he has been recommended for appointment, only for the coach to say no, I don’t want your job, keep it to yourself. What a shame, what an embarrassment,” Onigbinde concluded.

(First photo of Paul Le Guen was derived from Footballtop.com and third photo of Tunde Disu was derived from Sundiapost.com)