Can Siasia Lead the Super Eagles to AFCON 2017?


It’s good music to the ear when quality coaches are hired to tinker a nation’s senior national team in a bid to rebuild, revive and restore the lost football glory days.

It’s also worthy enough to note that results always determine the impact a coach has made in a given team regardless of how they play.

However, will the same be said of the Nigeria Football Federation that appointed Samson Siasia as the interim boss of the Super Eagles after Sunday Oliseh’s resignation last month?

There is no argument about Siasia’s experience at the under-age level, most especially the U-20 and U-23 team where he led them 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.

Early this year, he guided Nigeria’s U-23 team to win the African U-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal, thereby qualifying the team for this summer’s Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.

However, Siasia has managed the senior national team from 2010-2011 where he failed to qualify the team to the 2012 African Cup of Nations which was co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon before he was sacked by the NFF.

In terms of tactical and technical patterns, the Lagos born tactician has proven to possess such quality going by his past record, which has seen his team play beautiful football against their opponent in Africa and the world.

Perhaps, the Nigeria Football Federation should have handed Siasia the job of qualifying the senior team for the AFCON, knowing fully that the huge task of beating the Pharaohs of Egypt on March 25 and 29 would be enormous.

Currently, Nigeria sit second with four points while Egypt are top of group G with six points as only the winner of the group will qualify for the African showpiece.

The three-time African champions narrowly missed out of the last edition of the bi-annual competition, of which a repeat won’t be accepted by Nigerians considering Nigeria’s status in African football.

Nevertheless, it is the belief of most Nigerians that the team has fallen down in the pecking order as far as African football is concerned. The winning aural and fighting spirit which has always been the strength of the team has more or less disappeared.

Besides, their last rankings of 62nd in the world and 11th in Africa explain the dwindling standard of football in the country, something which needs emergency attention.

But then, can Siasia be the X-factor in reviving the Super Eagles in their quest to qualify for the 2017 African Cup of Nations? Will he be capable enough to build a team that will overcome the Pharaohs of Egypt at home and away?

There are a thousand and one questions that will be on the lips of some Nigerians when the senior national team tackles Egypt on March 25 and 29.

It is also certain that he may want to stick to those players that played under Oliseh something which has been seen on his team list for the Egypt clash which has the likes of Carl Ikeme, Ahmed Musa, Leon Balogun, Aaron Samuel, Odion Ighalo, John Obi Mikel, and Ogenyi Onazi, considering the fact that he has limited time to invite new players onto the team.

According to former Super Eagles coach, Adegboye Onigbinde, he says the team will excel under Siasia depending on his program.

“First of all Siasia must show the depth of his knowledge and experience as a coach. The program he would submit to the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation will go a long way in helping him to achieve his objectives. That is the more reason why nobody can tell what will happen for now because as for me I don’t know what is on the mind of Siasia. So it is his program that will determine the chances the Super Eagles will have against Egypt. Also I don’t know what would be the reaction of his employers when he submits the program,” Onigbinde said.

It would a very sad outcome if the Super Eagles didn’t qualify for the Nations Cup, something which could affect their chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.