The Nigeria Football Federation have not hidden their intention to hire a foreign coach to take charge of the Super Eagles after the recent failure of the team to reach their targets.
Nigeria prosecuted the ill-fated 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with three coaches, and before Samson Siasia came on board on interim basis, the mantle was held by Sunday Oliseh whose promising start ended with a face-off between him and his employers.
As the NFF and the sports minister Solomom Dalung deliberate on the pros and cons of appointing a foreign coach, Completesportsnigeria.com’s IZUCHUKWU OKOSI examines why it will be in the best interest of the team to have Samson Siasia continue as the coach of the Super Eagles…
1. ATTITUDE OF FOREIGN COACHES
Most foreign coaches who work in Africa are mainly employed during crisis situations. The FA will go for them believing that their expertise and orientation will help steady a sinking ship.
However the foreign coaches tend to take the FA for granted. They give the impression that they are doing the country a favour. They mostly insist on living in their own countries, rather than the countries that employ them.
They usually work like visiting experts and do not spend enough time to monitor local talent.
A good example to cite in this instance is the face-off between the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and former Chelsea manager, Avram Grant.
The Israeli had stayed away from Ghana longer than usual and had to be written by the GFA before finally accepting to relocate to Ghana from England.
2. FOREIGN COACHES ARE EXPENSIVE
Employing a foreign coach will be expensive.
And let’s face it, its not as if the NFF will hire the likes of Jose Mourinho, Giovanni Trappatoni, Diego Simeone, Michael Laudrup Guus Hiddink (who will leave Chelsea at the end of the season after the end of his interim stint in charge of the Blues), Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini who will leave the club at the end of the current season as Pep Guardiola arrives at the Etihad or even Christian Gourcuff who only on Sunday quit his job as the national team coach of Algeria and the other world class coaches presently available.
The Glass House will regretfully go for coach(es) who have not made any meaningful impact in world or African football in recent memory. And even these coaches will want to earn at least four times what Nigerian coaches earn.
It is instructive to note that the NFF have complained of lack of funds. Will they sustain that expensive luxury as the sports minister, Solomon Dalung, asked during a session he had with the NFF chieftains on Tuesday in Abuja? The answer is possibly not so encouraging.
3. SIASIA’S OLYMPICS DUTY
Samson Siasia has always performed well with youth teams.
The former Super Eagles striker will lead Nigeria’s U-23 national team to Rio in Brazil this August for the football event of the 2016 Olympics.
With the promise his team have always shown at youth tournaments coupled with the fact that the Super Eagles have players of an average age of 23, the future will indeed be bright as Nigeria will have players under Siasia who could play for at least another ten years.
The likes of Alex Iwobi, Isaac Success, Oghenekaro Etebo, Azubuike Okechukwu, Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Kelechi Nwakali, Musa Yahaya and so on are expected to feature at the Olympics.
The likes of Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo and Ahmed Musa, Kenneth Omeruo could play as the over-aged players.
That transition from the U-23 team to the Super Eagles setup who will start the last round of qualifiers to the 2018 World Cup in October will only bode well for the team and Nigerian football in general.
4 DISCOVERY OF MORE HOME-GROWN TALENTS
Despite the bittersweet relationship between the Nigeria Football Federation and Stephen Keshi, one positive that cannot be taken away from the one-time Strasbourg of France libero is his desire to work with some few home grown talents.
The likes of Godfrey Oboabona (then Sunshine Stars), Ejike Uzoenyi (then Enugu Rangers) and Sunday Mba (then Warri Wolves) to name but a few are quality players in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) who have either won the Africa Cup of Nations or played at the FIFA World Cup as home-based players.
Agreed, when players in the Nigeria Professional Football League get lucrative deals abroad, their game could improve due to the world class facilities, coaches, teammates etc at their disposal, but conversely, there are some players in the local scene that have proven to have sheer talents and are hard workers than the over-pampered foreign exports.
A foreign coach for the Super Eagles may not be favourably disposed to travelling round Nigeria to watch NPFL games and unearthing the next gems especially as there are supposedly security threats in some parts of the country.
Such a coach will be more interested in monitoring players abroad than developing the game at the grassroots.
Samson Siasia is expected to follow the footsteps of the likes of Keshi and even Clemens Westerhof before him by handing opportunities to these talents back in the Nigerian league.
5. SIASIA WILL CONVINCE MORE NIGERIA-BORN STARS TO REPRESENT NIGERIA
Samson Siasia was keen to cap former Arsenal youngster Chuks Aneke but unfortunately he lost his Super Eagles coaching job after the failure to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
Only recently Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi chose to represent the country of his birth, Nigeria, and not England.
A pattern here shows that Siasia loves giving opportunities to young talents. After all, if you are good enough, you are old enough.
The likes of Kenneth Otigba (Herenveen in the Dutch league), Moses Odubajo, Chuba Akpom (both Hull City) Dominic Iorfa jnr (Wolves), Dominic Solanke (Chelsea), Tosin Adarabioyo (Manchester City) could be the next youngsters to follow Alex Iwobi to the Super Eagles in the nearest future.
Samson Siasia will give chances to more young talents who could be in dilemma over which nation to represent.