After the Super Eagles failure to qualify for the 2016 African Cup of Nations in Gabon and with a substantive head coach yet to be named, Completesportsnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD offers five reasons why the Nigerian Football Federation should hire a foreign coach…
1. Battered reputation of Nigerian coaches
After the 2013 African Nations Cup triumph, the Super Eagles have had three indigenous coaches in charge and that hasn’t helped the team from a steady decline three years on.
Importantly, the reputation and tactical acumen which the foreign coach will bring to the Super Eagles will be an invaluable asset during what will presumably be a phase of restructuring.
The Nigerian coaches’ inability to qualify for the African Nations Cup for a second straight time has seen the country’s football at a crossroads. So hiring a technically sound coach could see the country instantly propelled back to the top with the right mix of talent, team bonding and NFF support.
The Super Eagles need a manager who can command the immediate attention and respect of the so-called ‘senior men’. Past coaches of the team have had issues curbing the excesses of these influential figures in the team which ultimately cost the team the AFCON ticket.
And of course not only can a foreign coach do just that, but can even inspire the likes of Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi Victor Moses, Elderson Echiejile and the emerging talents like Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho to become leaders and winners.
Currently the Super Eagles don’t have a defined style of play. What has been noticed recently is that the team often times showed naivety and a lack of quality both in attack and defence and have relied heavily on some individual brilliance to pull through in recent games.
The Super Eagles need a coach who can harness the current crop of emerging talent and use them effectively in their desired roles.
For instance, Mikel Obi is a player who has been a key member of the national team for over a decade and features for one of England’s biggest clubs Chelsea and yet Mikel has never hit the heights he promised since bursting onto the scene in 2005.
Some blame his lack of tactical application in game situations and his inability to become a thinking player like the Okocha’s and Nwankwo Kanus of this world.
Having stretched the Egyptians above board in the first leg draw in Kaduna, Coach Samson Siasia team never looked like a team that had a plan B to outwit a determined and resilient Pharoahs side in Alexandra. The team needs a bench that thinks faster.
3 Nigerian coaches can’t be trusted in player selection
Under the watch of local coaches, the Super Eagles have seen players nowhere near as good as their predecessors called up to represent the country.
Whether or not it’s the local coaches who selects the players, they surely have final say, and under their tutelage Nigerians have seen players not deserving of a place in the Eagles training.
Coach Samson Siasia needed a massive campaign on Twitter to call up Nigeria’s most in- form defender Leon Balogun for in his list of 21 foreign-based players for the Egypt games but there were places for Aminu Umar, Stanley Amuzie who has played two games since recovering from a cruciate ligament injury for Portuguese Second division side Olhanese and U-23s skipper Azubuike Okechukwu who was handed his debut in a crucial game against Egypt.
Sunday Oliseh too brought in average players like Rabiu Ibrahim, Haruna Lukman, Izunna Izuchukwu and Sylvester Igboun. Stephen Keshi had his own low-standard players like Reuben Gabriel, Michael Uchebo and the like.
4. Indigenous coaches don’t know their best team
There are lots of examples of managers whose tinkering on the job works for them. It has certainly not worked for Samson Siasia and his predecessors.
At the expense of a more experienced Ogenyi Onazi and Elderson Echiejile, Siasia opted to start his inexperienced Olympic players Azubuike Okechukwu and Stanley Amuzie which cost the team in Alexandra.
He also started Moses Simon and Alex Iwobi on the bench in the second leg despite been impressive in the first leg in Kaduna. The duo would have fared better than Ahmed Musa and Aminu Umar who started.
This also happened often under Oliseh and Keshi.
5. Nigerian coaches’ inability to motivate
Past coaches have failed to motivate the invited players to the Super Eagles due to their methods in favoring one player to the other which has left most of them looking woefully short of confidence.
The past three coaches had a knack for calling up their favourites for games at the expense of players who could actually make impact in games.
That defeat to Egypt which finally nailed Nigeria was a good example of the Eagles coming off second-best in a majority of the duels; not making good use of the ball, even though they played a possession game.
In such a scenario, a motivator who employs strategies to increase team unity and create a ‘siege mentality’, which makes his teams stubborn in defence and ruthless in attack was needed. A seasoned European coach should be able to do it.