Ex-Players Divided Over Hiring Of Foreigner As Super Eagles Coach

FORMER Super Eagles stars have expressed different opinion over hiring a foreigner as coach of the senior national team.

Following Jose Peseiro’s departure after guiding the Eagles to the Africa Cup of Nations final in Ivory Coast in February, discussions have intensified over the Portuguese ideal successor with over 60 candidates reportedly applying for the job.

With the Nigeria Football Federation on the verge of announcing Peseiro’s replacement, foreigner contenders Danny Buijs, Domenec Torrent and Antonio Conceicao and homeboy Emmanuel Amuneke are reportedly front runners for the position.

Former Eagles defender, Abbey George, argued that local coaches might struggle to manage the national team players.

“There is no local coach who can handle the big ego of the Super Eagles players so that he can earn their respect,” the former Crewe Alexandra defender said during a radio interview with Brila FM monitored by our correspondent on Wednesday.

“It is important that the next coach has the full respect of the players because without that, you cannot guarantee success. And I have looked around for that Nigerian coach who can do this, and I cannot see.”

Ifeanyi Udeze, another ex-international, shares similar sentiments, expressing a preference for a foreigner as coach of the national team.

“Left to me I will prefer a foreign coach to handle the Eagles,” Udeze said on Brila FM.

“But if the NFF goes ahead to appoint a local coach, no problem, because there is no time, the World Cup qualifiers is close but my preferred choice is a foreign coach.”

However, former Eagles captain and coach, Sunday Oliseh, has backed Emmanuel Amuneke for the job.

“If he is the only indigenous coach left on the shortlist then he should get it,” Oliseh said.

“Everyone knows I’m an advocate of an indigenous coach for the Eagles. I have said it that we don’t need a foreign coach we just need to get our house in order.

Garba Lawal, a member of the Atlanta ‘96 gold-winning squad, also raised concerns over hiring a foreign coach.

He highlighted past performances under both foreign and local coaches, suggesting that success hinged on various factors beyond coaching nationality.

“We should forget about those coaches,”Lawal told PUNCH Sports Extra.

“Once you talk about a foreign coach, people will ask whether we have money to pay him. So, it is not advisable to go for a foreign coach now, because you have to put money on the ground before he comes.”

Felix Owolabi, a member of the NFF Technical Committee, proposed a hybrid approach, blending the strengths of both local and foreign coaches.

Reflecting on past successes, Owolabi recalled the triumphs under foreign coaches Otto Gloria and Clemens Westerhof, as well as Stephen Keshi’s victory as a Nigerian coach, suggesting that excellence could be achieved through a combination of talents and perspectives.

“To manage the Eagles, the coach must have integrity such that the players will respect him,”Owolabo said.

“And there should be an understanding that such a person will respect the local league, which is the future and destiny of our football.

“A mixture of both with a perfect understanding will give us results. After all, the three times we won the African Nations Cup, we had two whites, Otto Gloria and Westerhof. You can only get the best if you go for the best,” he said.

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