Ex-Super Eagles stars divided over NFF's treatment of Finidi George

Finidi George. (Photo Credit: Imago)

Ex-Super Eagles stars divided over NFF's treatment of Finidi George

Ayoola Kelechi 16:17 - 14.06.2024

The NFF's decision to appoint a technical adviser to preside over Finidi George has caused a debate among ex-Super Eagles stars

With Finidi George’s job on the line after Nigeria’s desperate results in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, former Super Eagles players are divided over the NFF’s treatment of the former Ajax winger.

Several former Nigeria internationals have condemned the Nigeria Football Federation for their decision to appoint a new foreign coach for the Super Eagles while giving the current coach of the team Finidi little leeway to navigate a difficult start to his job as Nigeria's national team manager.

NFF looking for Foreign adviser

The NFF recently announced that it would begin a search for a foreign coach, who will serve as technical adviser to Finidi George, ahead of the 2025 AFCON qualifiers and the six remaining 2026 World Cup qualifiers as rumours circulated that the current manager might be relieved of his position following disappointing results against South Africa and the Benin Republic.

Alex Iwobi against South Africa | Imago
Alex Iwobi against South Africa | Imago

The Super Eagles drew at home against the Bafana Bafana before suffering a defeat against the Benin Republic to leave World Cup hopes and faith in Finindi very scanty. 

A communique from the NFF read, “The executive committee resolved to employ an expatriate technical adviser for the Super Eagles in the coming weeks, ahead of the AFCON qualifiers and the remaining FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.”

Ex-Super Eagles divided over NFF decision

The NFF’s decision to appoint a foreign coach less than two months after the appointment of Finidi, who took over on a permanent basis from Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro has been met by disgruntled ex-Super Eagles star. .

Former Super Eagles midfielder Friday Ekpo said in a recent interview, “So, what will they do if the foreigner they are bringing loses or draws his first game? Sack him? They are not serious, they should allow Finidi to build for the future.

Former Super Eagles star Friday Ekpo | Complete Sports
Former Super Eagles star Friday Ekpo | Complete Sports

“They should about the long term, bringing an expatriate as a technical adviser is a wrong thing to do. When Peseiro was here and was losing, did they employ a technical adviser for him? You gave him a job to do and in less than two months you are bringing someone else to boss him. Something is wrong somewhere.”

AFCON 2013 winner, Azubuike Egwuekwe, was also of the opinion that the NFF were making a mistake, saying, “How convinced are they that the foreign coach will win the remaining six games?

“I am very disappointed because we don’t need a foreigner. Finidi just played two (competitive) games, he drew and lost one. 

“They should have stuck with him for a longer time. I feel he should have gotten more support This will also affect the home-based players as foreign coaches rarely look at the NPFL.”

Another former Nigeria international Ifeanyi Udeze was in support of the NFF’s decision, backing the federation’s decision to hire an expatriate over his former teammate Finidi.

He said, “I think what they’re trying to do is to see if they can salvage the situation. We all know how Nigerians felt losing to Benin Republic and drawing to South Africa. It’s kind of difficult to see if we’ll qualify for the World Cup now and what they’re trying to do is see if someone can inject new ideas into the team.

Nigerian full-back Ifeanyi Udeze | Sporting Heroes
Nigerian full-back Ifeanyi Udeze | Sporting Heroes Nigerian full-back Ifeanyi Udeze | Sporting Heroes

“Finidi is one of us and I think he’s a good coach who will come perform but this isn’t the time for experiments, whatever they need to do, they should to get us the World Cup ticket. Finidi not winning his first two official games doesn’t mean he’s a bad coach and bringing someone to oversee him isn’t a bad idea.”

It is left to be seen whether Finidi will remain as head coach of the Super Eagles after the new technical adviser is appointed and how exactly they will work together. 

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