Tony Ubani, Editor
Former England Manager, Glenn Hoddle may have finally crossed the hurdle to become Nigeriaâ€™s Foreign Technical Adviser to lead the Eagles to the World Cup in June in South Africa.
Hoddle, one of the last to join the rat-race shortlist of the Nigeria Football Federation was interviewed in London and performed excellently in the estimation of the interviewers – Director General of the National Sports Commission, Dr Patrick Ekeji, Technical Chairman of the NFF, Taiwo Ogunjobi and ex-international, Dominic Iorfa. Sports Vanguard gathered on good authority that the 53 year-old Englishman thrilled his interviewers and scored higher points when he told them he was more excited with the abundant skillful Nigerian players, to turn them into World class players than the money being offered him.
Dr Ekeji also confirmed that none of the coaches interviewed were willing to talk about money. While in London, Dr Ekeji said that they ran into a friend of Iorfa who connected them to Hoddle who was away in Spain. The friend, he noted was reluctant to introduce Hoddle to them because of Nigeriaâ€™s bad track of handling foreign coaches.
Flight schedules were changed to accommodate Hoddle and when he came, he mesmerized his interviewers as they nodded over and over to his laudable programs of tinkering the Eagles and making a positive impact within the short frame of time. Other coaches who were also interviewed in London include Bruno Metsu, Ratomir Djukovic and Lars Lagerback. Djukovic who bad-mouthed the NFF for not contacting him earlier was also said to have done well in the interview but it appears that the pendulum has finally rested on Hoddle who was regarded as a genius with the ball at his feet during his days as a player for the Three Lions.
Glenn Hoddle (born 27 October 1957, Hayes, London) is an English football manager and former footballer who played as an attacking midfielder for Tottenham Hotspur, AS Monaco, Chelsea and Swindon Town and at international level for England.
In 2007 he was inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame which cited him as the most gifted English footballer of his generation exhibiting “sublime balance and close control, unrivalled passing and vision and extraordinary shooting ability, both from open play and set pieces”.
He has been manager of Swindon Town (earning promotion to the Premier League), Chelsea (taking them to the FA Cup final), Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur (reaching a League Cup final) and most recently Wolverhampton Wanderers.
As manager, he took England to the World Cup second round in 1998 only to lose to Argentina on penalties.
On 30 January 1999, with the England team preparing for Euro 2000, and amidst the fall_out from the previous season’s World Cup, Hoddle gave an interview to Matt Dickinson of The Times newspaper in an attempt to defend himself against his critics (over issues such as Eileen Drewery and his faith and show a strong front for the remainder of the qualifiers.
Dickinson’s interview revealed that Hoddle had a “controversial belief that the disabled, and others, are being punished for sins in a former life.” The comment stirred up controversy where popular opinion including such heavyweights like sports Minister Tony Banks and former Prime Minister Tony Blair held that he should quit from his job.