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Foreign coach: Turkey’s lesson for Lulu and his co-travellers

By Patrick Omorodion
The 27th Africa Nations Cup ended in Angola three weeks ago and the Nigeria Football Association has bandied over seven names of foreign coaches it wants to contract as replacement for Shaibu Amodu to tinker the Super Eagles for the 2010 World Cup.


The rush to announce the redeployment of Amodu to the Super Eagles Team B, could be linked to the rave of criticisms which followed the team’s wobbly display at the Nations Cup despite picking the bronze and the call to sideline Amodu.
From the spate of denials from the supposed short-listed foreign coaches, it shows that the NFA did not do its home-work on the issue well before announcing the names as most, if not all, the coaches listed had on-going contracts that will take them beyond the World Cup period.

While the name dropping was going on and the NFA set up an interview panel that will once again go on a jamboree to Europe to interview coaches they have not contacted, the Turkey FA, a much more serious and organised body, flew two of its officials into Amsterdam, unannounced, for a ono-on-one talk with Hiddink.

The result of that bold move was made public on Wednesday. Hiddink, whose contract with the Russian national team expires in June, signed a two-year contract to handle Turkey from August 1, 2010. The Dutch is expected to “steer Turkey through the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers” and according to the BBC,  there is the option to extend the deal for a further two years when it runs out after the Euro 2012 finals.

The business of coaching, whether club or national teams, is about hiring and firing and many countries do it when the are not satisfied with the result they are getting from those they hire, be they local or foreign.

Nigeria’s case is probaly, the only one in the world where the Football authorities engage in ceremonies, all in an attempt to siphon money for various activities ranging from meetings to lunch, to travelling allowances and hotel bills for committee members.

Another major feature with Nigeria in the past, which may have been played down this time around, was the idea of a sign-on fee for the coach, an idea former South Africa coach, Jomo Sono described as ridiculous.

Dutchman, Johannes Bonfrere was reported to have been contracted with a sign-on fee of $300,000, aside his monthly salary in the region of $30,000 at the time. The scandal blew open when Bonfrere alleged then that he got only $150,000 and till today, nobody was told what happened to the balance or who took it.

Former Golden Eaglets and Falcons coach, Godwin Izilein told Saturday Vanguard sports last week that foreign coaches just come here to siphon Nigeria’s money. The most ridiculous contract ever entered into by the NFA was the one with Berti Vogts, which gave him the liberty to stay in Nigeria for only 10 days in any month the Eagles have a game to play.
The result was that the man hardly knew the players he was supposed to manage. He depended on his Nigerian manager and some NFA officials who are believed to be part of the deal, to pick or invite players for him.

Even though most Nigerians agree that the Eagles need a foreign coach, the consensus is that the time to the World Cup is too short to get one. They argue that a consortium of local coaches could be brought in as a stop gap measure for the World Cup after which a reputable foreign coach is brought in on a long term basis to help harness the talents that abound in the local league.


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