By Tony Ubani
At the last count, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has received about five applications from notable coaches who are still intensifying efforts to coach the senior national team of Nigeria, the Super Eagles.
Since Sunday Oliseh resigned his appointment, coaches have inundated the NFF with applications with some promising to take Nigerian football to the pinnacle of world soccer.
The five coaches whose applications are with NFF secretariat include Paul Le Guen, former coach of Olympique Lyonnaise who led the French club to three consecutive Ligue 1 titles. He has also managed State Rennaise, Paris Saint-Germain, Glasgow Rangers and the Cameroun national team, Indomitable Lions. His last role was as manager of the Oman national football team, from which he was relieved in November 2015.
Mark Wotte, a Dutch, who was once the first Performance Director of the Scottish Football Association is also interested in the Eagles job. Wotte had stints with the Royal Dutch Football Association, Feyenoord Rotterdam, Ismaily of Egypt and Al Ahli of Qatar among others.
Familiar names like Clemens Westerhof and Jo Bonfrere, all Dutch, are equally interested in coming back to Nigeria to tinker the Super Eagles where they had successful runs. Westerhof qualified Nigeria for her first World Cup in the USA in 1994 as well as winning the African Cup of Nations same year. Bonfrere who succeeded him was Westerhof’s assistant who also led Nigeria to her first Olympic Gold medal at the Atlanta ’96 Olympics. Claude Le who has managed five different African national teams since first taking charge of Cameroon in 1985 is also interested in coaching the Eagles. He has coached at eight Cups of Nations and has reached the quarter-finals on seven occasions, winning the trophy once.
Very informed sources said that the coaches have submitted their CV’s to the NFF. Contacted yesterday, NFF President Melvin Amaju Pinnick said that a couple of coaches have shown interest in coaching the Eagles but insisted that they were only interested in the forthcoming African Cup of Nations qualifier between the Eagles and Pharaohs of Egypt on March 25.
‘’The only important thing to us now is the Nigeria versus Egypt match in Kaduna and the reverse to be played four days after in Alexandria, Egypt. We don’t want distractions as all our attention is focused on the match and qualifying Nigeria for the African Cup of Nations in Gabon’’, Pinnick said yesterday.