*Says he would want to coach Super Eagles but…
By Jacob Ajom
The characteristics peculiar to the Super Eagles are speed, skill, agility and shooting; not holding the ball and looking for breaks.
This was the submission of Sylvanus Okpala, former Nigeria international and ex-Rangers coach, who added that any attempt to foist a “foreign” style of play on the national football team would fail.
He said in England there are a lot of coaches from different parts of the world “but when one sees the England national team playing, without looking at anybody’s face one would know that is England.
“It is the same with Germany and Spain. That is because each national team have their peculiar characteristics.
“For the coaches coming to Nigeria, how much of our football culture do they know? Our mentality?
“What do they know about Nigerian football? The characteristics of a typical Nigerian footballer?”
Sylvanus Okpala said the Super Eagles’ style is a reflection of Nigerians’ lifestyle— impatient and in a hurry.
He said: “From time immemorial, we have a typically Nigerian style of play. Our game is one-two-three and we are there.
“What do we have as characteristics? We are robust in nature; we have speed, skill, agility and shooting ability. But we are not patient.
“We don’t have the patience to hold the ball and look for a break. Even in our lifestyle, when we are driving or when we go to the bank you see our conduct— we are always in a hurry.
“Now when you bring these people (foreign coaches), do they know about this? They have to work within this frame to map out a kind of tradition the Nigerian way. Not in the Spanish way. If you want to teach the Spanish way, it will not work.
“And let me tell you. There is a saying that if you want it done well, then do it yourself. So we need to start doing it by ourselves.”
He said it was this style that made the Super Eagles team of 1994 the best team at the World Cup: “At that moment, nobody wanted to play Nigeria because we had fireworks, speed and quality,” he added.
On the current coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, Okpala said: “I don’t support sacking him for now, in as much as I, Sylvanus Okpala would like to coach the Super Eagles.
“Let him continue at the end of his contract if he doesn’t do well then we can ask him to go.”