Just after three weeks with the Super Eagles, interim coach Austin Eguavoen has changed the narrative on the need or otherwise of hiring a foreign coach. Here in Garuoa, where the Super Eagles played their three Group D matches and even back home in Nigeria, opinions are divided.
While some people are still cautious, saying it was too early to run into conclusion, others are saying a blatant NO to foreign coaches, notwithstanding the outcome of the team’s campaign in Cameroon. One of the respondents said it did not matter whether it is going to be Eguavoen or not, an indigenous coach must take charge of the Super Eagles after the Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Going for a foreign coach at this point of our football development was an unnecessary and wasteful venture.
Sports Vanguard spoke with several Nigerian journalists covering the AFCON and their views were overwhelmingly in support of a local coach. Read on.
Shina Oludare(Goal.com) Jose Peseiro: Deal:dead on arrival
As it stands, I don’t think we need a foreign coach at the moment. If you look at the games the Super Eagles have played so far, it shows that Eguavoen understands the players better, he understands what Nigerians want and he is doing everything to satisfy the yearnings of the people. Even if at the end of the day, we end up with another bronze, let’s leave it for our boys(Nigerian coaches) to do the job.
In the history of the FIFA World Cup, no foreign coach has won it for any nation, so that is a pointer that for us to get the best out of these boys(Eagles), we should rely on our local coaches for results. It’s only our own coaches that can go to the nooks and crannies of Nigeria to scout for talents. No foreign coach will go to Gombe, Maiduguri to look for talents.
The employment of a new foreign manager was a mistake on the part of the NFF, maybe because they did not expect Eguavoen could achieve this level of success, that was why they went ahead to announce the appointment of a new coach.
If we are to judge, they say a coach is as good as his last match. Going by this analogy, and especially for those of us who watched the first match against Egypt, some fans were saying, no foreign coach…no foreign coach.. As far as I am concerned, Peseiro’s appointment is a deal dead on arrival. Even if the NFF insists on having a foreign coach and Nigerians say no, we don’t want a foreign coach, I think that would be binding. At least Nigerians said we no longer wanted Rohr, and he was fired. At the end of the day, it is going to be what Nigerians want that would hold sway.
Rotimi Akindele, Beat fm: Eagles under Eguavoen have cleared all doubts
I am not going to give you a definite answer, I think we should leave that till after the AFCON. If we get to the latter stages or go ahead to win it, all well and good, if we are not able to win it, all well and good. I would advise we keep the chemistry, the bonding and togetherness until after the World Cup qualifiers. The main thing for me is the World Cup. If we qualify for the World Cup, maybe we can then think of hiring a foreign coach.. The World Cup is still in November, enough time to build the team.
Victor Modo, Independent producer: Eguvoen is technical director
It depends. For now, No matter what happens, Eguavoen is still the technical director of the Nigeria Football Federation, foreign coach or not. It all depends on how the federation views the amount of work he is doing at this tournament. I don’t want to jump to the conclusion that Eguavoen is doing well. Let him remain because it might throw up complications. It is in the hands of his employers and what they want.
Suleiman Adebayo, Pooja Media Communications: Nigeria does not need a foreign coach
It’s fortunate for us that after sacking Rohr, the team is playing with a new energy, new tenacity. I have been watching them all the way from Abuja up to this moment. I believe they will go all the way to win the trophy.
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What he thinks of Eguavoen and the thought of a foreign coach. Does Nigeria need a foreign coach?
No, I don’t think so. Unfortunately, the new coach has no time to be with the team. I feel Eguavoen should still push ahead to the World Cup play off . Right now, I don’t think we should distract the team.
Jane Frances Wednesday. Solid fm, Enugu: We need to organise our structures
I don’t think we need a foreign coach. What I feel we need is to organise our structures better. You heard Mo Salah say the other day that part of the problems the Egyptians were facing was that they didn’t get to play together long enough before the tournament. The same could be said of Nigeria. This could be something good happening to Nigeria. We need a coach that understands our football, our culture, the workings and passion of our people and build all that into a pattern of play for the Super Eagles.
Johnny Edward: Punch: Give Eguavoen more time
No. No. No. I think Eeguavoen should be given more time. If he wants to return to his post as the technical director, another indigenous coach should take charge. There are a lot of ex-internationals who are qualified to handle this team. All they need is time, to impart their own knowledge and style of play to the boys and they will play.Like Eguavoen told journalists yesterday,that he has told the players to feel free to express themselves. Gradually, he is inculcating in them, his own philosophy and style of play. For a player like Moses Simon who came out openly to say he was enjoying his football in the national team now after two years with Rohr shows that there is something right Eguavoen is doing. He plays to the strength of the players and knows when to correct them when they overshoot their bounds.Remember, these are players who are largely don’t even play for big clubs in Europe but they want to bond and do well for their country, so I feel Eguavoen should be given time or let another indigenous coach to come in. No to foreign coaches.
Faith Oluchi,Wish fm, Port Harcourt : It depends what NFF wants
My opinion may not matter here because it all depends on what the federation wants. You know that coach Eguavoen was head of the NFF technical department before this appointment, let us see what happens. If he wins the Nations Cup, he would have done well for himself. As a lot of people would be clamoring for him. and opinions would be divided on foreign or indigenous coaches.
As for me it is still too early to say whether we need a foreign coach or not. You can’t use two matches and judge, But looking at the team he has presented, a team he has worked with in only a few weeks and see what he has been able to achieve with them. It shows that he can do more if given the opportunity. Like I said, it depends on what the federation wants
Joseph Ateweh: It’s a dicey situation
It’s a dicey situation here. We have appointed a new coach who will take over after the Africa Cup of Nations. And that says a lot about the Nigeria Football Federation under this leadership not having faith in local coaches. But looking at what Austin Eguavoen has done, winning against Egypt, and Sudan, some would say it’s too early, yes I agree with them because Nigeria can crash out of the round of 16 or the quarter final and the tactics would come to nought. So asking whether we need a foreign coach I would say it’s still early. Maybe after the Nations Cup we can talk about that. But given our antecedents, I don’t think we need one. The last Afcon we won, we achieved that with an indigenous coach, late Stephen Keshi, using about 70% of the players home based. Who knew Sunday Mba before that time. African football needs that ruggedity to win matches and tournaments and that was what Keshi applied to win in 2013. Maybe if Eguavoen succeeds here, the NFF may have a rethink. For now, like I said, it’s still dicey. African football has grown in leaps and bounds, in tactics and otherwise. Maybe when the competition ends, the NFF would realise their mistake and stick with an indigenous coach after we would have won the title in Cameroon, because we are winning it.
Gowon Akpodonor, The Guardian: Too early to say
For me the Super Eagles are still work in progress. From what I saw against Sudan, I was not happy with the work rate of the midfielders. We were lucky against Egypt and Sudan, we may not be lucky when we get to the round of 16 or the quarter finals. I pray we don’t get knocked out by one unknown team. We have to be fully prepared by telling ourselves the bitter truth.
However, not many people gave the team a chance before this tournament. The team has already created a record in this tournament as the only team that won all their three group matches. Cameroon drew their last match. Eguavoen has won three matches, equalling his 2006 record in Egypt. But we must not get carried away because the real tournament begins from the knockout stage. You saw what happened to Ghana when they were sent home by Comoros, it clearly shows that this competition belongs to the minnows.. We must hold our heads high and remain focused as we go into the knockout stage.
I don’t want to join the bandwagon of those saying we no longer need a foreign coach because of my experiences with our local coaches in the past. The way they handled the team If Eguavoen, with his experience, proves to be capable without picking players on sentiments or giving shirts to players who don’t deserve to be there, why not?