China National Football Team Vs South Korea National Football Team Why Indigenous Nigerian Coaches Cannot Handle The Super Eagles

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Why Indigenous Nigerian Coaches Cannot Handle The Super Eagles

The clamor for indigenous coaches to manage more especially the Nigerian senior national team, known as the Super Eagles, has been around for as long as I can remember. The issue of national pride is always cited as one of the main reasons why exponents of this school of thought continued their agitation.

At one point I was almost seduced into this school of thought, perhaps in sympathy with local coaches who have paid their dues when it comes to football achievement.

I almost got carried away by our main achievements in the world cup cadet categories, especially in the under 17 category. Nigeria has won that trophy 3 times since the inaugural edition was held in China back in 1985, when an indigenous coach named Christian Chukwu, himself a former senior national team captain, brought a group of unexposed youngsters to the Asian nation of China put their names in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first country in the world to win this championship which was later sponsored by Kodak.

Before leaving the shores of Nigeria, no one gave them the slightest chance of success. When they finally returned home with the trophy, much euphoria greeted their achievement. And as stated above, this feat has been repeated two more times since the inaugural edition, ironically on the same continent of Asia. First it was China in 1985, then Japan in 1993 and most recently Korea in 2007.

On all three of these occasions our indigenous coaches were at the forefront of matters, first it was President Christian Chukwu, then Fanny Ammun and most recently the late Yomi Tella who passed away just weeks after returning from a glorious outing in Korea.

In 1996, Nigeria accomplished another feat on the soccer field in faraway Atlanta, Georgia in the United States of America. There, an underrated Nigerian team led by Dutchman Bonfrere-Jo took the world by storm by winning an Olympic gold medal that has eluded the all-powerful Brazil ever since they registered their name as the world’s greatest soccer nation, after having won all that. You have to win in soccer at all levels of the game except the Olympics (I’m starting to think they’re cursed). Ironically, Nigeria knocked them out in the semi-finals in an epic match that the bookies had already given the Brazilians. The fact that led to the elimination of Brazil in the football event of the Atlanta Olympic Games is a topic for another day.

However, the problem here is that Nigeria won that football gold under the tutelage of a foreign coach, and it is on record that both times Nigeria won the African Cup of Nations, the first in 1980 was under a Brazilian known as Otto Gloria. , the second. The second time was in 1994 in Tunisia under the flamboyant and vocal Dutchman known as Clement Westerhof, it was this same man who qualified Nigeria for their first senior soccer world cup popularly known as USA 94. It was a double feat for the Dutchman who it had won the africa cup of nations in grand style earlier in the year, sending a signal to the world that nigeria was prepared to take its rightful place on the field of world football.

Why have foreign coaches been more successful than indigenous ones when it comes to the senior category?

I would like to offer the reasons in two ways, firstly the administrative lapses in the Nigerian Football Association. Most of the people involved in the day to day football game in Nigeria know next to nothing about the game and its challenges. The Nigerian Football Association is thus politicized and is used primarily as a political gratification tool for electoral endorsements. Foreign coaches are successful because they are hired under a well-signed and sealed contract, they are offered delicious contracts that help motivate them to give their best.

When it comes to the local coaches, it’s a different ball game. They are hardly given a concrete contract and when that happens, a lot of interference from the powers that be in the sports ministry and the football ruling house makes it difficult for the indigenous coaches to make decisions. The issue of job stability is another determining factor. Trainers are hired and fired at will, most of them are owed salaries for a couple of months, and they should never talk about these issues, otherwise it would be considered sabotage and an act of insubordination, as these trainers they are treated as ministry workers.

The issue of respect on the part of the players is another cauldron of fish when it comes to training the senior team. Come to think of it, some of these professional players earn up to £80,000 a week at their various European clubs, which translated into our local currency equals millions of Naira which could pay two years’ salary for indigenous coaches. Now, psychologically, the student here lives more comfortably than the teacher, has achieved more than the so-called teacher, and therefore finds it difficult to submit to the authority of a man who has never played professional football in his entire life.

Foreign coaches are more respected by both players and administrators and this tends to give them an advantage over their local colleagues.

Until such time as local coaches are treated with much more respect than foreign coaches in terms of pay and a free hand to operate without undue interference, the possibility of an indigenous coach succeeding with the senior soccer team seems a possibility. mirage for now and the near future.

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