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NFF to name new coach for Super Eagles before AFCON

By Christian Okpara
23 December 2021   |   3:30 am
If everything works according to plans set out by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), a new foreign coach will lead the Super Eagles to the Cameroon 2022 African Nations Cup...

[FILES] Nigeria’s players pose for a photo before the FIFA 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifying football match between Nigeria and Cape verde at the Surulere Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on November 16, 2021. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Discipline, hunger for success deciding factors in our search for tactician, says Pinnick
• Players insured at N2.3 billion

If everything works according to plans set out by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), a new foreign coach will lead the Super Eagles to the Cameroon 2022 African Nations Cup.

The competition kicks off on January 9, 2022, in Cameroon.

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, said during an interactive session with sports editors, yesterday, in Lagos, that the Federation has reached an advanced stage in its bid to recruit a new technical adviser for the Super Eagles, adding that the new man, a European, barring any unforeseen hiccup, will be unveiled sometime next week.

He said: “We have our own internal process and we are working closely with the ministry of sports and our lawyers to ensure we tidy up the situation soon.

“We have spoken to three top coaches and next week, the Federation will announce the name of the new manager.”

Pinnick revealed that the NFF has interviewed the three coaches, who made the shortlist of candidates for the job.

“The thing is that every top coach wants to coach Nigeria, but our emphasis is on discipline. We have looked at the coaches’ antecedents and the technical and executive committees of the Federation have chosen from the three.”

The Guardian learnt that among the three coaches considered for the Super Eagles’ job are Jose Peseiro and Mladen Krstajic, the latter, who, however, has joined Israeli side, Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Pinnick said: “We want a coach that is ready for the challenge immediately. He must be somebody that the players will respect.

“I had an interface with Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho on our search for a new coach. The sports minister also spoke with Mourinho.

“Our last coach stayed up to five years, which shows that we are a steady country. We don’t want to be going back and forth. We want everything in a near-perfect situation.”

The NFF boss dispelled insinuations that the Federation does not value its Technical Director, Austin Eguavoen, saying the former Super Eagles captain has a vital role to play in the system.

“We know that Eguavoen can do the job expertly, but we also know that he will be more useful controlling the technical department. However, if we cannot get the coaches to start work immediately, we will empower them to take the team to Cameroun. And if Eguavoen wins the Nations Cup, we might have a rethink. In that case, the foreign coach will now become the technical director, while Eguavoen takes the position of technical adviser.”

On the Federation’s relationship with the sacked coach, Gernot Rohr, Pinnick said the NFF is in touch with the German, adding, “In the next few days, we will clear all debts owed Rohr because we want to start on a clean note.”

Pinnick revealed that NFF recently signed a partnership with Stanbic IBTC, which is now the official insurer as well as the banker of the Federation, explaining that the partnership is player-based.

“Every player is insured in a deal worth N2.3 billion, which translates to N30 million per game,” he added.

Pinnick revealed that the NFF wants to build a centre of excellence in Abuja, which he called a technical centre that will have a camp for the national teams and football fields, among other facilities.

“To do this,” he added, “we will also have to upgrade our secretariat to make it as modern as others across the world.

“FIFA is supporting the project, but we are also talking with our partners for counterpart funding. I want it to be my legacy when I leave office.”

On his rumoured desire to continue in office at the expiration of his second term, Pinnick said he has been under immense pressure to contest for a third term, adding, however, that the decision rests with his family.

According to Pinnick, “Nigeria belongs to all of us and anybody who wants to succeed me has the right to contest the election.

“In the case of staying as NFF president, my family comes first. I have not paid as much attention as I would like to my family since I became NFF president. So, I will consult them before deciding whether to accede to the pressure to contest or just stay away. I do a lot for FIFA and CAF and these take a lot from my family.

“My priority now is to ensure we do well at the AFCON and also qualify for the World Cup.

“However, I love this country and I believe there are a lot to achieve if we have a peaceful atmosphere.

“Fortunately, the current Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, has succeeded in creating a conducive atmosphere for us to thrive.”

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