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‘No foreign coach can succeed in Nigeria now’

By Gowon Akpodonor
09 April 2022   |   3:52 am
As officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) embark on the search for a new foreign coach for the Super Eagles, former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu, has suggested that the ‘system’ needs proper cleansing for him to succeed.

Super Eagles captain William Troost-Ekong, expressing his sadness after losing the World Cup ticket to Ghana in Abuja

• Eagles Need A Capacity Builder — Adelabu

As officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) embark on the search for a new foreign coach for the Super Eagles, former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu, has suggested that the ‘system’ needs proper cleansing for him to succeed.

The NFF is reported to prefer a foreigner to lead the team after the people’s choice, Augustine Eguavoen, failed to qualify the Super Eagles for Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The Edo State-born tactician had earlier fumbled with the team at the AFCON tournament in Cameroun, where Nigeria crashed out in the round of 16. The setback in Cameroun notwithstanding, Nigerians insisted on having him as head coach for the World Cup playoff, which the Black Stars of Ghana won on away goal rule in Abuja. He was appointed in December last year as Gernot Rohr’s replacement on an interim basis, after the NFF parted ways with the Franco-German following a string of ‘uninspiring performances.’

To Adelabu, a sports scientist, the present state of Nigerian football system is ‘terrible’ and needs proper overhaul for a foreign coach to get the needed results for the national team.

“Everything in our football system for now is upside down,” Adelabu told The Guardian yesterday. “Those managing our football think of their personal interest, and not how to develop the game. They don’t care because they are not accountable to anybody.

“What happened to the millions of naira spent on Gernot Rohr, who was in charge as Eagles coach for five years? What is the NFF expecting from the new foreign coach? If other countries can develop their coaches, how come Nigeria can’t develop a world-class coach?”

Adelabu, who played club football with the then IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan suggests that for the Super Eagles to have a solid base, the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians must decide on how the nation’s football should be managed.

“To allow this present NFF appoint another foreign coach for the Super Eagles won’t work for our football because they (NFF) is not doing anything to develop the game at the local level. We need a coach who is a capacity builder to build our local players to challenge the oversea players. But the system has to be good for such a coach to operate properly. He has to attend our local league matches and discover talents. But greed and self interest by our people won’t allow the coach to succed,” Adelabu stated.

The Super Eagles will begin their campaign for the 2023 AFCON qualifiers in two months time.