ABOUT European coaches are said to be vying for the job of Super Eagles manager in the wake of Sunday Oliseh’s resignation as temporary coach Samson Siasia is not expected to be retained beyond the end of the month.
Last month Oliseh resigned following continued disagreements with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and U23 head coach Samson Siasia has been placed in charge of the team for this month’s two games against Egypt. On March 25, the Eagles will play the Pharaoh’s in Kaduna and on the 29 will take them on in the return leg in Alexandria and after that, Siasia will return to his job of managing the Olympic team.
Consequently, several coaches have begun lobbying the NFF to be put in charge of the team after the two African Nations Cup qualifiers. French nationals Paul le Guen and Claude le Roy and Dutch coach Mark Wotte, are believed to, have already submitted their resumes at the NFF.
Former coaches Clemence Westerhof and Jo Bonfrere are yet to file in their applications but authoritative sources at the NFF secretariat in Abuja say they have already made contact and expressed an interest. For now the NFF is yet to advertise the post presently as it does not want to rock the boat until after the two-legged 2017 African Nations Cup qualifier against Egypt but it is keen to recruit a foreign coach after the tie after concluded that local coaches are not up to the job.
One NFF source said: “I am very much aware that between three and five European coaches have applied for the Eagles’ job. However, I don’t think the NFF leadership will want to discuss with any of them now that Siasia is preparing the team to take on the Pharaohs of Egypt between March 25 and 29.
“All Nigerians have now seen that those we consider our best do not have the character expected of a national team coach. Yes, they may be good coaches in their own right but handling a national team like Nigeria goes beyond what you see on the field as only very good managers of men can succeed in our peculiar environment, which is I believe they are considering a European coach.”
Le Guen, 52, had a successful managerial career in France, most notably leading Olympic Lyon to three consecutive Ligue One titles. He also coached Stade Rennais, PSG, Glasgow Rangers and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun, leading the Lions to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Le Roy, 68, is a familiar face on the African continent having had stints in Ghana, Senegal, Congo and Cameroun. His greatest achievements in the continent include leading Cameroun to a runner-up position in the 1986 African Cup of Nations and followed this up with the title two years later at Maroc ’88.
Dutchman Wotte, 55, has managed teams in the Netherlands, Egypt, Qatar, England and Romania and has also worked for the Scottish Football Association. He currently has a position with the Morocco federation in charge of their Under-20 team.
Both Westerhof and Bonfrere need no introduction to Nigerians as the likes of Okocha, Oliseh, Siasia, Kanu etc evolved under Westerhof between 1989 and 1994 with Bonfrere as his assistant. Bonfrere used almost the same set of players to win Africa’s first Olympic gold medal at Atlanta ’96.