NIGERIAN Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick and sports minister Solomon Dalung will hold a stormy meeting this morning over the vexed issue of whether to appoint a foreign coach to manage the Super Eagles or not.
Since Nigeria got eliminated from the African Cup of Nations last week by Egypt, the country’s sports authorities have been divided about who should replace interim coach Samson Siasia who has been deployed back to his role as U23 coach. While Mr Pinnick and the rest of the NFF board want a high profile foreign coach, several other interest groups insist an indigene should have the job.
Mr Pinnick had dismissed hiring any local coach for the Eagles, as long as he remains at the helm of Nigeria’s football administration. In the wake of the Eagles’ failed attempt to secure a ticket to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, he had openly declared that it is either a foreign coach, or he resigns as NFF president.
His declaration made in Alexandria did not come as a surprise to most Nigerian football followers as Mr Pinnick has never hidden his contempt for local coaches. His views on the matter have drawn the ire of many local coaches, including the president of the Nigeria Football Coaches Association, Bitrus Bewarang who said the NFF boss was being disrespectful.
Mr Bewarang said: “What has a foreign coach achieved that a Nigerian coach has not? Nigerian coaches can hold their own anywhere in the world.”
Mr Dalung, who only recently said he was opposed to the hiring of a foreign coach, claimed local coaches were not given enough time to prove their mettle. In a veiled reference to Samson Siasia’s fire-fighting mission with the Eagles against the Pharaohs, Mr Dalung had said it is not fair to assess a coach after two matches.
Today’s meeting will involve Mr Pinnick trying to convince Mr Dalung of the urgent need for a foreign coach. According to Mr Pinnick, the sports minister is still sitting on the fence on the matter because he is under intense pressure.