Since Sunday Oliseh resigned as the coach of the Super Eagles, the team has been without a substantive manager.
Following his exit, Samson Siasia was drafted to handle the team in an acting capacity for the remaining Nations Cup qualifying matches, which ended with Nigeria missing out in the competition holding in Gabon next year.
The team is currently being handled by Salisu Yusuf as a caretaker coach. What this translates to is that the senior national team is in need of a substantive head coach. The good news is that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) according to its President, Amaju Pinnick, is working hard to secure one.
A Technical and Development Committee, was set up. The committee last Friday released a shortlist of three candidates for possible consideration after inviting applications from interested coaches.
However, the process is now mired in some controversies that need to be resolved before the identity of the coach will be made public. One of these is the alleged disagreement within the NFF leadership over the choice of the coach to be appointed. Another is on whether the coach should be a foreign or local one. It is understood that the NFF leadership and the Sports Ministry are sharply divided on the issue.
While Pinnick is said to be strongly enamored with the idea of contracting a “world class” foreign coach, the Sports Minister is strongly opposed to it, arguing that Nigeria has qualified coaches to handle the team and successfully lead it to global achievements.
The Minister is also worried about the cost implication of hiring a foreigner for the job, saying the reality of Nigeria’s current economic challenges does not encourage the hiring of a foreigner whose expected huge Dollar-denominated salary would be too much for a cash-strapped NFF to pay.
As if to counter this, NFF has reportedly secured a sponsorship deal to enable it pay for the hiring of the foreign coach. While this drama continues, our concern is that the qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup would start soon with the Super Eagles still without a substantive Head Coach to supervise the earnest preparation of the team.
The present situation is more worrisome considering the fact that Nigeria is drawn in the same World Cup qualifying group as Algeria, Cameroun and Zambia, which boast intimidating profiles, thus making the job of picking the sole qualifying slot all the more difficult.
A quick decision needs to be made. Delay is dangerous. We prefer a local coach, and call on the sponsors to offer the same financial support if an indigenous coach is selected for the Super Eagles.