Meanwhile, enough of blame game, it is time to put the loss behind and start planning ahead especially now that the African Cup of Nations, AFCON is around the corner with less than nine months to go in Cote d’Ivoire.
This is the time to engage a new coach since the coaching crew have been relieved of their appointments. The NFF should understand that the senior national team is not where experiment should be carried out hence the need to engage competent and experienced coaches and not rookies. The appointment of the Super Eagles should be based on qualification not on sentiment or quota system.
There is also need for the NFF or the Sports Ministry to engage a consultant even if it is a foreign firm to avoid manipulation, to conduct interview that will usher in new coaches. Such exercise was conducted in the past where Samson Siasia emerged the winner with late Stephen Keshi coming second. When the coaches will be interviewed, they will be able to tell Nigerians what plans they have in place to take the team to greater heights and that might just be an opportunity to know their intentions whether they mean well or not.
Meanwhile, engaging home-based coaches would have been the best because they understand the country’s style of play and also know some of the players very well but if there is need to bring in a foreigner, then the person must have pedigree and his curriculum vitae must be very rich not academic coaches or those who want to use the Super Eagles to boost their cv.
When engaging the other coaching crew, we should consider the modern way of doing things. Nowadays, technologies are being deployed in the national teams hence that should be considered when engaging new ones especially the goalkeeper trainer and the assistants.
Also, the NFF should start considering putting a standard in place, the type that is obtainable across the world in the national teams especially the Super Eagles and Falcons. A sound psychologist would have salvaged the situation during the last world cup qualifiers, good enough, the NFF has one who has proven himself in the past but is now being under-utilised.
Also, there is need for match reader, nutritionist and other sound backroom staff to be added to the team.
Meanwhile, if a home-based coach eventually emerges as the head, then he should be paid like his foreign counterparts or something close to it and a written contract be given to him, with a minimum of four years so that he can have enough time to build a team, by so doing, he will have confident and be pushed to work harder.
Recalled when Samson Siasia was the Olympic team coach, he engaged a foreigner (Kalika) as his assistant from his salary and he did very well at the Olympic Games.
Still on giving enough time, Algerian and Senegalese coaches, who both won the AFCON in 2019 and 2021 respectively stayed longer on their jobs to build the teams for their national teams. Part of the contract requirement should be that the coach must be given enough time to prepare a team and he must watch the NPFL to scout for players and if possible set aside some days in the week or during their league break to have training sessions with them and also play friendly matches in order to beef up the team.
Over-reliance on the foreign-based players is not too good for the national team because it is not only affecting the league negatively but also does not give the home-based players sense of belonging and confidence hence the players are always desperate to leave the shores of the country by all means whether legally or not even when the season is still on. The injection of home-based players will also create competition in the team just like what we saw under late Stephen Keshi where Sunday Mba eventually emerged as hero in the 2013 AFCON in South Africa.
However, in less than five months, new board members of the NFF will emerge. Nigerians especially football fans are very interested in who emerge as the president and board members. Even though it is the congressmen that have the voting rights, Nigerians will not forgive the congressmen if they eventually vote for people who don’t have the football/national teams at heart.
There were allegations that the current board failed in their responsibility hence the reason why the national teams flopped and couldn’t qualify for major CAF and FIFA tournaments.
Meanwhile, in order to get the best out of the coach that will eventually emerge, there is need to put in place competent hands in the technical department of the NFF, not square peg in a round hole. The person to be saddled with that responsibly should be somebody who is very sound and can contribute to the development of the game and not based on favouritism.
If our football must move forward and stop struggling, the NFF, whether the outgoing or incoming board must consider some of the suggestions above. It will not only help the national teams but catapult the teams to the highest ranking ever expected and trophies might just be the new songs of the national teams.