The few times the local coaches were entrusted with the task of leading the country’s flagship team, they ended up disappointing Nigerians.
Likewise, many of the foreign managers mentioned as potential replacements for the Portuguese do not inspire confidence among soccer-loving Nigerians.
Pitso Mosimane, the former South African national team manager, lasted a few months in charge of Bafana Bafana before he was booted out on account of poor results.
Although he led the Egyptian giants, Al Ahly to CAF Champions League triumph in 2021, Mosimane will largely be judged by his time in charge of the former African champion.
For Seedorf, the Dutch midfield maestro, his forgettable two-year spell in charge of five-time African champion, Cameroon, was a blot in his otherwise brilliant career as a footballer.
He was in charge when the Indomitable Lions limped out in the second round in the 2019 AFCON hosted by Egypt.
The duo of French World Cup winner, Laurent Blanc and ex-Dutch skipper, Phillip Cocu, though brilliant coaches, are beyond the reach of the perennially broken NFF.
The impressive Blanc tactical masterpiece and no-nonsense approach ala Jose Mourinho are what the Super Eagles needed at the moment in order to become a formidable force by the time the US and its neighbours host the rest of the world in the expanded FIFA World Cup in three years’ time.
Beyond the issue of coaching, the NFF laissez faire approach to the development of the game at the local level had also contributed to the country’s recent poor performance at major competitions at various levels.
Without doubt, Nigeria is blessed with abundant talents waiting to be tapped if only the federation could beam its searchlight on the domestic league and discover quality players for the country’s senior national team.
Lest we forget, Nigeria won its first AFCON title with a largely local-based players drawn from the then IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, Rangers International of Enugu, Bendel Insurance of Benin, Raccah Rovers of Kano and Mighty Jets of Jos, among other clubs at the time.
Although the interest of Nigerians has largely shifted from the local league to the major European leagues, since the beginning of the millennium, there are players in the domestic league who are better and will easily adapt to the Super Eagles than some of their counterparts with dual nationalities plying their trade in England and Italy, among others.
There are still hundreds of Austin “Jay Jay” Okocha, Sunday Oliseh, Finnidi George, Nwankwo Kanu, Julius Aghahowa, Mikel Obi, and Victor Osimhen, among others in the domestic league and even on the streets waiting for the opportunity to showcase the God-given talent in the country’s colour of Green-and-White if only the NFF would shift their focus from Tammy Abrahams and Bukayo Sakas of this world and look in their direction.
Its only then that the Super Eagles will regain its top place in African football and restore the country’s pride.
News Dept., Union Television
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