How Much Gold Is In The World Cup Trophy Why Indigenous Nigerian Coaches Cannot Handle The Super Eagles

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Why Indigenous Nigerian Coaches Cannot Handle The Super Eagles

The credit for indigenous coaches to cope most especially with Nigeria’s senior national team, known as the Super Eagles has been on for as long as I can remember. National pride is always cited as one of the main reasons why the exponents of this school of thought continued their agitation.

At one point, I was almost amazed at this school of thought, perhaps in sympathy with the local coaches who have paid their dues in terms of football achievement.

I was almost disappointed by our great successes in the world cup cadet categories especially the under 17 category. Nigeria has won that trophy 3 times since the first edition was held in China as far back as 1985, when a native coach named Christian Chukwu, himself a former captain of the senior national team, led a group of undisclosed young boys from the Asian nation of China to put their names in the Guinness book of world record as the first country in the world to win this championship sponsored by Kodak.

Before they left the shores of Nigeria, nobody gave them the slightest chance to succeed. When they finally came home with the trophy, much euphoria greeted their achievement. And just as said earlier, this achievement has been repeated twice after the first edition, ironically in the same continent of Asia. First, it was China in 1985, then Japan in 1993 and the most recent one in Korea in 2007.

On these three occasions, our native coaches were at the helm, first the Chairman Christian Chukwu, then Fanny Ammun and recently the late Yomi Tella who died a few weeks after returning from a glorious excursion in Korea.

In 1996, another exploit in the field of football was accomplished by Nigeria in Atlanta, Georgia in the far away United States of America. There, an underrated Nigerian team, led by Dutchman Bonfrere-Jo, took the world by storm by winning an Olympic gold medal that has eluded almighty Brazil since they registered their name as the footballing nation biggest in the world, having won all that. winning in football at all levels of the game is to be expected at the Olympics (I’m starting to think they’re jinxed). Ironically, they were eliminated in the semi-final by Nigeria in an epic game that the bookies had already tipped for the Brazilians. The incident that led to the elimination of Brazil in the soccer event of the Atlanta Olympic game is a topic for another day.

The issue here however is that Nigeria won that football gold under the guidance of a foreign coach, and it is a record that the two times Nigeria has won the Africa Cup of Nations, first in 1980 under Brazil o’ r name Otto Gloria, the second time was in Tunisia in 1994 under the fiery and vocal Dutchman called Clement Westerhof, the same man who qualified Nigeria for their first ever senior football world cup referred to as popular as USA 94. It was a double feat for the Dutchman who earlier in the year won the African cup of nations in grand style, thereby sending a message to the world about Nigeria’s readiness to take its rightful place in the football world world

Why have the foreigners succeeded more than the native coaches at the higher level?

I would like to offer the reasons in two ways, firstly the administrative failures in the Nigeria Football Association. Most people involved in the day to day running of football in Nigeria, know next to nothing about the game and its challenges. The Nigeria Football Association is thus politicized and is used mainly as an instrument of political gratification for electoral support. The foreign coaches succeed because they are employed under a well signed and sealed contract, they are offered mouth-watering contracts which help motivate them to do their best .

As for the local coaches, it’s a different ball game. They are rarely given a definite contract and when that even happens, there is a lot of interference from the powers that be in the sports ministry and the football governing house making it difficult for native coaches to make decisions. The issue of job security is another important factor. Coaches are hired and fired at will, with most of them owed salaries for a few months, and they are never to speak about such matters otherwise it would be considered sabotage and an act of disobedience as these trainers are treated as ministry workers.

The issue of respect from the players is another kettle of fish when it comes to coaching the senior national team. Come to think of it, some of these professional players earn as much as Eighty Thousand British Pounds a week in their various European clubs, which translated into our local currency, runs into millions of Naira that could pay wages the two years of the native coaches. Now, psychologically, this student lives more comfortably than the teacher, has achieved more than the so-called teacher and therefore finds it difficult to place himself under the authority of a man who has never played professional football in his entire life.

The foreign coaches are more respected by players and administrators alike and that tends to give them the upper hand over their local colleagues.

Until the local coaches are treated with much more respect than the foreign coaches in terms of pay and free hands to be able to operate without too much interference, the possibility of a native coach succeeding with the senior football team- national foot looks like a. mirage for now and in the near future.

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