Sports Minister hails NFF for appointing local coach for S'Eagles - Ripples Nigeria
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Sports Minister hails NFF for appointing local coach for S’Eagles

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Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles,” he said.

President of NFF, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants.

“However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.

“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

Read Also: Nothing wrong if Finidi wants foreign assistants, says Pinnick

Gusau also revealed that the Federation gave George the free hand to pick his assistants, and that the tactician has already picked Daniel Amokachi and Benjamin James as assistants, as well as Olatunji Baruwa (goalkeepers’ trainer), Chima Onyeike (Fitness Trainer) and Mehmet Ozturk (Analyst).

George, who evinced quiet confidence all through, stated that he will invite for international assignments, only players who feature regularly at their clubs either in Nigeria or in the diaspora, and promised that the Super Eagles will remain even more competitive in the years ahead.

“My first target is to make sure that we are in line to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup by winning the upcoming two matches against South Africa and Benin Republic. The 2025 AFCON qualifiers will soon start and we must also be prepared for those as well.

“I know what the NFF wants as it is boldly written in the contract, and I will work very hard to add value to the team and put myself in the position to earn even more than I will be earning from the take-off.”

On relationship with the players, George said: “I have always had a cordial relationship with all the players as an assistant coach. I am still the same person even as Head Coach now, only that the title has changed. There will be no controversy regarding relationships with the players. These are professional players and we have to give them what they’re used to in Europe; you don’t need to slap anyone to get him to do the right thing.

“I will try my best to ensure the team starts functioning properly and we start winning games again. There is no pressure on me; I have tough skin. I just want to call for your support. I know this is not an easy job, but with the support of everyone, we can achieve our objectives.”

Also at the ceremony were NFF 1st Vice President, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu; NFF Board Members Alhaji Sharif Rabiu Inuwa and Mr. Timothy Heman Magaji; Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme; Technical Director, Augustine Eguavoen; GMD of GTI, Alhaji Abubakar Lawal; Adviser/Consultant to Hon. Minister, Ken Egbas; NFF directors Babatunde Akinsanya, Ademola Olajire, Okey Obi, Ali Abubakar Muhammad and Dayo Enebi Achor; prominent football stakeholders Jude Anyadufu and Abubakar Danfulani and; former Nigeria internationals Pascal Patrick and Nasiru Jibril.

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