by Kehinde Fadumo
Samson Siasia was recently named Caretaker Manager of the Super Eagles in the aftermath of the resignation of the erstwhile Coach Sunday Oliseh. Media reports indicate that he might be kept on the job on a full time basis despite recent comments by the NFF President Amaju Pinnick’s jibe that local coaches will no longer be considered under his presidency.
The first assignment the new helmsman is faced with is the double header with North African rivals, the Pharaohs of Egypt in the 2017 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers. It is interesting to note that the Egyptians have been a thorn in the flesh of Nigeria in their perennial battle for supremacy on the African continent and the current set of Pharaohs will likely draw inspiration from the feats of heroes before them in their quest to grab the qualifying ticket at the expense of Nigeria.
To achieve success in the immediate and future engagements, Siasia must take time to identify some of the methods used by his most successful predecessors like Clemens Westerhof, Amodu Shuaibu, Jo Bonfere and Stephen Keshi. The aforementioned coaches favoured young and enterprising players in addition to a knack for wing play. They got results and entertained the fans along the way.
In Samson Siasia’s first coming, he took charge of the National U-20 and U-23 before he was given the Super Eagles job. He achieved tremendous success in the first two (2) roles and could have won gold in the FIFA U-20 World Cup and Beijing Olympic Football Event if not for a certain Lionel Messi who thwarted his teams’ efforts on both occasions. Some mistakes were made in the eagles role both external and internal and they must be avoided if the second coming is to record the desired success.
Siasia should engage the NFF to create the enabling environment for the players to thrive and the local league should provide not more than 30% of the playing staff. This is because there is little time to experiment but the number can be increased with the passage of time.
The players must see playing for Nigeria as something to be proud of and the media team of the coach should engage the sporting media strategically to ensure there is no distraction from newsmen.
Commentators and supporters have expressed their satisfaction with the choice of Samson Siasia but they will be quick to judge him if result is not achieved immediately. The Coach must ensure effective communication at all times especially when criticized to ensure the pressure doesn’t get to the players.
The Nigeria Football Federation should ensure that preparation for top matches should be executed in world class facilities and grade A friendly matches is organized to enhance the profile of the National Team.
The new man’s track record of mixing youth with experience is well known and should be adhered to. Departed but still relevant players like Vincent Enyeama and Emmanuel Emenike should be brought back. Also, the leadership in the dressing room/pitch should be restored.
With the right support and environment, Samson Siasia is a sure bet to deliver a 4th African Nations Cup and Africa’s first World Cup semi-final ticket come 2017.
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