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After Siasia, who’s next?

By on October 31, 2011

The Technical Committee of the NFF finally decided to make Samson Siasia history last Friday. After a meeting that lasted a couple of hours, the Committee decided it was best to sack Siasia, as he failed to qualify the Super Eagles for the 2012 African Cup of Nations, which was one of the key clauses of the contract he signed last November. Reports have it that the Bayelsan manager, whose case had even made attracted the attention of President pleaded for the Committee to give him a chance to build a strong team but his pleas only fell on deaf ears. Thus, his reign, which many Nigerians held high hopes about ended and the search for a new coach begins.

The guess game starts too. Since last week, when Siasia had not been officially sacked, there were names that had been making the newspaper headlines. The most prominent were ex-internationals, Sunday Oliseh and Stephen Keshi. However, contrary to speculations that the football house was set to announce former captain of the Eagles, Stephen Keshi as Siasia’s replacement, it was gathered that it ordered its technical committee to sit this week and decide who should take over albeit on a temporary basis.

Just this morning, the NFF confirmed that Sunday Oliseh had not officially applied for the vacant post. It is rumoured that the job is now a straight shoot-out between Bruno Metsu and Stephe Keshi.

Metsu is a seasoned campaigner on the African continent. He took over African national side Guinea in 2000 before joining Senegal later that year. He helped the Francophone side to a spot in the 2002 World Cup, their first ever appearance in the tournament, where they were expected to prop up a group containing France, Denmark and Uruguay. Senegal pulled off a shock in the opening match of the tournament, however, beating former colonial masters and defending World Cup and European champions France 1–0. Metsu’s side qualified from the group stage and beat Sweden in the round of 16, earning recognition as the first African side to reach the quarterfinals since Cameroon in 1990.

Keshi captained the Nigerian team to 1994 World Cup. By the time he hung his boots, he had played in five different African Cup of Nations tournaments, winning the 1994 edition. After his club career in Europe, Keshi went into coaching. He got himself educated in coaching profession in the United State of America (USA). He has coached Togo for two years and qualified them unexpectedly for their first ever World Cup in Germany in 2006. He was however replaced by Otto Pftiser before the tournament. He had before that time worked with Amodu Shuaibu when he was in charge of the Nigerian national team between 2001 and 2002.

It might yet be Sunday Oliseh. The memory of this midfield hard man that most people have was his unstoppable winner against Spain at the France 1998 World Cup. What most people don’t know however is that, in 2007, he started his first coaching course in England with the English FA. He enrolled into the UEFA B (basic) license programme before he went for the UEFA ‘A’ advance coaching diploma, and he has completed the second part of the UEFA Pro Licence; (the highest grade coaching degree in the world).

Oliseh has already been singing his own praises and talking up his chances. “A good team is creatable and as a coach, my team has to be a team firstly with studied tactics, well prepared and players made responsible for their functions. Work rehearsed to a point where every player needs to know by heart what is required of him in every given moment and situation on the pitch. Hence, specific training exercises, clear objectives and outlined game plans are necessary to assure the envisaged high level performance from players individually and collectively as a team,” he said.

As much as he has blown his trumpet, most people feel he doesn’t have the required experience. This argument is hinged on the fact that Oliseh has not handled any team at high level before.

Whoever the NFF decide on, let’s all hope and pray it is someone who will indeed have a great impact on our football, which is falling behind on the African continent, not to talk of the world.