NFF Part Ways With Finidi, To Appoint Foreign Coach

Following the Super Eagles’ dismal performances at the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has decided to dump George Finidi to appoint a foreign coach for the national team.

During a meeting held by NFF Executive committee on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, the federation voiced their displeasure with the team’s recent abysmal performances and resolved to hire a foreign coach for the national team. Finidi was appointed as the coach in April, having served as an assistant to Jose Peseiro, whose contract ended in February. However, the result of Super Eagles’ recent games has prompted the NFF to rethink their coaching system. Finidi’s time as the head coach saw the team suffer a surprising 2-1 defeat to Benin Republic in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, following a demoralising 1-1 draw against South Africa at the Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom.

This defeat leaves the Super Eagles winless – 3 draws and 1 loss – after four matches at the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers. They are currently fifth-placed in Group C behind Rwanda, South Africa, Benin, and Lesotho, edging the last on the table, Zimbabwe, by a point. Nigeria’s current position puts their chances of qualifying for the next World Cup in serious jeopardy. A statement from the NFF reads, “The Executive Committee wholeheartedly apologised to Nigerians for the dismal output and subsequent poor returns of the Senior Men National Team, the Super Eagles, in four out of 10 matches in the ongoing qualification series for the 2026 FIFA World Cup finals.” The committee reiterated their commitment to assembling a better-prepared squad for the upcoming 2025 AFCON and 2026 World Cup.

An article by UIMSA Press on May 21, 2024, revealed a surprising pattern of the (less than) average performances of the indigenous coaches that have been in charge of the national team over the years, bar Stephen Keshi. This raised eyebrows on the expectations from George Finidi, seeing that he is an indigenous coach who took over after a foreign coach. However, the results – albeit over a short time – isn’t quite different from the analysis in that article. The NFF has a tough task ahead as the Super Eagles must win their remaining 6 games to stand a chance at qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be hosted by multiple countries (USA, Canada, and Mexico) for the first time in a long while, since the 2002 World Cup, hosted by Japan and South Korea.

Peter Adeyemo.

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