The names are both famous and nondescript: Federico Valverde, Jose Peseiro (you have heard this one before), Laurent Blanc, and Philippe Cocu.
In 73 years of association football in Nigeria, the national team has had 30 coaches/managers, and they have won three Nations Cup titles, qualified for the FIFA World Cup six times, and won the Olympic football gold medal.
In 2022, the Super Eagles needed any win over the Black Stars of Ghana, but on March 19, the Black Stars held them to a 1-1 result, which meant Ghana snagged the Qatar 2022 ticket on the away goals rule.
After that, the NFF sacked the interim management that had Augustine Eguavoen as head and started the process of hiring a 31st gaffer for the team.
A proper board of directors intending to hire a new CEO will draw up a comprehensive SWOT analysis, which would show, clearly, the anomalies to be corrected, and the challenges being faced.
This will lead to the qualities the desired CEO must possess. Though that will not ordinarily ensure the chosen CEO would effect the desired change and get the needed results.
To do this, we tried to pick the seven most successful managers-both clubs and national over the last five years. In that period, we looked at success as titles and trophies, and near-misses in the most difficult football tournaments to win.
The UEFA Champions League, the FIFA World Cup, the European Cup, and the Nations Cup.
Cisse, Senegal’s manager, has evolved while Guardiola is the Mad Max of the group, always seeking perfection in his players and game tactics.
For emphasis, only eight countries have ever won the FIFA World Cup; only 14 clubs have won the UEFA Champions League; only 10 the UEFA European Championship, and 17, the Africa Cup of Nations Cup. Europe has 44 countries and Africa comprises 54.
The Financial Times, writing on managers in 2010, said, “Ancelotti [A football manager] knows his job is simply to help the team to win, whatever situation he inherits. If he doesn’t win, then sooner or later he’ll be out.”
What kind of manager does the Super Eagles need at this moment?
Should that ideal manager be a man-manager because of big egos in the squad?
Should that person be a rebuilder, one who will look for new players to fit a new structure? Will the person have to use more products from the local league and therefore a teacher of NPFL coaches?
There are so many important variables on the table for the NFF not to make a rushed decision that will fall apart in a few months.
A word of advice from Solace Chukwu.
“Unless the context and KPIs are the same (or, at the very least, broadly similar), a manager succeeding at one job should never be taken to mean he would have succeeded at a previous job given time. That’s not sound logic.”
The deductions are quite simple for defining a successful football manager.
- A football manager cannot be a puppet
- A football manager must be a human resources manager
- A football manager must be strategic
- A football manager must be able to communicate the knottiest strategy in simple vocabulary
- A football manager must understand the core of his squad and what makes them tick
- A football manager must have a clear mission and a set of goals
Having defined the qualities of an excellent manager, we may have to digress a bit because it is only a board that properly understands the challenge that can achieve finding the person who accurately fits that template.
The employer will be the NFF and before they can employ the person best fitted for the manager role, they must have and show a modicum of such.
Fortune 500 companies ensure the competence of their HR department because they know that their future as a successful enterprise rests as much on the value, competence, and adaptability of their current hire.
Can this Amaju Pinnick-led NFF or the next board make this altruistic decision for football growth in Nigeria? Without wasting time, the answer would be an emphatic no!
This is because they have not shown the capacity-intellectual and otherwise to make moral decisions. Too many personal agendas have led to decisions, which have ultimately led to failures.
Adebayo Gbadebo, a Nigerian manager in the Thai League, believes there cannot be a comprehensive treatment for a patient that has not been accurately diagnosed. “What is our real challenge?” he asked.
“Let’s use the match against Ghana as an example. We had better players, but an inferior technical bench. All the people on the Black Stars’ bench are currently employed or just got off a job. They knew what they had to do against us. In the first leg, they played a three-man defence to hold off Victor Osimhen, which is why we couldn’t create chances. In the second leg, they planned to score the first goal and that did us in.
“We must realise we will not win all the time, but when we lose, there must be a reason for the loss and from there, we must then put adequate measures in place to forestall future failures.
“Have we done a proper assessment of why we failed? If we haven’t, then we will continue making the same mistakes,” Gbadebo added.
The NFF has named the next coaches for the Super Eagles, apart from who will lead the team.
Salisu Yusuf, Finidi George, Usman Abdallah, and Ike Shorunmu, while Eboboritse Uwejamomere will be the new match analyst.
Are these people a part of the solution or are these a result of another agenda?
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