Former Super Eagles defender, Sam Sodje has raised the alarm over the influx of foreign coaches to the national team’s coaching crew.
He is worried that the large number of foreign coaches working with Coach Gernot Rohr is ridiculing Nigerian coaches, adding that it is denying trained and qualified local coaches the opportunity to get the necessary experience.
Sodje said he is worried that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) keeps spending money on foreign coaches without getting the desired results, stressing that the Eagles posted the worst result in its World Cup history in 2018. Nigeria, he said, was kicked out of the competition in the group stage despite the presence of foreign coaches on its bench.
On the chances of the Super Eagles in this year’s Nations Cup, the former Leeds United of England player said Nigeria would only excel in Egypt if the coach worked hard to build a formidable team.
He noted that Nigeria has what it takes to be champions of Africa owing to the young and committed players in the squad, adding, however, that the Eagles coaches must fashion out a distinct playing pattern for the team.
“I am worried that in the Super Eagles team we have about five foreign coaches working with Gernot Rohr. This is slavery.
“When Westerhof was the Eagles coach, he only had one assistant. I see no reason the Nigerian team will have more foreign assistants when there are a lot of top coaches in Nigeria who don’t have jobs.
“The NFF claims they don’t have money, but they can afford to pay these expatriate coaches with foreign currencies, while abandoning the domestic ones.
“The foreign coaches’ impact has not been felt since Rohr took charge of the team. How can Nigerian coaches grow? The foreign coaches working in Nigeria collect the money and leave the country with nothing to show for it,” he said.
The Guardian recalls that last week, the NFF appointed more foreign assistants in the Super Falcons set up ahead of the France 2019 Women World Cup.
Sodje says the influx of the foreign coaches has not given Nigeria a playing pattern.
“In modern coaching, a team must be known for a pattern. What I think the Eagles need now is to have a solid defence. A good defensive coach will solve this problem. If you have a good defence and an organised attack, your team will excel.
“Nigerian defenders played well against Egypt in the international friendly, but you will also understand that the early goal affected Egypt players’ psyche. They almost dominated the game. Looking at the current Eagles defenders, for me Leon Balogun is a good defender, but you will observe that he cannot play two straight games because he is injury prone.
“The Nations Cup is tough due to the display of power by African teams. So can he withstand the pressure.” These are qualities the coach should be looking out for in Balogun and other Super Eagles players,” he said.
The former Nigeria international also praised the Amaju Pinnick led NFF board for honouring the Super Eagles 1994 set.
“Honouring the 1994 class of Eagles will also motivate the present Super Eagles players to give their best to national call, as they know they will be recognised after serving their fatherland.”