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Can Finidi George take the Super Eagles to a new height?

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA

The new man on the saddle for the Super Eagles has been a coach since 2021 when he took over Enyimba. He is now upgraded as Nigeria’s manager.

Now the naturally cool-headed man now faces a baptism of fire in what will be his first assignment as confirmed Super Eagles’ manager.

In 30 days time, the Super Eagles will face one of their arch-rivals, South Africa in what is a ‘must-win’ match. There is zero margin of error. Even a draw spells doom to not just the team, but the manager whose goal earned Nigeria their first World Cup qualification 31 years ago.

At the moment, going into MatchDay 3, Nigeria surprisingly trail third behind unlikely leaders, Rwanda while South Africa follow.

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The Super Eagles will need the maximum points, and possibly with good winning margin, against South Africa to have any realistic chance of heading the Group C when the series come to an end.

A win takes Nigeria to the summit with five points while the Super Eagles will be expecting Benin to win their home match against Rwanda.

In essence, the match with South Africa on June 3 will be the most challenging task that Finidi George will be facing in his close to three years coaching career in Nigeria.

 Will he deliver when he also has additional responsibility of ensuring Enyimba finish at the to of the Nigeria Premier League? He is facing two complex situations at the same time.

The NFF expectedly did not give details of his contract and the relationship Finidi George will be having with his original employers, Enyimba.

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The good thing is that having spent 20 months as an assistant to Jose Peseiro, he is expected to be familiar with most of the players expected to be called up for the destiny shaping encounters with South Africa and Benin Republic.

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

World Cup

BREAKING! Finidi George formally resigns

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Nigeria Super Eagles’ coach, Finidi George has resigned from his post as Super Eagles’ coach, two days after the Nigeria Football Federation announced it was going to employ a foreign technical adviser.

A source close to Finidi told Sports Village Square that Finidi sent his resignation letter to Ibrahim Gusau “3o minutes ago.”

 Finidi was said to be livid that the NFF leadership met with the sports minister two days ago, but failed to mention that players reported late to the camp and that they didi nothing to mobilise Nigerians in Cote d’Ivoire to come out to support the Super Eagles in last Monday’s match with Benin Republic.

“He complained that the NFF heaped all the blames on him”, said the source.

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  Calls to NFF officials to verify the information were not answered.  

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World Cup

UPDATE: NFF may spare Finidi George

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Under fire Super Eagles’ coach, Finidi George may excape sack afterall. A source close to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) told Sports Village Square that Finidi may not be sacked.

 He would however work under the foreign technical adviser that the football governing body is planning to hire in the next few weeks.

  The source who was privy to the Wednesday’s ‘hybrid mode’ meeting of the NFF informed that Finidi George will be designated as ‘Chief Coach’ while the expatriate will be the technical adviser.

It is however unclear how the NFF will foot the wage bill of the technical adviser, who may also come with his personal crew as Finidi George  also already have his own foreign assistants.

There is also no word on the loud absence of Daniel Amokachi who was designated as Finidi George’s assistant, but failed to show up at the Super Eagles’ camp leading to the ill-fated World Cup match day 3 and 4 encounters with South Africa and Benin Republic.  

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Mali sack head coach Eric Chelle

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Africa Cup of Nations - Round of 16 - Mali v Burkina Faso - Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, Korhogo, Ivory Coast - January 30, 2024 Mali coach Eric Chelle REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo

Mali have fired head coach Eric Chelle, the West African nation’s soccer federation said on Thursday.

In a statement, reported on national television, it gave no reason for the decision but the sacking comes days after Mali were held to a goalless draw by 10-man Madagascar in a Group I World Cup qualifier in Johannesburg.

“The executive committee of the Malian Football Federation, meeting in extraordinary session today unanimously decided, with the agreement of the supervisory authority, to end the collaboration between the coach of the National Team Senior, Mr. Eric Sekou Chelle and the federation,” the statement said.

Chelle, 46, born in the Ivory Coach to a French father and a Malian mother, was brought up in France. He played at club level mostly in France and for Mali at the international level where he made five appearances between 2004 and 2006.

He was appointed as Mali’s head coach in May 2022 and led the team to the quarter-finals of the 2023 African Cup of Nations held in Ivory Coast earlier this year.

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Before managing Mali, Chelle’s previous coaching experience was at Martigues and Boulogne in the French lower divisions.

-Reuters

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