BY JOE APU
With the draw for the Russia 2018 World Cup known, President General of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo has called on the executive committee of the Nigeria Football Federation to hand over the Super Eagles coaching job to an indigenous coach.
Ladipo, while reacting to the World Cup draw that pitted Nigeria against Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia in Group B noted that the time is too short to engage a foreign coach and for him to make the desired impact.
“African football is tough. A foreign coach for the Super Eagles now will derail our drive towards Russia 2018. We have young and vibrant indigenous coaches that I believe can deliver the ticket to us. These coaches understand our peculiar nature and the players.
“Having lost out of the AFCON 2017, everyone knows that getting a ticket to Russia 2018 is a mandate that must be achieved. The players and the coaches understand what is at stake and only our local coaches would go all the way under thick and thin to ensure that we realise our dream.
“The NFF led by Amaju Pinnick should do well to get everything in place to help get the job done. I believe if the kind of attention and package that is often given to a foreign coach is given to our indigenous coaches, they would give their all to get the job done.”
He noted that all the teams in Group B are sure bets for the World Cup any day, but only one would make it to Russia. “Nigeria cannot afford to take any country for granted. Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria have all been to the World Cup at different times and Zambia would be aiming to make history to play her first World Cup. What this means for Nigeria is that we must take action now and start working in earnest.
“The race for 2018 World Cup in Russia starts now and the NFF must make haste in appointing an indigenous coach that knows our players and understands the Nigerian terrain. If the coach is adequately supported and given all the freehand he needs, I believe we can achieve our set goal. Let’s not forget that the late Shuaibu Amodu twice qualified Nigeria for the World Cup and so did the late Keshi too.”
Ladipo, however, enjoined the NFF not to owe the coach and his crew if they expect the job to be done. “The new coach must not be owed just the way they would not want to owe a foreign coach. If they can afford the sum of 44, 000 Euro (about N14m) for a foreign coach, I don’t see why they cannot use the same funds to pay an indigenous coach, even half that amount to get the job done.”
In getting set for the tough task of grabbing the Group B ticket, former African champion, Zambia had opened talks with coach Philippe Troussier. ‘The White Witch Doctor’ was to meet with Zambian sports minister, as The Chipolopolo moved to appoint a permanent coach ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in October.
Zambia was drawn in ‘The Group of Death’ along with Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon.
The country opens her campaign on October 3 at home against Nigeria.
The 2012 African champions had been handled by local man, George Lwandamina on an interim basis since last year.
Frenchman, Troussier, 61, qualified Nigeria to the 1998 World Cup, but was relieved of his post before the tournament in his homeland.
He guided 2002 World Cup co-hosts Japan to the knockout stages of that tournament after he previously worked with Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Burkina Faso and South Africa. His last job was last year with a Chinese club.
Algeria on the other hand had commenced preparation for the 2018 World Cup by appointing former Ghana coach, Serbian Milovan Rajevac. But the coach had been given the target of qualifying the team for the World Cup and also reaches the semi-final of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
According to the Algeria FA, Rajevac, 62, had been tasked to meet these two targets.
Rajevac succeeded Frenchman, Christian Gourcuff, who left amicably in April after the Desert Foxes’ second-leg match against Ethiopia, the fourth day of the African Cup of Nation 2017 qualifiers.
The country hosts Cameroon in her opening qualifier on October 3.
Rajevac will play his first official match in the beginning of September, against Lesotho in the sixth and last play day of the Nations Cup qualifiers.
FAF equally announced that Rajevac signed his contract on Sunday during his meeting with Mohamed Raouraoua, Algeria’s FA boss. The two men agreed on all the details of the contract.
Source : SunOnline