Finidi George: Peseiro and 7 other managers likely to replace Super Eagles coach

Super Eagles head coach Finidi George | CAF

Finidi George: Peseiro and 7 other managers likely to replace Super Eagles coach

Ayoola Kelechi 12:12 - 15.06.2024

Following Finidi George's struggles, the Super Eagles are in search of a foreign manager to help steady the ship and qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup

After just two games in charge of the Super Eagles, the Nigerian Football Federation have announced that Finidi Geroge will be overseen by a foreign technical adviser, while the former Real Betis man is reportedly set to quit his role as head coach.

The former Ajax winger led Nigeria to a disappointing one point from two matches in the 2026 CAF World Cup qualifiers after a draw and a loss against South Africa and the Benin Republic, respectively, with fans of the Super Eagles calling for the head of the ex-Enyimba coach.

The NFF have listened to the yearning of the fans and Nigeria’s search for a new manager could lead them to the door of one of these candidates to replace coach Finidi.

Jose Peseiro

The Portuguese coach’s contract dispute with the Super Eagles did not allow him to build on the fine showing at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations where they reached the final before losing to hosts Ivory Coast.

With Jose Peseiro still without a job since leaving Nigeria, he could be considered for a swift return to the head of the national team coaching crew to replace his replacement.

Jose Peseiro | IMAGO
Jose Peseiro | IMAGO Jose Peseiro | IMAGO

Peseiro’s return would have been an unfavourable choice before Finidi’s struggles in the World Cup qualifiers, but fans and technocrats alike would have softened their stance after the draw against South Africa and the loss to the Benin Republic.

However, the Portuguese manager’s role in Nigeria being four points behind group leaders Rwanda can not be brushed aside after Peseiro led the Super Eagles to consecutive draws against minnows Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

Toni Conceicao

Former Braga and Cameroon coach Toni Conceicao has also been considered for the Super Eagles job and could make a return to management after being out of work for two years.

Super Eagles target Toni Conceicao | GOAL
Super Eagles target Toni Conceicao | GOAL

Conceicao made his name as a right-back during his playing days with Braga before coaching the Portuguese team’s B side and serving as interim of the first team in 2003. His most successful spells as a coach came with Romanian side CFR Cluj, who he helped win two Romanian league titles and three cups in three spells. He also helped Cameroon reach the semifinals of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations before losing to beaten finalists Egypt.

Conceicao led Cameroon to a third-place finish at AFCON, as well as topping their 2022 World Cup qualifying group before a surprise sacking before the competition’s playoffs against Algeria.

Herve Renard

Former Ivory Coast and Zambia coach Herve Renard is one of the highest-rated managers linked with the Super Eagles job despite currently being employed by the French women’s national team.

Hervé Renard || Eurosports
Hervé Renard || Eurosports Hervé Renard || Eurosports

Renard is a two-time AFCON winner who is accustomed to the happenings on the continent and renowned for his work with Zambia, Ivory Coast, and Saudi Arabia, who he led to the 2022 World Cup, earning a shock win in the opening match of the competition against Argentina.

Convincing Renard to leave the French women’s national team will be an uphill battle, especially after he turned down Ivory Coast during the 2023 AFCON to stay on with Les Bleues. Nigeria could approach Renard after the 2024 Olympics in Paris, when the French manager could be more amenable to leaving France.

Steve Cooper

Former Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper has been out of a job since leaving the Tricky Tees after bringing them to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years and keeping them in the top flight in their first season back.

Cooper is best known as a club manager with Nottingham Forest and Swansea, but was also the coach of England’s U-16 and U-17 teams, winning the U-17 World Cup in 2017 with a team including Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho.

Steve Cooper and Taiwo Awoniyi | Imago
Steve Cooper and Taiwo Awoniyi | Imago Steve Cooper and Taiwo Awoniyi | Imago

Cooper has also had interactions with Super Eagles stars in the past having coached both Taiwo Awoniyi and Ola Aina in Nottingham Forest, helping the former find some of his best form in England.

The 44-year-old manager could be coaxed into taking the job with one of the biggest national teams in Africa to get his career back on track.

Jean-Louis Gasset

Former Ivory Coast manager Jean-Louis Gasset could make a swift return to the continent with the Super Eagles after leaving to coach Marseille in Ligue 1 this year.

Former Ivory Coast  coach Jean-Louis Gasset. Credit - Pooja/Imago
Former Ivory Coast coach Jean-Louis Gasset. Credit - Pooja/Imago

Gasset was fired from the Elephants job after losing the opening two matches of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament and finishing third in their group. Ivory Coast went on to win the tournament with Gasset’s assistant Emerse Fae while the French manager bagged the Marseille gig.

With Marseille set to appoint former Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi, Gasset will be without a job and could bring his 26 years of experience to Nigeria’s Super Eagles as they try to navigate the tricky World Cup qualifier.

Rui Vitoria

Another manager who was ousted during the 2023 AFCON was Egypt’s Rui Vitoria whose two-year spell with the Pharaohs came to an end following the early exit from the tournament in Ivory Coast.

Ex-Egyptian national team coach Rui Vitoria | Imago
Ex-Egyptian national team coach Rui Vitoria | Imago Ex-Egyptian national team coach Rui Vitoria | Imago

Before taking the reins with Egypt, Vitoria was a celebrated Portuguese manager who had won the Taca de Portugal with Vitoria Guimaraes, before winning back-to-back league titles with Benfica and the Saudi Premier League title with Al Nassr in 2019.

Vitoria’s time with Egypt was not all bad as the Portuguese manager led them to qualify for the 2023 AFCON and also started their 2026 World Cup qualifier with two wins from two against Djibouti and Sierra Leone before he was asked to leave the job in February 2024.

Jurgen Klinsmann

Former Germany international Jurgen Klinsmann was one of the best strikers of his era, helping Die Mannschaft win the 1990 World Cup and 1996 European Championships at the peak of his powers.

As a manager, Klinsmann also led Germany to third place in the 2006 World Cup on home soil before taking a tour of national teams, reaching three continents.

Jurgen Klinsmann || Imago
Jurgen Klinsmann || Imago Jurgen Klinsmann || Imago

Klinsmann has been the manager of the United States national team, winning the Gold Cup in 2013 and coached South Korea in his most recent job, which he left in February 2024 after one year in charge.

The former Germany international could be tempted to add Africa to his list of continents managed in with a trip to Nigeria as a replacement for Finidi George.

Hassan Sulaiman

An outsider for the job is British-Nigerian coach Hassan Sulaiman, who has impressed with Chelsea’s youth teams since joining the club in 2008.

Sulaiman would technically be a foreign expatriate, but also has roots in Nigeria and his understanding of the landscape could be a plus for the NFF as they search for Finidi’s replacement.

Chelsea youth coach Hassan Sulaiman |
Chelsea youth coach Hassan Sulaiman | Chelsea youth coach Hassan Sulaiman |

The 38-year-old manager would be a wildcard appointment for the Super Eagles, but his remarkable success with Chelsea could tempt the NFF to take the plunge with the Blues’ coach.

What Sulaiman lacks in experience, he brings in a winning mentality, showcased in his titles with Chelsea’s U-17 and U-18 teams.

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