Nigeria national football team: Is Finidi George the right man for the Super Eagles?

The NFF has unveiled Finidi George as the new head coach of Nigeria's Super Eagles |Photo Credit: Imago

Nigeria national football team: Is Finidi George the right man for the Super Eagles?

Asukwo Oduo 17:18 - 13.05.2024

The Nigeria Football Federation have officially presented former assistant coach Finidi George to the press as the new manager of the Super Eagles.

The Ibrahim Gusau-led Nigerian Football Federation board earlier today unveiled Finidi George as the new head coach of the Super Eagles.

Reports from Nigerian journalists also suggest that 53-year-old Finidi George has only been handed a one-year deal to manage the senior national team.

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This new revelation has raised a lot of concerns among Nigerian journalists, many of whom feel a 12-month deal for Finidi George is not good enough, and this may suggest a lack of faith in the former Ajax winger.

However, this article focuses on the NFF's choice of Finidi George when some quarters were in support of Emmanuel Amuneke or a foreign coach.

Did Finidi George do enough to land the national team job?

Nigeria's new national team coach takes over the reins from Portuguese tactician Jose Peseiro - a man he was an assistant to during the 2023 AFCON in Ivory Coast.

Finidi George was named caretaker coach of the Nigeria national football team, and he was in charge of Nigeria's two international friendly matches against the Black Stars of Ghana and the Eagles of Mali.

Finidi's performance so far as national team coach

Coach Finidi George was on a quest to further consolidate his claims as the best candidate to land the Nigeria national football team job on a permanent basis.

The Former Ajax forward had led Nigeria to a convincing 2-1 win over archrival Ghana in his first game in charge of the Super Eagles.

However, there was enough time for Ghana to find a consolation goal, with Jordan Ayew pulling one back from the penalty spot in the 95th minute.

During the second friendly, Nigeria national football team lost 2-0 to Mail. However, despite the defeat, interim coach Finidi George displayed the brand of football he wants to play: free-flowing, expansive football - which is quite popular among Super Eagles fans. 

The issue, however, is that Nigerian football lovers do not just want attractive football; they also want positive results.

Can Finidi meet the expectations of Super Eagles fans?

Finidi’s team, during the two international friendlies he presided over, lacked the services of first-choice striker Victor Osimhen; capable replacements like Victor Boniface and Taiwo Awoniyi were also missing due to injury.

However, with all of these big game players now fully fit and firing on all cylinders, Finidi has a team full of potent strikers - including OGC Nice forward Terem Moffi.

In midfield, Wilfred Ndidi has been in fine form, helping Leicester City gain promotion back to the EPL, while Raphael Onyedika has become a regular for Club Brugge, who were losing semi-finalists in the European Conference League.

Alex Iwobi, Ola Aina, Stanley Nwabali, and Cyriel Dessers have all been impressive for their respective club sides. Finidi George has a Nigeria national football team full of talents and a hunger for success. The big question, however, is, can the ex-international deliver for the Super Eagles of Nigeria?

Finidi George's first task is to get maximum points against South Africa as Nigeria battle for a place at the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the United States of America.

Having missed out on the previous World Cup held in Qatar, Nigerian fans would not settle for just free-flowing attacking football but want positive results and a chance to compete at the very best level.

Coach Finidi George has been given a free hand to name his backroom staff, which includes another ex-international, Daniel Amokachi, and two foreigners. We hope that Finidi will keep his word and not disappoint Nigerians.