Super Eagles Left with Fewer Options as Algeria Appoints Ex-Lazio and Switzerland Boss Petkovic

Vladimir Petkovic endured a difficult time as Bordeaux coach | Imago

Super Eagles Left with Fewer Options as Algeria Appoints Ex-Lazio and Switzerland Boss Petkovic

Ayoola Kelechi 15:59 - 29.02.2024

Algeria appointed the Bosnia-born Swiss manager to change their fortunes after consecutive early AFCON exits

In a significant move that reverberates across African football, the Algeria Football Federation has announced the appointment of Vladimir Petkovic as the head coach of its national team. 

This decision comes at a crucial time as teams gear up for the qualifying rounds of the 2026 World Cup, leaving the Super Eagles of Nigeria with dwindling choices for their own managerial vacancy.

Petkovic's Illustrious Career

Vladimir Petkovic, renowned for his tactical acumen, takes over the reins of the Algerian national team with a rich coaching history behind him. Notably, Petkovic led Switzerland during an impressive run at the last European Championship, where they eliminated the then-world champions, France, in a dramatic penalty shootout after a thrilling 3-3 draw. His seven-year tenure with Switzerland culminated in a quarterfinals appearance at Euro 2020, where they were narrowly defeated by Spain.

Before his new role with Algeria, Petkovic experienced a brief stint with French club Bordeaux, although his time there was cut short. The 60-year-old Sarajevo-born coach is stepping back into the international coaching scene with Algeria, marking his first assignment since his departure from Bordeaux.

The Task Ahead for Petkovic

Petkovic is set to arrive in Algiers this weekend, with a news conference scheduled for Monday to officially introduce him to the media and fans. He replaces Djamel Belmadi, who resigned in January following Algeria's disappointing exit from the Africa Cup of Nations group stage, a stark contrast to their triumphant 2019 campaign where they were crowned African champions.

Despite missing out on qualification for the past two World Cups, Algeria currently leads a six-team qualifying group for the 2026 tournament, having won its first two matches. The group's winner will secure a spot to compete in North America, presenting Petkovic with a clear objective for his tenure.

Implications for the Super Eagles

Petkovic's appointment by Algeria has left the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) in a challenging position, as they continue their search for a new head coach for the Super Eagles. With Petkovic off the table and another potential candidate, Tom Saintfiet, recently committing to The Philippines, Nigeria's options for a suitable replacement for Jose Peseiro are becoming increasingly limited.

The timing adds pressure to the NFF, as the Super Eagles aim to solidify their strategy and leadership ahead of upcoming qualifiers and international engagements. The quest for a new coach takes on added urgency as Nigeria looks to navigate the complexities of African and global football landscapes.