What is the ceiling for a genuinely ambitious Nigerian coach? Leading the biggest football team in Nigeria, the Super Eagles or some sojourn in Europe and anywhere else in the world
Super Eagles legend Finidi George takes over as head coach of Enyimba, and its a perfect match
One of the biggest names in Nigerian football and the most successful club in Nigeria.
Without access to fancied jobs worldwide, only a few Nigerian coaches have managed to get jobs abroad.
Ndubuisi Egbo only managed to coach a team to win a league title in non-fancy Albania; Sunday Oliseh got a job in the Dutch second division while the late icon Stephen Keshi had little success with the Togo national team.
After success with the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria and a stint with the Flying Eagles, Emmanuel Amuneke managed to lead Tanzania to qualify for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time in 39 years.
The examples are too few to mention, highlighting the lack of choices for Nigerian coaches.
The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) remains the best route. Still, for some well-travelled ex Nigerian footballers turn coaches, it does not offer the best environment for a budding coaching career.
Finidi George is unarguably one of Nigeria’s best football talents. In his prime, he was a genuine world-class talent, albeit for a few years.
After a fantastic playing career, he did his coaching badges and took up a role as a Youth Team coach at his former club Real Mallorca.
George and Enyimba
But in need of a more significant challenge to enhance his career, the former winger has taken up the job as Head Coach at Nigeria’s most successful club Enyimba.
Enyimba, on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, announced the appointment of the one-time Champions League winner.
“I have to say it’s a great opportunity for the club to have this confidence in me,” George said in a statement on the club’s website.
“I want to thank the chairman, the members of the board, and the supporters for even thinking about me.
“On my own part, I will be here to just work and do the job. It’s never going to be easy but I’m here to work and make the team win.”
For someone with a profile of George, a Super Eagles legend and a gentleman who carries himself with class and poise, the partnership with a prestigious club Enyimba is the perfect match.
In Enyimba, the coach has the best-ran Nigerian club side to work it. It is hard to see him find success with another Nigerian club, if not Enyimba.
His official unveiling as the coach, which was aesthetically pleasing, offers great branding which compliments someone of George’s profile. Compared to how Kano Pillars unveiled Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa earlier this year, you would understand this point.
George replaces Fatai Osho, whose contract expired at the end of August on a two-year contract.
The 50-year-old made 62 appearances for the Super Eagles in an illustrious playing career that lasted 15 years.
He was a vital member of the glorious era that won the AFCON in 1994 and represented the country at two FIFA World Cups – the 1994 and 1998 editions.
At club level, George won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and went on to play for Real Betis, RCD Mallorca and Ipswich Town.
His first official game as Enyimba head coach will be the CAF Confederation Cup second preliminary round fixture against Senegalese side Diambers FC in mid-October.
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