Le Guen Saga: Before We Go Beg Saintfiet…


The unlikely unfolding story is that Frenchman, Paul Le Guen will not take the Super Eagles job because he did not apply, he was not consulted, was not interviewed (either physically or via Skype), and is not interested in coaching Nigeria. The NFF, who are bent on hiring a foreign coach, now have one option left, but before they further disgrace the nation, some thoughts…

Was Chris Green correct? When Le Guen’s name first popped up in the Nigerian press some weeks back, the Head, Technical Committee of the NFF, Chris Green was quoted by a local newspaper that Le Guen is not the product of any meeting, and like the last ‘foreign coach’, is being pursued for hiring by only one person on the board. That disclosure was followed by an announcement that a “list of applicants” that will be pruned, is being compiled. That list had Le Guen’s name on it. So, did the Frenchman apply or not? Or did Green blow the whistle on an irregularity?

If Green was correct, how did this happen? How did the name of a man who never wanted a job appear on the list of applicants? Was there a list at all, or were NFF officials lying to Nigerians? If that was so, how long has this been going on? Next, Green probably sat with that Technical Committee that again came up with Le Guen’s name. If so, were the Committee members aware Le Guen never applied? Were they misled? Are they the ones misleading?

The NFF needs supervision. Whether it is “against FIFA constitution” or not, it is now clear the NFF needs to be supervised. I am aware that before the last coach was hired, the argument was served that they have autonomy on the hiring and firing of national team managers. However, their recent handling of the appointments has bordered on amateurish and incompetent. Maybe it’s time the House Committee on Sports take the oversee functions a step further and vet decisions on the Eagles manager, before another scandal engulfs our football.

No foreign manager worth his salt will take the Eagles job now. No matter how much we desire it, we are where we are because of the way we have conducted our business in the past. We were left with the ‘bottom pot’ of foreign managers when we hired the last one because our stock had fallen, so we hired an African European. Our ambition led us to Le Guen and now, our only option is Tom Saintfiet… who is reportedly waiting to be summoned.

The fact is should we EVER bring Saintfiet, whether we go cap in hand or not, it would appear as if he is doing Nigeria a favour. It will destroy whatever dignity the NFF have left, and further damage the reputation of Nigerian coaches.


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