Following reports that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has concluded plans to hire a foreign coach this week, former international, Waidi Akanni, has advised the football body to shelve the plan and stick with a local coach for proper development of the country’s domestic league and its players.
Speaking to The Guardian, yesterday, Akanni insisted that hiring a foreign coach is not a panacea to the declining fortune of the country in football, adding that the local coaches should also be empowered and given time to produce a team desired by all.
“I don’t think we need a foreign coach in Nigeria at this time, that is the honest truth. What we need is to empower, develop and make our local coaches increase their knowledge and then develop on it. And as such, they will be ready to take up the kind of job we have.
“People will make reference to Coach Augustine Eguavoen’s failure to qualify for the World Cup, but I think, Eguavoen, by all right, is still one of the best coaches in the country. I know that not qualifying for the World Cup is demoralising to everybody, but that does not mean we should revert to a foreign coach.
“The injustice in this is that we will not pay a local coach the same amount we pay a foreign coach. When a local coach comes on board, we plan to give him N1.5 million, N5 million or thereabout. But when a foreign coach comes in, you give him $100,000 and that alone to me is discriminating,” he said.
The former Lagos State Football Association chairman said sticking with local coaches would help in developing them as well as the local league and its players.
He also advocates a marriage of home-based players and overseas-based stars in the national team against the practice of having a team populart5ed with only players from abroad.
“I am not against players of Nigerian descent playing for the country if they are good, which is their right, but we should develop our local league so that its players can compete favourably with the foreign-based stars.
“In the run-up to the World Cup playoff for Qatar 2022, you don’t bring in a local coach under four weeks and expect him to perform wonders. What you have done to that coach is, by way of not giving him time, virtually reduced his thinking and ability to win games in the long run,” he