Opinion: What can Samson Siasia do for Nigeria?

As we all know, the Nigerian Football Federation recently named Samson Siasia as the caretaker coach for the Super Eagles, and is that news?

Of course, it is.

Many Nigerians have been questioning the choice of the football federation in Siasia, why him and not others- but many forget that he’s progressed through the national coaching age categories, culminating in winning the U-23 AFCON in 2015.

He was obviously and glaringly appointed under duress when the NFF’s former marriage of convenience to Oliseh crashed sooner than expected… as I earlier predicted.

Let me take you down the memory lane, Samson Siasia was a coach of the Super Eagles at one time, and was sacked when he could not take Nigeria to the African cup of nations – Egypt 2011.

I remember vividly when we suspected a possible sabotage- when players who were not happy with him as a coach- played a draw in an all-important game against Guinea, hence our loss to the team in Abuja.

Samson Siasia is no doubt a disciplinarian who’s tough on his players and a man-manager who knows his onions, but he could be arrogant.

Siasia is arrogant. In actual fact, arrogance used positively can only be of benefit on the long run. So arrogance is allowed.

I know a lot of players find him challenging but rightly so, no player is bigger than Nigeria. We are a people of over 170 million, so a player who is not ready to humble himself and follow his coach’s instructions can step aside for others to come in.

As it is, Siasia has inherited a damaged, battered and dispirited Super Eagles from Sunday Oliseh and the NFF. Our once upon a time darling national team is now commonly called ‘super chickens’. Eagles and chicken… all na bird, but one can soar and the other is lame.

Looking at the list of invited players for the Egypt match, my confidence was aroused and I was happy as well as many patriotic Nigerians.

I really don’t know why but I believe in those boys. Watching them train in Abuja, I saw a team that is ready to win, a team that is hungry and guys who want to make individual mark by justifying their invitation and living up to expectations.

Siasia is not perfect, no one is – Jose Mourinho’s travails at Chelsea FC is a testament to that, but without a doubt in my opinion, he is a good coach.

He is vocal, he knows his onions, he cannot be dribbled, and also, he knows how to play the politics of working with those NFF Mafiosos – that’s all.

We should not expect magic from him overnight, Nigerians should be patient and let him be, let him work and I seriously hope the NFF guys will not bring a foreign coach as we know that is the least of our worries in the National team – they are even broke so how can they afford an expatriate?

The big questions are: Can Siasia lead Nigeria to AFCON? Is he the Messiah we have been waiting for since the exit of Keshi from the National team? Is he going to beat Egypt home and away?

However, if Nigeria do not qualify or beat Egypt – God forbid, Siasia should not be blamed for he inherited a disorganised and divided team.

Blame the NFF who in the first place installed a rookie Coach to start the campaign for the prestigious AFCON 2017 Qualifier.


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello is a journalist, public speaker, change agent and a sports enthusiast.

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