The Forces That Completely ‘Rubbished’ Finidi George

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The forces that completely ‘Rubbished’ Finidi George

Finidi George’s widely reported resignation as head coach of the Super Eagles yesterday afternoon didn’t come to many as a surprise because the handwriting on the wall was clear enough for even a Steve Wonder to read.

Apart from the recent poor results by the Super Eagles under Finidi, the move by his employer, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to go for a foreign Technical Adviser was a vote of no confidence on the former international which was enough to trigger his resignation.

Of course, many would say his resignation is good riddance to bad rubbish, but Finidi didn’t intentionally fumble and wobble. A lot of forces combined to foist on him the ignominious record of the shortest reign as coach of the Super Eagles. While some of the forces were external and well beyond him, some were self-inflicted.

When the NFF announced its decision to hire a foreign coach for the Super Eagles last Thursday, the bigwigs in the football house blamed almost everybody but themselves for the failure of Finidi and his Super ‘chickens’. The NFF quickly said heads would roll, but if heads are to roll, it must start with those who appointed Finidi in the first place. Even the man on the street knew that the former international wasn’t the most qualified for the job, but he was picked ahead of the rest based on selfish interest.

We are all living witnesses to how a former NFF president came from nowhere to decide who should be appointed and how those who feel highly indebted to him had no option than to dance to his tune. In the end, the NFF is going back to what it should have done initially.

It is now an open secret that the NFF technical committee had recommended a foreign coach, but the external forces ensued that the recommendation of the committee was thrown in a trash can. It is for this reason that members of the committee are raring for war with the NFF over its plan to drop some of its members. Although the NFF said it will rejig the committee, the intention to drop some of the vocal members is obvious. So, such members who have a premonition of their ‘sack’ are said to be fully prepared for the blame game with the NFF.

Talking about the forces that wrecked Finidi, one must not fail to mention the negative role played by some of the players. The feeling in some quarters is that some of the Super Eagles deliberately ensured that the coach is booted out because he wasn’t their choice. We all know that players sometimes want to have a say in who becomes their coach. Going by the way some of the players treated their invitation to camp and their performance in the two World Cup qualifiers, it was obvious that they didn’t want Finidi as their coach. One of the suspects is right now having a serious social media altercation with him. There can’t be smoke without fire.

Apart from his players, Nigerian football fans also played a role in the failure of Finidi. It is difficult for someone to be appointed to a position in Nigeria without some dissenting voices, but Finidi’s own was excessive. Apart from his immediate family, associates, and a few other Nigerians, most of the people kicked against his appointment. Naysayers didn’t pretend as they publicly declared that he was going to fail woefully. Therefore, even if Finidi was confident, the infectious pessimism that trailed his appointment must have waned considerably. The scepticism was overwhelming for a green horn.

It is also necessary to mention that Finidi himself was a force that worked against him. He was the primary cause of his downfall because he was blinded by a personal ambition that made him go for a responsibility, he knows is well above his capacity. If not that he over-rated himself, he shouldn’t have applied for the job that is meant for tested and trusted tacticians. He was supposed to exercise self- restraint but he willingly plunged himself into the deepest part of the sea and was swept away by ferocious waves.

Maybe he would have survived if he had accepted to go step by step. However, soon after he was appointed, he immediately wanted to exert absolute control over the team. In the process, he wasn’t ready to take even useful advice or condone positive criticisms. At the slightest opportunity, he reminded his critics that he was the man in charge. It was the I am the boss mentality that made him to ignore calls for him to have a second thought about his decision to leave out certain players for the two World Cup qualifiers that instantly exposed his naivety.

How he believed his defence could afford to do without William Ekong and Ola Aina is shocking. Of course, Ekong had just recuperated from surgery, but the rock-solid defender said he was ready to play. Unfortunately, his pleas for inclusion fell on deaf ears. The exclusion of Aina was another decision that left many people wondering. For Finidi to believe whole-heartedly that Bright Samuel-Osayi, Calvin Bassey and Semi Ajayi would hold the defence of the Super Eagles was a joke taken too far.

While some of us may feel that Finidi played himself into the hands of the NFF and his opponents, it is necessary to say unlike most of his predecessors, he demonstrated uncommon courage. Call it foolish courage but he was ready to give every qualified player the opportunity to play for the Super Eagles. Even though he didn’t go about it the right way, he at least proved that that there are still some good players in the domestic league who can play for the national team. Although his debut for the Super Eagles ended in defeat, Ismail Sodiq of Remo Stars justified his selection as he showed flashes of a qualitative attacking wing-back.

Yes, Finidi the coach has failed us. However, if heads are going to roll, it must be as many heads as possible. From the Minister of Sports, the NFF, Finidi, the players, the NFF Executive Committee members and the technical committee nobody should exempted from blame for the shame that has been brought to Nigerian football.

Sadly, anything that will happen next is going to be like medicine after death. There is no guarantee that the foreign coach the NFF is going to hire will qualify the Super Eagles for the World Cup. If he comes and fails to deliver, we would be back to square one. This type of fire brigade approach cannot guarantee proper planning. Coaches deserve long term contracts because they need time to study their players and invent a style or formation that will bring the best out of them. This was what the NFF denied Finidi. He didn’t have enough time to work with the players before the competitive matches that have inevitably rubbished his profile as a football coach.

Well, at the time of press, the NFF was yet to confirm Finidi’s resignation but we are all waiting to see the magician that the football house will hire to qualify the Super Eagles for the

Mundial. Honestly, apart from a jobless coach without pedigree, no serious manager will accept to come and rubbish his hard-earned reputation in the name of helping Nigeria to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

(Courtesy, Daily Trust)

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By Abia ThinkTank

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