Former Super Eagles forward Osaze Odemwingie has dived into the ongoing debate of foreign coach versus home based coach selection for the Super Eagles job.
The former Stoke city striker who played under home based and foreign coaches during his playing time with the National team, in an interview with the Super Eagles media team said
“The fans need to know being a football coach has nothing to do with your skin colour. It has a lot to do with experience and certification.
“Home based coaches are good, they understand the politics, the culture, the Nigerian attitude, the economic background and how hard it takes for players to survive without having access to all necessary training amenities. However, do they really understand the game?”
He continued by sharing some of his experiences with the home based coaches he played under at the national level.
“I could remember a day under Late Stephen Keshi, the then media officer came with a video clip of our next opponent to see and learn ahead of the encounter. Keshi declined as he said ‘that’s not my way of coaching.’ In his words, watching a clip of your opponent before the game means that you’ve defeated yourself before going into the game. In Europe, coaches analyzed their opponents by watching their past games.
“Under Shaibu, we were made to do frog jump in a warmup to a crucial match as if we were in barracks. Most players get injury from all these unnecessary hard trainings. We are footballers not militants. Back then most big players from abroad laugh at the coaches when giving these trainings but the young and local ones thought that’s the best way to get fit ahead of games. There’s a reason it is called ‘warm up’.”
He further said “Some of them even select playing positions based on player physiques.“
In his words, an average Nigerian born in or outside the country have this ego and entitled mentality that a foreign coach must trend softly if he must succeed.
“Foreign coaches have all the background knowledge of football, from good training amenities to great welfarism but do they have any idea most of the players they have to managed didn’t have access to all these while growing up? Players survived the hard way. Foreign coach don’t understand the culture and an average Nigerian entitlement mentality.
“Playing under Lars Lagerbäck was like a movie. The man will come to camp with all his Swedish football culture, trying to implement everything done in Swede team without asking if we have everything the Swede has. This is Nigeria, a specially created country where every abnormalities seems normal. Every Nigerian (home or abroad) is a boss in his or her own way, we hate when our ego is toyed with. ‘In Nigeria language every Naija man get craze for head’. “
I will say the way forward is for NFF to do the needful. If they are going with home based coaches, send them on trainings abroad, let them know the science of football, expose them to modern knowledge of the game. The last UEFA and FIFA licensed home based coach we had was Sunday Oliseh who failed because of football politics.
If they are going for a foreign coach, they have to give him a local as his assistant or part of his team. This home based will be the one to help him deal with player’s ego (craze), culture and background. However, the home based must be qualified, experienced and certified not politically selected.” He added.