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Siasia canvasses better treatment for indigenous coaches



As the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) gears up to appoint a new head coach for the Super Eagles, former player and manager Samson Siasia is making a strong case for local coaches.

The NFF is looking to replace Jose Peseiro, whose contract expired after leading the team to a heartbreaking loss in the AFCON 2023 finals against Cote d’Ivoire. Reports suggest the federation is undecided between hiring another foreign manager or settling for a deserving Nigerian coach.

Siasia, who took the helm in 2016 after Sunday Oliseh’s abrupt departure, spoke out about the NFF’s apparent bias against indigenous coaches in a podcast with ex-international Emmanuel Babayaro and journalist Matthew Edafe.

Unequal Treatment
Siasia’s primary concern is the significant pay gap between foreign and Nigerian coaches.

“They pay the white people more money,” Siasia lamented.

“They’re paying the white person $50,000 for a month, then they give you N1 million and the people you are working with, they want to still pinch from money. They don’t send us anywhere (to coaching courses) and yet they expect us to be better.”

Reluctant rescue mission

Siasia went on to detail the challenging circumstances surrounding his last stint as the Super Eagles coach.

“Oliseh just ran away,” Siasia recounted, referring to Oliseh’s sudden resignation. “He’s been like that since…well, like Ben Johnson! Here I was, coaching the Olympic team, and Oliseh just up and quits. We don’t even know why.”

Siasia initially hesitated to take over the national team. “They said, ‘Coach, you take over.’ I said, ‘Take over what?’ They said the Super Eagles. I said no, I don’t want to. That’s not my team. I can’t get control of that team in two weeks, and in two weeks we’re playing against Egypt!”

However, with veteran coach Shuaibu Amodu citing health reasons, Siasia stepped up for the national team. “I said, ‘You? What are you? You’re a coach. Go and coach the team.” He said, “No, I have a heart problem. I said, “You trying to give me one too?” He said, ‘No, we don’t have anyone else but you.”

Acknowledging the immense challenge, Siasia stated, “I said okay, since we don’t have anyone else, let me do a rescue mission. We tried, but at the last minute, Egypt scored.”

Despite the limited time, Siasia did leave his mark, introducing young talents like Alex Iwobi. “It was the first time Iwobi played for us,” Siasia said. “We wanted to keep him from going to England.”

Siasia concluded by highlighting the lack of long-term support for Nigerian coaches. “They never give Nigerians a chance,” he said. “You lose one match and they fire you. That’s the truth.”

Siasia’s coaching career was sidelined by a FIFA match-fixing ban, initially a lifetime suspension that was later reduced to five years on appeal.
This ban will expire in August 2024, potentially paving the way for his return to football management.



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