Thursday, November 4, 2010

Siasia is appointed Nigeria coach

Samson Siasia (right)
Siasia led Nigeria to the final of the 2008 Olympic Games

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport

Nigeria have named Samson Siasia as their new national manager following talks in the capital Abuja.

The former international striker has been appointed subject to a contract being formalised in the next 48 hours.

The ex-under-20 and Olympic coach was chosen by a technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation.

Siasia, a one-time Super Eagles assistant, had been vying with former team-mate Stephen Keshi to replace interim coach Austin Eguavoen.

On Thursday, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) issued a communiqué explaining why they chose Siasia over the former Mali coach.

Born: 14 August 1967
Caps won: 46
Honours as player: Won 1994 Nations Cup and contested 1994 World Cup.
Previous management: Led Nigeria's U20 and Olympic teams, and Nigerian side Heartland.
Honours as coach:
-Won African Youth Championship in 2005
-Runner-up with Nigeria at 2005 Fifa World Youth Cup
-Runner-up with Nigeria at 2008 Oympic Games

"After careful deliberation, the NFF has accepted the recommendation of the technical committee that Samson Siasia be appointed as head coach of the Super Eagles," the communiqué read.

"Importantly, this is subject to a contract to be executed in a couple of days."

The appointment of Siasia brings to an end a long wait for the 43-year-old to becoming manager of Nigeria's Super Eagles.

Nigeria have been searching for a permanent coach since Swede Lars Lagerback left after the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, where Nigeria failed to make it out of the group stages.

Lagerback received nearly a million dollars for just over five months' work.

Siasia had already been in talks with the NFF over succeeding Lagerback before the body chose to advertise the position last month, which saw Keshi emerge in a two-horse race.

Having won the 2005 African Youth Championship, Siasia - a former Lokeren and Nantes striker - took his team to the Fifa Under-20 World Cup final in 2005 where they were undone by Lionel Messi's Argentina.

A former assistant coach for the senior team, Siasia also took Nigeria to the 2008 Olympic Games final where Argentina (and Messi) once again proved too strong.

Ironically, Keshi enjoyed support from former colleagues who thought he deserved the job having worked wonders when qualifying Togo for the 2006 World Cup, even though he was dismissed before the finals.

The 48-year-old, who has also been a Super Eagles assistant coach, led Mali at this year's Nations Cup but failed to steer the West Africans out of the group stages.

Keshi captained Siasia at Nigeria's maiden World Cup finals in 1994, a year when the pair also won the 1994 Nations Cup.

Popularly referred to as the "Big Boss", Keshi had said before the interview that he would remain good friends with Siasia no matter what decision the NFF ultimately took.

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