How Siasia beat Keshi to Eagles' job

Samson Siasia
China Acheru

Samson Siasia was on Thursday afternoon announced as the new substantive head coach of Nigeria’s football national team, the Super Eagles.

Siasia had gone head to head with former captain of the team, Stephen Keshi who had served as assistant coach of the same team between 1999 and 2002 and had Nigerians divided over who should land the job though Siasia was overwhelming favourite of Nigerians.

After an interview with both coaches by members of the Nigeria Football Association, NFF’s technical committee headed by Christopher Green on Thursday morning, Samson Siasia who is current coach of Nigerian Premier League side, Heartland was quickly announced as new coach despite earlier statements made to the press that announcement will be made on November 8.

Christopher Green told naijafootball247.blogspot.com that they did not want to wait four days later like they earlier announced because of what a delay in the announcement could cause.

“First I will say that was the surprise element in us. We made Nigerians tune their minds to Monday but we announced today,” Green said.

“But I must add that we had done the job and we had done it well so we thought there was no need keeping it to ourselves for four more days especially when you consider what delays can cause in this regard.

“We want to be seen as transparent so we announced the new coach as soon as we were done with the interviews and our minds made up,” Green announced.

The head of Technical committee also took time out to explain what qualities Siasia had that got him picked ahead of Stephen Keshi.

“Siasia has been in the country for the last six years and has a working knowledge of Nigerian football.

“He has also been involved football in Nigeria with Heartland where he currently coaches and understands the league and home based Nigerian players,” Green said.

Green added that with Siasia’s knowledge of the Nigerian League, they expect him to have little difficulty picking players from the League for the national team and most of all they believe he also has a good knowledge of foreign based players have played for him either at U20 level or U23 level.

Siasia is also said to have made a good presentation to the committee on his plans for Nigerian football at international and local level.

“He has said he wants to rebrand Nigerian football and give the country its own playing pattern by the time his time is up with the team and we totally and unanimously agreed he was the man for the job.”

However, he admitted that Stephen Keshi had his own good qualities but the country could only have one head coach.

“Keshi did well at the interview and of course we know his pedigree with the national team as a player and then as assistant coach and we know of what he did with Togo and Mali but we all know that we could only appoint one head coach for the team and that was Samson Siasia.”

Samson Siasia was given a four year contract and would earn five million naira (about $33,000) monthly.
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