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Offline Bourbon

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Hardest Job in the World...
« on: December 11, 2010, 10:26:18 PM »
Read this and couldnt help but notice how familiar a lot of it sounded.


Is coaching Nigeria the hardest job in world football?



Sunday Oliseh (bottom row, centre) believes former World Cup team-mate Siasia (top row, second from left) can only win over his squad by ruling with an iron fist
Countless international managers would claim to have the toughest job in the world game but could new Nigeria coach Samson Siasia find he holds that dubious distinction?

England managers past and present may think their high-pressurised life is intolerable but Super Eagles coaches have it just as bad, if not worse - leading a nation whose fans, like Brazilians, (and president) tend to see anything other than a tournament victory as failure.

"Managing Nigeria is an uphill task," says Sunday Oliseh, who played alongside Siasia as Nigeria won the 1994 Nations Cup before shining at USA' 94.

"You have to look at the magnitude of the pressure through our population. We are a nation of 150 million and everyone loves football, so you have to succeed."


As if to prove his point, Oliseh claims fans' expectations have lowered in recent times but then states that Siasia's only hope of completing his four-year deal is by reaching the 2012 Nations Cup final "because it's been 10 years since we finished second in Africa".

The Super Eagles have recorded several third-place finishes in that time but 1994, when their Fifa ranking peaked at fifth (currently 33rd), remains their last African crown. This year's disappointing World Cup, where they failed to win a match and finished bottom of Group B, means Nigeria will be chasing their first group win in nearly two decades should they compete at Brazil 2014.

But Siasia's challenge is not just Herculean because of insane pressure (many fans genuinely thought they would win the World Cup) but also the number of areas that need improvement if he's to restore life to a national game which even Nigeria's federation (NFF) says is 'in the emergency ward'.

Vital organs have indeed been failing - not least inadequate support from an adminstratively-poor NFF, undue pressure from various powers for the coach to select certain players as well as a squad whose commitment has been questioned. All this has often infuriated the fans.

Then there's the added problem of Nigeria's top footballers enjoying near-godlike status, meaning Siasia needs to tame some sizeable egos.

The former striker has already endured run-ins with John Mikel Obi, Taye Taiwo, Peter Osaze Odemwingie and Victor Anichebe along the way to reaching the 2005 Fifa U20 World Cup and 2008 Olympic finals.

Furthermore, his new charges - Odemwingie aside - are widely seen to exert more effort for their clubs than for Nigeria, and it's not just the fans making such claims.

"We want our players playing like they do at their clubs - because if they come here and play something else, we'll find someone else," Siasia, 43, said during his unveiling.

This may be music to the ears of many Nigerian fans but it's one thing to talk tough, another to exercise hard-line policies while trying to win matches under pressure - and the Super Eagles currently trail Guinea in their 2012 Nations Cup qualifying group.

New Nigeria coach Samson Siasia (right) advises his players en route to the 2008 Olympic Games final in Beijing

Siasia played his international football under the man widely credited with changing the face of Nigerian football. Dutchman Clemens Westerhof may have been a character but he was also no-nonsense, eschewing talented players who didn't use their skills for the benefit of the team - as a young Jay-Jay Okocha soon discovered.

Westerhof's strict discipline kept players on their toes to such extent that they fretted about their place should they arrive late for international camps, a far cry from the current attitude.

"If our players are not disciplined, we will not move forward," says Oliseh.

Westerhof's inspired tutelage sparked Nigeria's 1994 Nations Cup win as well as their maiden World Cup appearance later that year, followed - as coach Jo Bonfrere rode his slipstream - by a historic gold at the 1996 Olympics.

"Another problem is that Samson's team will constantly be compared to those of the 1990s," adds Oliseh.

Yet Siasia, who played for French-side Nantes during his career, would do well to point this out - for the key is that Westerhof was given nearly six years in his role, allowed to build bit by bit as the Dutchman finished his masterpiece.

Nonetheless, the new coach, who favours free-flowing football, will find time the rarest of luxuries, with no Nigerian having ever lasted longer than three years in the post.


"Give me 2-3 years to put together a team that can play the way Nigerians want - offensive-minded, hard-working, using the wings properly and being tactically disciplined," he told the media last week.

His ambitious overhaul includes screening the country's youth before selecting the best to work under his system (so that they're ready when forced to step up), undoubtedly curtailing the careers of several old-timers (e.g. Yakubu) while also hunting new talent - such as trying to persuade Sunderland's Nedum Onuoha to choose Nigeria rather than England.


But Siasia has to rebuild while not just winning but doing so with conviction and good football: for lest we forget, the last Nigerian to coach the Super Eagles won his first six qualifiers but still came under enormous criticism for his style of play.

Shaibu Amodu also achieved all the aims set him by the Nigerian federation - qualifying for the World Cup and reaching the semis of Angola 2010 - but was still sacked nonetheless.

Siasia has been tasked with reaching the next World Cup semi-finals but the NFF has upped the ante by saying he'll only be in Brazil if he wins the 2012 Nations Cup.

Or then again, bearing Amodu in mind, even that's not guaranteed.

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today are Christians who acknowledge Jesus ;with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

Offline Tallman

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Re: Hardest Job in the World...
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 08:39:09 AM »
Being a supporter of T&T football and Windies cricket is way harder.  :devil:
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

Offline Bourbon

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Re: Hardest Job in the World...
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2010, 09:53:53 AM »
Being a supporter of T&T football and Windies cricket is way harder.  :devil:

I was thinking so eh.....
The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today are Christians who acknowledge Jesus ;with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

Offline weary1969

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Re: Hardest Job in the World...
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2010, 01:50:51 PM »
Being a supporter of T&T football and Windies cricket is way harder.  :devil:

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