Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lagerback in frame for five year deal

Lead Image

Nigeria’s Peter Odemwingie (R) shoots on goal as Massinga Fanuel of Mozambique looks on during their African Nations Cup soccer match in Lubango. Photo: REUTERS

After offering discordant tunes in the days following the announcement of Lars Lagerback as the man to replace Amodu Shuaibu, the Presidential Task Force has accepted the choice of the Swede as the Super Eagles Manager to the World Cup in South Africa.


The acceptance was contained in a communiqué signed by chairman of the task force, Chibuike Amaechi, governor of Rivers State, after a meeting at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Monday. A copy of the communiqué made available to the press yesterday in Lagos, said the Presidential Task Force wanted Lagerback retained for the next five years.

“The Report of the Ad-Hoc Committee that interviewed the Super Eagles Manager, Lars Edvin Lagerback, should be adopted. That Lagerback should be hired as the Manager of the Super Eagles for the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa. That the Nigeria Football Federation should explore the possibility of retaining Lagerback for the next five years as the Super Eagles Manager to develop the game of football in Nigeria”.

Promise to Nigerians

The new coach was then presented to the Minister of Sports, Sani Ndanusa, who also talked on the subject of offering a long term contract to the Swedish tactician. After meeting the Minister, Lagerback said, “I’m very proud to work with the Super Eagles. Since after the interview last week Friday, I’m beginning to realise that Nigerians are very passionate about their football and the Super Eagles’ excelling at the World Cup. I’ll give 100 per cent to ensure the Super Eagles have a good outing at the World Cup.” Lagerback said he would be releasing a comprehensive program schedule to execute the World Cup in South Africa in the following days.

The Minister, in replying to this said, “I hope with the presence of Lars Lagerback we will realise the gold medal that eluded us in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup and at Angola 2010 in South Africa. Even at that, a lot is expected from you, and I would want to see you taking your contract beyond the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Should you excel in South Africa, you will definitely take the team to the next World Cup finals.”

He also promised the Swede a free hand to succeed in his work. “You’ll be given the enabling environment to excel so as to stay longer in Nigeria”, Ndanusa assured the Swede.

Lagerback has been billed to meet the captain of the Super Eagles, Nwankwo Kanu even though the Portsmouth man was not invited for the friendly match against Congo.

Continuing controversy

As the hiring of the Swedish coach continues to generate controversy, Etim Esin, former Eagles player said it is not yet uhuru. “Lagerback for me is not the answer to our numerous football problems. I don’t see him achieving anything in the said five months.

I think by and large we don’t know what we are doing. I mean, why do we keep going for foreign coaches? Tell me, what is he going to work with, where are the facilities, maybe Amokachi can put him through but sincerely I don’t see success at the end of the tunnel. For N1.5 million dollars anyone will accept the challenge of taking the Super Eagles to the Semi final in South Africa either he makes it or not he will get paid.

How much were they paying Amodu?

Candidly, I believe we get one of our local coaches, either Austin Eguavon, Samson Siasia or Sunday Oliseh should have been given the task of taking the Super Eagles to the World Cup and then work with them towards 2014.”

There had been fears in football circles that the Presidential Task Force could jeopardise the employment of the new coach since as the ones charged with the coach’s remuneration they have made some initial complaints about hiring of the coach.

The Nigeria Football Association had last week, named Lagerback as the team’s technical adviser after interviewing five candidates in three days. He would be unveiled with his assistants today in Abuja before the friendly match between the Eagles and the national team of DR Congo at the Abuja National Stadium.


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