The coaching problem that had now become a common feature in Nigeria’s World Cup teams continued when the Presidential Task Force set up by late President Umar Yar ‘Adua insisted on a foreign coach after Shuaibu Amodu led Nigeria through the qualifying matches. The Football Federation wanted Amodu to continue and planned to bring in Keshi to assist him. But the Task Force would have non of that.
Lars Laggerback was hired six months to the World Cup and the result was worse than that of Korea/Japan World Cup Eagles. Nigeria crashed out shamefully in the first round. Onigbinde’s Eagles were better than the team Laggerback handled in South Africa.
It follows that government has done more damage to Nigeria’s World Cup teams than any other factor or body. From our first outing in USA ’94 to the last one in South Africa, the succeeding World Cup team was worse than their predecessors. Coaching remained a major problem and the government had always been the architect or creator of such problems. Chief Alex Akinyele had planned to sack Westerhof and even said it on television that “Westerhof will not take us to USA.” And this was after the Dutch qualified Nigeria. But Akinyele did not last after that. Akinwumi was appointed to take over from him and Westerhof went to the World Cup.
The Brazil 2014 World Cup is the first time after USA’94 World Cup that Nigeria would be appearing in the World Cup with a coach that led them in the qualifying matches. Nigerians wish that their outing will surpass the second round outing in USA and France ’98 and stop the World Cup plunge that has shaped our performance in the way of an inverted pyramid.
The Eagles begin with Iran June 16 in Curitiba in Brazil. It will be 8 pm in Nigeria and the stadium Arena Da Balvada. It is a match anything short of victory will disappoint Nigerians and indicate an early return. A win will give hope and the spirit to fly into the second round and possibly continue flying Like The Eagles They Should Be.