Eagles : Ladi Babalola Rejects Nigerian Coaches

Former Nigeria utility player Ladi Babalola says engaging the services of a homegrown coach for the Super Eagles would be a step down for the team, calling for the appointment of a foreigner for the side.

The national team became managerless after Sunday Oliseh reigned his appointment on February 26 after his famous relationship with the crisis-ridden Nigeria Football Federation strained.

However, the NFF named Oliseh’s co-Tunisia ’94 Africa Cup of Nations winner Samson Siasia to manage the Eagles on a caretaker basis ahead of the double-header against Egypt last month.

Nigeria were held by Egypt to 1-1 draw in their first leg Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Kaduna on March 25 and won the reverse fixture 1-0 in Alexandria four days later. Nigeria consequently failed to qualified for Gabon 2017.

The NFF is said to have held talks with an unnamed Frenchman to manage the Eagles ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup.

But former Eagles defender Ladi, who is backing the move to employ an expatriate coach for the national team, called for the return of the team’s ex-manager Clemens Westerhof.

The Bangladesh-based coach insists homegrown coaches are not good enough to manage the Eagles, saying those jostling for the job should coach the junior teams to gather professional experience.

Westerhof guided Nigeria to their second African title at Tunisia ’94 and helped the country qualify for the World Cup for the first time. Nigeria exited the USA ’94 World Cup at the second round stage.

“They (homegrown coaches) should scramble for the junior teams because most of the so-called coaches are not good enough,” the former Finland-based player told our correspondent from his base in Bangladesh on Tuesday.

“Considering our achievements when Westerhof was our coach, I will say yes, he deserves the job.

“Many homegrown coaches condemn each other and sabotage each other in order to get their fair share of NFF’s free naira rain.”

Ladi, who fears the Eagles could miss out on a place in the Russia 2018, says the NFF made a mistake by appointing Oliseh.

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