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The Man the Cap Fits: Finidi George as next Super Eagles' gaffer

Posted : 02 May 2024

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The appointment of Finidi George as the new head coach of the Super Eagles is no longer news; however, it has generated a lot of comments regarding whether he is the right man for the job.

For some pundits, the appointment of the 52-year-old former Ajax Amsterdam and Real Betis forward falls short, and his curriculum vitae also comes under scrutiny to determine if he is truly ready to take on the tough and challenging job at a time when Nigeria is still struggling to qualify for the next World Cup after missing the previous edition.

Clearly, the appointment of the illustrious Class 94 Super Eagles member, George, caught many off guard, as according to bookmakers, he should have been second to his former colleague, Emmanuel Amuneke, a former African Footballer of the Year, who also applied for the job.

Regardless of how surprising Finidi George's appointment may be, he must have paid his dues, although he may not possess the same enigmatic character as Amuneke.

Having served as an assistant to Jose Peseiro for over a year, Finidi must have learned some ropes in managing the team and taken note of the instructions given by the former coach on the touchlines.

Additionally, as a Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) winner in his first stint as head coach of the nine-time league winners, Enyimba International FC of Aba, Finidi should have something up his sleeve, despite the enormity of the task ahead.

Undoubtedly, many Nigerians may have preferred Emmanuel Amuneke, given his underrated advantage of being involved in the corridors of CAF and even FIFA Technical Study Groups. However, Finidi can also be the man for the job given his short spell as the coach of the team.

Born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Finidi George is notably a legendary figure in Nigerian football history, renowned for his electrifying performances as a winger.

George started his football career in Nigeria, playing for local clubs such as Calabar Rovers and Sharks of Port Harcourt before catching the eye of talent scouts for European clubs.

Famed for his exceptional dribbling speed and accurate crossing ability, Finidi George played a pivotal role in Nigeria's football history, including providing the pass for Rashidi Yekini's goal in the 1994 World Cup against Bulgaria.

Internationally, Finidi George represented Nigeria's national team, the Super Eagles, and played for European giants Ajax Amsterdam, where he was part of the iconic team that won the UEFA Champions League title in 1995.

His successful club career also included stints at Real Betis in Spain, Mallorca, and Ipswich Town in the Premier League, further cementing his legacy as one of Nigeria's finest football exports.

George began his coaching career in September 2021 when Enyimba International FC appointed him as head coach, subsequently leading them to victory in the Nigeria Premier League in June 2023.

Now, Finidi George's immediate task is to guide the team to victory in two crucial 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic in Uyo and Abidjan, respectively, within the next five weeks.


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