New Super Eagles head coach - Finidi George

NFF confirms Finidi George as Super Eagles head coach

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New Super Eagles head coach - Finidi George
Finidi George is the new head coach of the Nigeria Men Football Team

The Nigeria Football Federation’s Board approved the recommendation of their Technical and Development Committee on Monday, April 29, to appoint former top winger Finidi George as the head coach of the Super Eagles.

Finidi previously led the squad interim during two friendly matches in Morocco last month, beating Ghana 2-1 and losing 2-0 to Mali.

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Finidi George was the assistant coach under former coach, José Peseiro
Finidi George (Left) with coach José Peseiro at the last AFCON in Côte d'Ivoire
Finidi (Left) with coach José Peseiro at the last AFCON in Côte d’Ivoire

He spent 20 months as an assistant to José Santos Peseiro before the Portuguese coach voluntarily left the post following the team’s runner-up finish at the Africa Cup of Nations 2023 in Cote d’Ivoire earlier this year, 2024.

Finidi George rose to become the Eagles’ coach due to his success with Enyimba International Football Club, where he was appointed as coach in September 2021.

His popularity grew as he led Enyimba to win the Nigeria Premier League title last season, marking his first title win since joining the club and Enyimba’s 9th title overall.

The decisive moment came when Finidi George guided Enyimba to victory after drawing 1-1 with Rivers United in their final game of the Super Six play-off. Enyimba clinched the title based on goal difference after tying on nine points with Rivers United and Remo Stars.

Finidi George’s team performed well in the Super Six, with three draws and two wins out of five matches played, placing them second in the Nigeria Professional Football League table with 55 points.

Recognizing his achievements, the Nigeria Football Federation appointed Finidi George as the assistant coach of the Super Eagles. He spent one year and eight months as the assistant coach under José Santos Peseiro.

When Peseiro’s contract expired after guiding the Super Eagles to a silver medal at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Finidi George took charge of the Eagles for two friendly matches in Morocco last March.

Under his leadership, the team secured a historic 2-1 victory over Ghana in the first match, ending an 18-year winless streak against the Black Stars.

Finidi beat former Nigeria U-17 World Cup-winning coach, Emmanuel Amuneke and other foreign coaches interested in the role to emerge as the new Super Eagles head coach.

What the NFF expect from Finidi George

Finidi George’s number one task is to qualify Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The Nigeria Football Federation stated in a press release announcing his appointment that “George’s immediate task is to lead the Super Eagles to victory in the two 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and the Benin Republic in Uyo and Abidjan.”

These matches will take place in five weeks, and they are matches that Finidi George must win.

Nigerians are expecting Finidi George to deliver, especially after remembering their loss to Ghana in the last game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Nigeria lost to Ghana 0-1 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja. This loss led fans to invade the field, destroying equipment such as tearing down goalposts and breaking the coaches’ bench.

Nigerians are determined not to miss the FIFA 2026 World Cup at any cost.

Now that the NFF has confirmed Finidi George’s appointment, people expect him to start building his team and developing a stable playing style for the Super Eagles. They also expect that the challenge of scoring goals will become a thing of the past.

Who is Finidi George

As one of Nigeria’s best wingers of all time, George has had a remarkable career at both club and international levels.

He won three league titles with Ajax after joining in 1993. He also secured the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and Intercontinental Cup with the Dutch giants in 1995.

Afterwards, he spent some time at Betis, where he was a runner-up in the Copa del Rey in 1997, before moving on to Mallorca and Ipswich Town in England.

However, his contributions to the Super Eagles are equally impressive, starting with scoring on his international debut against Burkina Faso in 1991. George scored the goal that qualified Nigeria for the 1994 World Cup and then set up the country’s first-ever World Cup goal against Bulgaria.

He was also part of the team that participated in the 1998 competition in France. George helped Nigeria secure a 2-1 victory over Zambia to win the Nations Cup trophy in 1994 and was part of the team that finished as runners-up in 2000 and earned bronze medals in 1992 and 2002.

In 2021, he took on the role of head coach at Enyimba, Nigeria’s most successful club, leading them to their first title in four years and then securing the league title two years later.

The NFF’s decision to choose Finidi George was not surprising, although many expected Emmanuel Amuneke to replace Jose Poseiro. George’s recent friendly matches against West African rivals Ghana and Mali served as an audition, showcasing his abilities despite mixed results.

His primary task will be to guide Nigeria through the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, given the disappointment of missing out on the previous tournament in Qatar. Additionally, he aims to lead the team to their fourth Nations Cup title, building on their second-place finish this year.

Fans anticipate a new playing style under George’s leadership, leveraging his extensive experience as a player and coach, including developing talent from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

George will balance his roles as the national team coach and coach of Enyimba, who currently sit second in the table with six games remaining. However, NFF’s decision to overlook Amuneke has sparked discussions among Super Eagles fans, given his successful track record, including leading Nigeria to win the Under 17 World Cup in 2015 and guiding Tanzania to qualify for the 2019 Nations Cup.

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