Paul Le Guen
Paul Le Guen

Duro Ikhazuagbe

The leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is believed to have settled for the choice of Frenchman, Paul Le Guen as the manager to lead the Super Eagles campaign to qualify for the next FIFA World Cup in Russia in two years time.

With the Russia2018 draws pitting Nigeria with Africa’s football power houses like Algeria, Cameroun and Zambia in Group B, THISDAY learnt at the weekend that the NFF leadership weighed all the options available from the coaches that applied for the job vacated by ex international, Sunday Oliseh, and concluded for the former Olympique Lyon and Cameroun coach.

A top level source at the Glass House in Abuja hinted that Le Guen appears to have a first hand knowledge of almost all top Nigerian professional players in Europe and is ready to roll with them as soon as possible.

“He knows our players very well and how to use them. In our meeting with him earlier, Paul (Le Guen) demonstrated to us his capacity to turn around our football. We are also looking at reaping from his knowledge of both Cameroun where he coached the Indomitable Lions and Algeria who are desperate to have him,” revealed the top level official.
Le Guen, 52, who was sacked as Oman’s head coach after his side lost 2-1 to Turkmenistan on November 17 last year, is also believed to have agreed a three-year $50,000 per month deal to lead Eagles to the promise land in Russia.

Nobody at the Glass House was ready to speak on how the cash-strapped NFF was going to fund the contract as the Solomon Dalung led Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports has made it clear that hiring a foreign manager for Eagles was not in their budget.

However, THISDAY checks revealed further that a top financial house with partnership with the NFF may have agreed to pick the bill even as there are fears that the bank’s magnanimity may cause bad blood within the rank and file of coaches in the employment of the federation.

Apart from the Super Eagles, all the other coaches of the Under-23, Under-20 and Under-17 male teams are being owed various sums of money in wages. The story is the same with the coaches handling the women’s teams from the Super Falcons to the Under-17 teams.

Other foreign managers also in fray to grab the job from Le Guen who also once coached Scottish side Rangers and PSG, include Felix Magath, Harry Redknapp, Henrique Calisto, Tom Saintfiet and the man who gave Nigeria her first ever ticket to the World Cup in 1994, Dutchman Clemens Westerhof. Even Westerhof’s former assistant on the Eagles job, Jo Bonfrere is not left out in the race to handle the three-time African champions.