Finidi: No Room for Bench Warmers  in Super Eagles

.•Pledges to guide Nigeria to 2026 World Cup at his unveiling in Abuja

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

Super Eagles new head coach, Finidi George, has warned the country’s Europe-based players not getting regular playing times  that there will be no room for them in the national team.

He delivered the chilling warning yesterday in Abuja at his unveiling ceremony that was attended by several dignitaries, including Sports Minister, Senator John Owan Enoh and NFF President Ibrahim Gusau.

He said he would only invite for international assignments, players who feature regularly at their clubs either in Nigeria or in the diaspora, and promised that the Super Eagles would remain even more competitive in the years ahead.

“My first target is to make sure that we are in line to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup by winning the upcoming two matches against South Africa and Benin Republic. The 2025 AFCON qualifiers will soon start and we must also be prepared for those as well. I know what the NFF wants as it is boldly written in the contract, and I will work very hard to add value to the team and put myself in the position to earn even more than I will be earning from the take-off.

 “I have always had a cordial relationship with all the players as an assistant coach. I am still the same person even as Head Coach now, only that the title has changed. There will be no controversy regarding relationships with the players. These are professional players and we have to give them what they’re used to in Europe; you don’t need to slap anyone to get him to do the right thing,” Finidi, who was a former assistant to Jose Peseiro said.

He promised to do his best to ensure the Eagles return to winning games again while also downplaying concern of being under pressure.

“There is no pressure on me; I have tough skin. I just want to call for your support. I know this is not an easy job, but with the support of everyone, we can achieve our objectives,” he said.

In his remarks, Enoh rallied stakeholders to back up Finidi to succeed as the coach of the senior national team and bring back the liveliness and excitement of Nigerian football.

Also, Gusau, who declined to disclose the contractual package of Finidi, stressed his appointment was in line with the yearning of Nigerians and represented a new dawn in the history of Nigerian football.

 “Now that the choice of the coach has been made, I call on all Nigerians to support him to succeed in his new role especially with the FIFA World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in sight.

“I assure that as a policy, the NFF will give Finidi George the freehand to choose his technical staff,” said Ibrahim Gusau as he stressed that the assistants will be paid on game-by-game basis to avoid crisis in the payment of their allowances that had bedevilled the process in the past,” Gusau said.

He said the federation ratified Finidi’s preferred back up staff: Daniel Amokachi, Benjamin James; assistant coaches; Olatunji Baruwa, goalkeepers’ trainer; Chima Onyeike, Fitness Trainer; and Mehmet Ozturk, Analyst.

Sources inside the Sunday Dankaro House Secretariat of the NFF hinted THISDAY that Finidi will earn ₦15million monthly as Super Eagles boss. 

Also, he was offered a one-year contract that is likely to expire before Nigeria’s last match in the qualification series for AFCON 2025  to be hosted by Morocco. 

It is however not certain yet who will pay for. the foreign-based foreign assistants that Finidi has asked NFF to allow him include in his backroom staff. 

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