THE efforts of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to prepare in earnest for the Super Eagles’ African qualifying series of the 2018 World Cup suffered a setback as Frenchman Paul Le Guen has turned down the offer of the Technical Adviser of the country’s senior national team barely 24 hours after he was given the job.
Le Guen was named on Monday by the NFF Technical Committee to lead the Eagles in the quest to berth a place at the next World Cup for which Nigeria was drawn in a tough group consisting of Zambia, Algeria and perennial foe, Cameroon.
The committee, according to its spokesman, Mr Paul Bassey, selected Interim Super Eagles coach, Salisu Yusuf, as the team’s head coach under the new dispensation. Rangers of Enugu coach, Imama Amapakabo will be assistant coach, while ex-international, Alloy Agu will be the Eagles’ goalkeepers’ trainer.
The NFF, through the committee, had last week shortlisted Le Guen, Yusuf and Tom Saintfiet from a horde that applied to tinker the Eagles ahead of the Russia 2018 Mundial.
According to reports, Le Guen, who led Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions to qualify for the first ever World Cup to be held in Africa, South Africa 2010 World Cup, rejected the Eagles’ coaching job citing inability of the NFF to agree to some of his conditions.
The report, quoting the authoritative French tabloid, L’Equipe, stated that the 52-year-old tactician turned down NFF’s offer after several conditions he tabled were not met.
L’Equipe cited “contractual disputes” between Frenchman and the country’s football-governing body as the reason for Le Guen’s decision, adding that the former Lyon coach was adamant he would not shift from his position on several of the contending issues on his contract.
According to the report, among Le Guen’s conditions was that he would come to Nigeria with his own support staff, including an assistant and a goalkeeper trainer.
Confirming the development, the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, told Tribunesport on phone that Le Guen told the federation that he would not be staying in Nigeria and did not want any condition in his contract.
According to Pinnick, “He has the right to accept or reject the offer. He told us he does not want to stay in Nigeria. You don’t want to stay in Nigeria yet you want to coach Nigeria.”
When asked what was the next action to be taken by the NFF, Pinnick said Nigerians “will be briefed between today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (today).”
Also when contacted, a member of the committee that selected the Frenchman for the job, who craved anonymity, told Tribunesport on the telephone that members of the technical committee were not aware of the development.
According to the source, the committee had delivered on the mandate given to it by the NFF executive committee, adding that members picked the Frenchman subject to the acceptance of the terms of contract.