Nigeria and Greece have been in search of their new boss for different reason. The former needs one for preparing for the world cup playoff in June next year, while the latter requires a new boss to improve their ranks in the next UEFA Nations League.
The Super Eagles have just sacked Gernot Rohr less than two months before African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2022), should the tournament be officially permitted to go ahead amid the Omicron variant spreading in African continent and the possibility of the European clubs’ reluctance to release their players due to the COVID-19 threat. Nigerian Football Federation decided to relieve the German boss from his post after his team’s unconvincing campaign during the qualifiers, despite being able to progress to the qualifiers final stage eventually to seal one ticket to Qatar 2022 next summer. With the lines of talented names in the squad such as Kelechi Iheanacho, Winfred Ndidi, Victor Osimhen and Emmanuel Dennis, Nigeria are expected to perform better. This will be the main task for anyone who will be officially appointed as the permanent manager for World Cup 2022. Here are the short listed ones:
- Austin Eguavoen: He is the current caretaker in The Super Eagles. It is his third spell already following the 2005 and 2010 appointment. Yet, his best achievement was only winning the third place playoff in AFCON 2006.
- Mladen Krstajic: He was tipped to take over Gernot Rohr’s post last month. The Serbian boss who brought his national team to qualify in World Cup 2018 might be ruled out as he has just reportedly signed a contract to take charge of Maccabi Tel Aviv.
- Salisu Yusuf: He is the assistant coach in the national team and has been working for NFF since 2016. There has been no notable accolade in his coaching career apart from guiding Kano Pillars to win Nigeria Premier League and Enyimba FC to clinch a Nigeria Cup title in 2008 and 2013 respectively.
- Emanuel Amunike: The former Barcelona man in mid 1990s has been the director of academy in Egyptian’s Misr Lel Makkasa SC. His best accolade was leading Nigeria to a victory in FIFA World Cup U17 in 2015.
- Sunday Oliseh: The former international star in 1990s has been touted to take up the post after leaving it in 2016 with impressive game record.
- Jo Bonfrere: The 75-year old Dutch boss could be considerable as he officially applied for the position last month. His most memorable accolade was winning a gold medal for Nigeria in Atlanta 1996 and reaching a runner up in AFCON 2000. If he is appointed again, it will be his third spell being under the helm of Super Eagles.
Meanwhile, Greece is taking their time to name their next boss after John Van Schip who led the them in the last world cup qualifiers resigned. Greek Football Federation intended to keep the Dutch manager for the next Nations League and EURO 2024 qualifying round after a fairly improving performance of Andreas Bakasetas and Co in Qatar 2022 qualifiers. They were on the verge of clinching the playoff ticket before suffering two defeats in the final two games. Previously, Greece managed to stun Spain with their unlikely win on the road. Unfortunately, Van Schip felt disappointed with their failure and opted for quitting the post.
There have not been any confirmed candidates so far. However, it is believed that they are aiming for the former Barcelona boss who is currently unattached, Ernesto Valverde and rehiring the current Portugal manager Fernando Santos, should he fail to guide CR7 and Co to secure one berth in the world cup through playoff stage next summer.
Both candidates have had relations to Greek football in their career. Prior to taking charge of Barcelona within 2017 and 2020, he has already had two spells with Olympiakos and won five domestic titles, including three league ones. Valverde was also the key figure in leading Espanyol to become runners up in UEFA Cup 2007, only to lose out from Sevilla on penalties. Meanwhile, Fernando Santos was guiding Greece to qualify in World Cup 2014 and surprisingly managed to bring Georgios Samaras and Co advance to the round of 16 before losing to Costa Rica on penalties. He was also the man who led Portugal to clinch their first senior international trophy, EURO 2016.