If the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) could name the next Super Eagles coach this minute, it would be Frenchman, Paul Le Guen as the former Indomitable Lions of Cameroon coach is leading the pack of the candidates who have applied for the job.
French coach, Paul Le Guen
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 Russia 2018 draws pitting Nigeria with Africa’s football power houses like Algeria, Cameroun and Zambia in Group B, it has been 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.
52-year-old Le Guen, 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, 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.
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.
LE GUEN AT A GLANCE
Born on March 12, 1964, Le Guen last coached Oman — a job he was relieved of in November 2015 after an unimpressive start to the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. After accepting the job in June 2011, he led the southeastern Arabian country to qualification for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, which they didn’t qualify for in in 2011. The Omanis won one and lost two to crash out of the tournament in the group stage.
Before then, Le Guen had a successful managerial career in France, most notably leading Olympique Lyonnais to three consecutive Ligue 1 titles (2002-03,2003-04,2004-05). He has also managed Stade Rennais, Patis Saint-Germain, Glasgow Rangers and the Cameroon national team.
He won the Coupe de la ligue in 2008 with Paris Saint-Germain. Since his first coaching job in 1998 with Rennes, he has overseen 519 games, winning 245, drawing 128 and losing 146 — representing a win percentage of 47.
Named Cameroon coach in July 2009 on a a five-month contract, he started on a high by leading the team to qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. However, Cameroon were the first team officially knocked out of the 2010 World Cup. He announced his resignation on 24 June 2010.
Credits: ThisDay / TheCable