Former AFCON winner wants Super Eagles coaching job: “I will do wonders with these boys”

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Former Nigeria international Sylvanus Okpala has expressed his readiness to be the next head coach of the Super Eagles, reports.

The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, is yet to name a new head coach following the departure of the Portuguese tactician Jose Peseiro.

The former Sporting Lisbon manager guided the Super Eagles to a second-place finish at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. Still, he left the role following the expiration of his contract.

While some want the NFF to negotiate a new deal with Peseiro, many are calling for the appointment of an indigenous coach to handle the three-time African champions.

Some names reportedly being considered for the Super Eagles job include Emmanuel Amunike, George Finidi, Daniel Amokachi, Ndubuisi Egbo, and United States’ U19 national team coach Michael Nsien.

However, Okpala, a member of the Nigerian team that lifted the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations trophy on home soil, wants his name to be in the mix of potential Super Eagles head coach.

The former Enugu Rangers midfielder has a decent coaching career, having served as assistant to coach Stephen Keshi when the Super Eagles won the AFCON for the third time in 2013.

In an interview with the Punch, Okpala applauded Peseiro while expressing the belief that he has the technical know-how to help the Super Eagles win the AFCON and the World Cup.

“The only thing I can say about Peseiro is that he has tried his best, but the game goes on,” Okpala said.

“I’m one of those that should replace him.

“I’ve won the Nations Cup as a player, and I have won it as an assistant coach to Keshi; the record is there. It is not easy. It’s not by luck or mathematics; it’s by knowledge.

“The team we went to South Africa with, you can’t compare them with these boys. We went there with home-based boys, playing in the Nigerian league.

“It was only Mikel (Obi); even Mikel wasn’t a regular player in Chelsea then when he came with us. Then (Emmanuel) Emenike, and I think (Ahmed) Musa too.

“We had only about one year with the boys then, but this team has spent over two years together. We have players that can win the World Cup.

“So yes, if I am given a chance, I will do wonders with these boys.

“I’m very good at reading games, and that gives me an advantage too.”

The Super Eagles have claimed the AFCON trophy three times but have never made it past the second round at the FIFA World Cup.