Benson Chukwueke Benson Chukwueke Author
Title: 19 Foreign Coaches that Managed Nigeria National Team… and Now the 20th [A Review of their Performances]
Author: Benson Chukwueke
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What is it about foreign coaches managing the Nigeria national team - Super Eagles? Are they any better in terms of football develop...


What is it about foreign coaches managing the Nigeria national team - Super Eagles? Are they any better in terms of football development and Achievements? Let us examines the performance of 19 foreign coaches who have managed the Eagles previously

1- John Finch (England) 1949
He led Nigeria to its first international game against Sierra Leone on October 8, 1949 when both countries were under British administration. Nigeria won 2-0. He handed over to Daniel Anyiam who became the first indigenous coach of the national team.


2 -Les Courtier (England) 1956-1960
The biggest win Nigeria ever recorded took place under his guidance when the Red Devils beat Dahomey (now Benin) 10-1 on November 28, 1959.


3 -Moshe Jerry Beit haLevi (Israel) 1960 -61
In 1960, Jerry received an offer to coach the Nigerian national team. In his first match against Ghana, Nigeria was beaten 3-0 in Lagos and the press called for Beit haLevi to be fired. He decided to stick with the job and helped build a better Nigerian side.



4 - George Vardar (Hungary) 1961-1963
Under him, Nigeria suffered tremendously in the hands of Ghana and Sudan. He left the post for Daniel Anyiam who had his second stint with the team.



5 -Jorge Penna (Brazil) 1963, 1972-1973
His first coming was in 1963 when he managed the team for one year before he managed the team between 1972 and 1973.


6 -Joseph Ember (Hungary) 1965-1968
UNDER Ember, Nigeria failed to qualify for the Nations Cup in Tunisia in 1965 and in Ethiopia in 1968. His assistant, Peter ‘Eto‘ Amaechina, took over from him and was in charge of the team from 1969-1970.


7 -Karl-Heinz Marotzke (Germany) 1973-1974
He came to Nigeria after managing the Black Stars of Ghana between 1968 and 1970. His first major role with the team was between 1970 and 1972. But barely nine months after he had applied for the job on April 21, 1970, he was sidelined. He was redeployed to conduct coaching courses in the states of the federation while Penna returned to the team. The Eagles were eliminated by Senegal in the preliminary competition for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games under the guidance of Penna. He remained in the country until he was named a member of the NFA in 1973.




8 -Othman Calder (Germany) 1974
Following the sacking of the NFA board led by Edwin Kentebe and the disbandment of the team and its technical crew, the new administration hired Calder in December 1974 to prepare the team for the next Nations Cup. His first assignment was to screen the over 90 players that had been selected from the National Sports Festival held in August of the same year. But in the following year, the coach suddenly abandoned his post and left the country. His employers, the National Sports Commission, had been unable to meet his demands which included an official car, a house and a monthly salary of N1, 700.


9 -Jelisavic ‘Tiki’ Tihomir (Yugoslavia) 1974-1978
Popularly called Father Tiko, the Slav narrowly missed taking the national team to the Argentina ‘78 World Cup after Godwin Odiye scored an own goal in the match against Tunisia to send Nigeria out of the race.




10 -Otto Glória (Brazil) 1978-1982
The former Portugal coach guided Nigeria through the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations, which the team won in the final in Lagos with a 3-0 win over Algeria. He left this position after poor performances at the 1982 Nations Cup in Libya.



 11 -Gottlieb Göller (Germany) 1981
He came to Africa managing the Togolese national team in 1972. He was later hired by the German construction company, Julius Berger, to coach its football team in Lagos between 1979 and 1981. He was engaged to coach the Nigerian team after a 2-0 loss in Lagos to Algeria in the first leg at the last qualifying series for Spain ‘82 World Cup. Gloria had been sidelined in the return leg tie but the team lost again 2-1 in Constantine, Algeria. Goller later left the country to work in Mozambique and then Togo.



12 -Manfred Hoener (Germany) 1988-1989
He came in after the NFA had experimented with coaches Adegboyega Onigbinde, Chris Udemezue and Patrick Ekeji, who had failed to win any major tournament. He began his coaching career in 1972 and worked in Austria, Turkey, Egypt and Thailand before coming to Nigeria. His arrival in 1988 was as controversial as his disappearance later that year. He led Nigeria to a second place finish at Maroc‘88 Nations Cup. He was regarded more as a physical trainer than a tactician.





13 -Clemence Westerhof (Holland) 1989-1994
Till date he is the most successful coach that has managed the team, winning the 1994 Nations Cup and helping the country qualify for its first World Cup. The team‘s success under his guidance led to its name to be changed from the Green Eagles to the Super Eagles in the build-up to the 1992 Nations Cup where Nigeria won bronze. He failed to lead the team in qualifying for Italia‘90 World Cup but he showed his determination to be at the next edition by rebuilding the team. His first remarkable success was reaching the Nations Cup final in 1990 in Algeria where Nigeria lost 1 – 0 to the host.



 14 -Johannes Bonfrere (Holland) 1995-1996
The Dutchman came tothe country to assist Westerhof but he got his chance to be in charge of a team when in 1991 he was appointed to coach the Super Falcons. His achievement with the women‘s team gave him the opportunity to be in charge of the Olympic football team in 1995 and the following year led the team to win gold at Atlanta‘96 Olympic Games. He left the country unceremoniously after he was hired to manage Qatar between 1996 and 1997. When Thijs Libregts was fired in 1999, Bonfere was hired to manage the Eagles again and he led them to a second place finish at the 2000 Nations Cup co-hosted by Nigeria and Ghana. Nigeria lost to Cameroun via penalty shootout. He left the team to coach the national team of the United Arab Emirate in 2001 while his assistant, Shaibu Amodu, took over the team.




15 -Philippe Troussier (France) 1997
His success with African clubs earned him the nickname ‘White Witch Doctor‘. He was engaged by Nigeria in 1997 and guided the Super Eagles in qualifying for the 1998 World Cup. He left Nigeria the same year under controversial circ***tances, leaving the NFA to begin a search for another foreign coach. He managed three other national teams between 1997 and 2002.





16 - Bora Milutinovic (Serbia) 1998
The Serbian, popularly referred to as the Miracle Worker, had taken three teams to the World Cup before joining Nigeria in 1998. He later guided China to the Mundial in 2002. The coach was hired simply for his World Cup experience needed to guide the Eagles through France‘98. He hardly made any change to the squad he inherited from Troussier and it was not a surprise that the Eagles failed to go beyond the second round of the competition.



17 - Thijs Libregts (Holland) 1998-1999
He had managed nine other teams – including the Dutch national team – before taking charge of the Eagles in August 1998. He was dismissed by Olympiakos in 1995 and was jobless until he was hired by Nigeria. Having been dismissed by Olympiakos, Libregts took charge of the Eagles in August 1998 after a disappointing World Cup campaign by Milutinovic. He was relieved of his job after winning just two games in five matches in the build-up to the 2000 Nations Cup.



18 - Berti Vogts (Germany) 2007-2008
The German had vowed never to return to football management after dumping the Scotland team but a lucrative deal with Nigeria made him change his mind. His four-year contract abruptly came to an end 13 months later after he resigned following the poor performance of the Eagles at the 2008 Nations Cup in Ghana.




19 -Las Lagerback (Sweden) 2010
On the 26th February 2010, Lagerbäck signed a 5-month (renewable) contract that would see him lead Nigeria in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.The nomination resulted in allegation that him and his agent, Greg Keenan from Aspire Management, bribed the Nigerian officials. Other candidates for the job confirmed that Nigerian officials asked for bribes during the nomination process. Despite Nigeria's poor performance in the World Cup, the Nigeria Football Federation offered Lagerbäck a contract extension for another two years. Lagerbäck declined the offer. Around this time, Lagerbäck was a candidate for the position of manager of the Welsh national team



20 -Gemot Rohr (Germany) 2016 
Gemot Rohr won his first Match against Tanzania 1 - 0 in a no use 2017 AFCON qualifiers. Nigeria is already out of the competition. 

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