Where Finidi George got it wrong as Super Eagles coach

NFF to appoint foreign technical adviser for Super Eagles

Finidi George brought an end to his brief spell as Nigeria coach on June 15 by tendering his resignation letter.

The former Enyimba manager did not delay his decision after the Super Eagles’ poor results in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in June.

Nigeria held South Africa to a 1-1 draw in Uyo and then travelled to Abidjan to lose 2-1 to neighbours, Benin.

The team’s performance was rated below par with the country’s sports ministry issuing a query to the Nigeria Football Federation while the NFF, in response, announced plans for a foreign technical adviser to oversee Finidi George’s work as Super Eagles coach.

The decisions apparently did not go down well with the former Real Betis and Ipswich Town star, however, we look at areas where Finidi George fell at the first hurdle.

Poor media management

Finidi George is not new to coaching having previously worked as International Manager at La Liga club Real Betis before taking over at Enyimba where he won the Nigeria Premier Football League title in 2023.

During his 34-day stint as Nigeria coach, the former Ajax star displayed media recklessness when faced with questions about his tactics, his selection and his team updates.

Finidi George did not manage his media relations well even when it was clear that a section of the media had an agenda against a Nigerian coach leading the national team.

For instance, there was a viral videoduring his media tour in Lagos when Finidi George said “tactics/formations do not matter to him” as he was only focused on winning.

Such a statement might sound good to him and his crew but it undermines his technical prowess as a coach to get results.

Unconvincing relationship with players

Back in March, Finidi George had a chance to prove himself as Super Eagles head coach in two international friendly games and he did that with a 2-1 victory against Ghana followed by a 2-0 loss to Mali.

In June, with two competitive games and a nearly full house, the 53-year-old showed he was incapable to manage a star-studded team.

It all started with vice-captain William Troost-Ekong claiming that he was fit for the matches against South Africa and Mali but he was snubbed. A similar statement was echoed by Victor Osimhen on Saturday after Finidi George’s resignation was put in the public.

The Napoli star who is nursing an injury, confirmed that he reached out to Finidi George to encourage his teammates after the 1-1 draw with Bafana Bafana before they left for Abidjan but he was turned down.

Another player management crisis was the clear decision to start from the bench red-hot Bayer Leverkusen star Victor Boniface in the two matches in June, it sent a bad signal about his decision-making skills and some Nigerians even assumed if there was rift between the two – Boniface and Finidi George.

No clear game plan

Unlike his successor – Jose Peseiro who preferred to play from the back with his defensive-minded tactics, Finidi George’s team lacked clear game plan against Benin and South Africa.

The Super Eagls were disjointed in their attack in June and they paid severely for the lacking attacking threats against Benin.

The NFF might have seen this weakness which necessitated plans to appoint a foreign technical adviser to oversee Finidi George’s tactical decisions and Super Eagles games.

At the end, it was such an eventful short period at the helm of the Super Eagles for Finidi George.

It was an appointment that raised hopes and brought relief to Nigeria football but the 53-year-old coach failed to meet expectations.

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