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EXCLUSIVE: FINIDI GEORGE’S NIGERIA LEGACY REMAINS UNTARNISHED - OBOABONA

FINIDI GEORGE’S NIGERIA LEGACY REMAINS UNTARNISHED DESPITE ‘UNCEREMONIOUS’ END, GODFREY OBOABONA

Shina Oludare
Shina Oludare

Last Updated: 2024-06-19

Louis Hobbs

6 minutes read

EXCLUSIVE: FINIDI GEORGE’S NIGERIA LEGACY REMAINS UNTARNISHED DESPITE ‘UNCEREMONIOUS’ END, GODFREY OBOABONA

Finidi George's sudden departure as Nigeria's coach has not blemished his legacy with the Super Eagles in any way, according to 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner Godfrey Oboabona.

The 53-year-old, who took over from Jose Peseiro in April, resigned as the coach of the three-time African champions less than two months after his appointment.

Coach George’s decision is reportedly tied to the Nigeria Football Federation's plan to replace him with an expatriate Technical Adviser in an effort to boost the country’s chances of qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Despite the wave of criticism and his unexpected departure, the former Rizespor star asserts that the Ajax legend's legacy with the West Africans remains intact.

 

 

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“It is unfortunate that things got bad for coach Finidi George, leading to his abrupt resignation. However, one thing is certain: his legacy with the Super Eagles remains untarnished,”

Oboabona told SportsBoom.com.

“He is a significant legend in African football, and I wanted him to succeed. However, that's the nature of football—very unpredictable.

“Also, it would be unfair to place the blame solely on him for our position in the standings. Remember, before he took the job, we had only earned two points from two matches.”

Widely regarded as one of Africa’s greatest wingers, George played a pivotal role in Nigeria's victory at the 1994 AFCON and in securing their first-ever World Cup appearance that same year.

He was also a key player in Ajax's UEFA Champions League victory in 1995 before retiring after successful spells at Real Betis, Real Mallorca, and Ipswich Town in England.

QUALITIES THE NFF MUST SEEK IN FINIDI’S SUCCESSOR

 

 

 

 FINIDI GEORGE’S NIGERIA

FINIDI GEORGE’S NIGERIA

Before Finidi George's resignation, the Nigeria Football Federation had already expressed their preference for a foreign coach.

Considering the prestige of leading the three-time African champions and their passionate fanbase, Oboabona outlines what the NFF should look for in a new coach during the selection process.

“The Nigeria Football Federation has made it clear that they prefer a foreign coach. Moving forward, they must conduct thorough soul-searching to find a world-class manager capable of improving our recent performances,” recommends the Sunshine Stars defender.

“Nigeria is a household name in football, so we cannot afford to hire a journeyman only interested in the money. The ideal candidate must have a proven track record.

“Some of our Super Eagles players are currently competing in top leagues around the world, and to maximize their potential, we need a manager who can effectively handle their egos.”

NIGERIA'S 2026 WORLD CUP DREAMS STILL ALIVE

 

NIGERIA'S 2026 WORLD CUP DREAMS STILL ALIVE

NIGERIA'S 2026 WORLD CUP DREAMS STILL ALIVE

After a 1-1 draw with South Africa in Uyo and a 2-1 loss to Benin Republic in Abidjan, Nigeria are on the verge of missing out on the global football showpiece once again, following their absence from the Qatar 2022 edition.

The three-time African champions are currently fifth in Group C of the qualifiers, trailing behind Rwanda, South Africa, Benin Republic, and Lesotho, with just three points from four matches.

Oboabona added: “No one could have anticipated the Super Eagles being in this situation. It's particularly disappointing given how well we performed at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, where we came close to winning a third title.

“But that's football—if you don't convert your chances and your opponents do, you get punished for it.

“However, I strongly believe we will qualify for the 2026 World Cup because missing out would set our football back significantly.

“We need to win all our remaining matches and hope our competitors slip up. We've been in this position before and managed to bounce back. With the quality of talent in our squad, I am confident we will qualify.”

The Super Eagles are looking to rejuvenate their qualification campaign as they prepare to take on group leaders Rwanda at Huye Stadium in March 2025.

Shina Oludare
Shina OludareSports Writer

Shina Oludare is a notable Nigerian sports journalist and writer recognized for his extensive coverage of African sports. He has made significant contributions to the field through his work with reputable media outlets such as Goal.com and Soccernet. Known for his insightful analysis and comprehensive reporting, Oludare covers a wide range of topics within African football, including domestic leagues, national teams, and emerging talents. His work includes detailed player profiles, match previews and reviews, and transfer news, providing valuable insights into the intricacies of the sport on the continent.