Benin vs Nigeria: Should the NFF Have Appointed Finidi George Over Emmanuel Amuneke?

Benin vs Nigeria: Should the NFF Have Appointed Finidi George Over Emmanuel Amuneke?

Babajide Orevba
updated at June 10, 2024 at 6:30 PM
In this article:
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
Benin logo
  • Benin vs Nigeria ended in a loss for the Super Eagles, who failed to hold on to their lead inside the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan
  • Nigeria's chances of qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup are no longer in their hands as they will need 'favours' from other teams
  • The NFF appointed Finidi George as the new coach ahead of Emmanuel Amuneke, and fans are beginning to question the decision

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Nigeria's chances of qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup became slimmer after each match as the Super Eagles failed to secure victory in their first four matches of the qualifying series.

Drawn in CAF qualification Group C alongside Rwanda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Benin, many would have expected the Nigerian team to have an easy ride to the global showpiece.

Despite finishing the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations as runners-up, Nigeria have struggled in the World Cup Qualifiers as they have now played four matches without a win.

Emmanuel Amuneke, Super Eagles, Finidi George, World Cup, Abidjan, Nigeria.
Emmanuel Amuneke also applied for the Super Eagles job, but Finidi George was appointed. Photo Credit: Martin Rose.
Source: Getty Images

The three-time African champions will have to work hard to claim the sole ticket from the group, and many have pointed fingers at head coach Finidi George.

Under Jose Peseiro, Nigeria played 1-1 draws with Lesotho and Zimbabwe, starting the qualifiers on a shaky note.

The Portuguese tactician left his role following the expiration of his contract at the end of February.

Should the NFF have picked Finidi over Emmanuel Amuneke?

The Nigeria Football Federation announced a vacancy for the position, and several tacticians, including Finidi George and Emmanuel Amuneke, sent in their applications, Daily Post reports.

The appointment of Finidi George as the new head coach of the Super Eagles was a huge surprise in some quarters.

Clearly, the NFF wanted an Indigenous coach for the national team, and observers expected the football body to appoint Amuneke.

With Finidi in charge, Nigeria failed to beat Bafana Bafana of South Africa inside the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo as it ended 1-1. Three days later, they gave up their lead as Benin defeated them 2-1.

Finidi George's managerial stats

Finidi was appointed head coach of Enyimba in September 2021. In his second season, he led the club to the NPFL title.

In April 2024, he was appointed coach of the Nigerian national football team.

Before this appointment, Finidi was an assistant coach to Jose Peseiro, who guided the Super Eagles to a second-place finish at AFCON 2023.

Emmanuel Amuneke's managerial stats

The former Super Eagles winger coached the Nigeria U17 team to glory at the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2015.

Amuneke was in charge of the Tanzania national team, qualifying them for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations – their first in nearly 40 years.

However, Amuneke’s record with Egypt’s Misr Lel Makkasa and Zambia’s Zanaco left much to be desired.

He also failed to help the Nigeria U20 team qualify for the AFCON in 2017.

Why Amokachi stepped down as Finidi's assistant

Sports Brief earlier reported that Emmanuel Babayaro leapt in defence of Daniel Amokachi following his decision to step down as assistant coach of the Super Eagles.

The 51-year-old, who was among the four assistants named to Finidi George's coaching staff, surprised many by not showing up for his first task since the appointment.

In a post shared on his Facebook page, Babayaro emphasised that the contract offered to Amokachi by the NFF was demeaning.

Babajide Orevba photo
Babajide Orevba
Babajide Orevba is a CAF accredited Nigerian journalist and HOD of the Local Desk with over 10 years of experience in media landscape.He studied NCE Political Science/Social Studies, AOCOED.