Finidi George's Replacement: Antonio Conceicao or Marc Brys, Who Fits the Super Eagles Best?

Finidi George's Replacement: Antonio Conceicao or Marc Brys, Who Fits the Super Eagles Best?

Ero Samson
updated at June 18, 2024 at 5:16 PM
In this article:
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Super Eagles
South Africa
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FIFA World Cup qualification (CAF)
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CFR Cluj
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  • The Super Eagles of Nigeria are poised to welcome a new manager following the surprise departure of Finidi George
  • Several international coaches, including Antonio Conceicao and Marc Brys, have been linked to the vacant position
  • Sports Brief examines which candidate is better suited for the Nigerian team as the federation's decision looms

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It's quickly becoming a topical issue again across the Nigerian football community, especially in light of the lacklustre FIFA qualification results and the eventual resignation of Finidi George as coach of the Super Eagles.

The three-time African champions are once again without a coach, and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is keen on appointing a foreign manager this time.

Nigeria, Super Eagles, NFF, Antonio Conceicao, Marc Brys, coach, Finidi, FIFA World Cup qualifier
Portuguese coach, Antonio Conceicao, and Belgian manager, Marc Brys, are currently linked with the vacant role of the Nigerian team. Images: Visionhaus/Daniel Beloumou.
Source: Getty Images

According to a communique from the federation’s media outlet, Finidi and his technical staff's failure to improve Nigeria’s qualification prospects for the 2026 FIFA World Cup prompted the NFF to consider hiring a foreign tactician for the Super Eagles.

Following the NFF's announcement, a flurry of names have emerged as potential candidates for the role. Among the several names mentioned, Antonio Conceicao and Marc Brys have emerged as the front runners.

Both managers have achieved significant success in their careers, winning numerous titles and bolstering their managerial credentials.

However, managing the Nigerian team is often seen as daunting for many foreign coaches. Historically, the last foreigner to achieve notable success with the Nigerian team was Clemens Westerhof, who won the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 1994.

With the NFF's appointment of the next Super Eagles coach imminent, Sports Brief examines which candidate would be the best fit to lead the team to the much-desired success.

Conceicao or Brys: Best candidate for the Super Eagles' role

Antonio Conceicao

The Portuguese gaffer is highly rated among the NFF technical committee hierarchy. The 62-year-old has been linked with the Nigerian team for the better part of the last two years.

Conceicao is once again one of the front runners for the Super Eagles job, and the well-traveled manager could be ahead of the other candidates linked with the role.

According to data from Footy Stats, Coach Conceicao has managed over 10 teams in his 25-year-long managerial career.

However, a slight scar on his career, according to the data provided by the outlet, is his coaching record. While the 62-year-old coach has won several titles, including the Romanian league twice with CFR Cluj, his winning percentage is a concerning statistic.

Conceicao, known for his high-attacking 4-3-3 approach, has a win percentage capped at 43.44%. Specifically, he has secured victory in 53 of the 122 official matches he has managed.

Nevertheless, a notable highlight of the Portuguese manager’s career is his relatively brief but successful experience on the African continent. With Cameroon, he recorded one of the best stints of his career, achieving 17 victories in 23 games, including five of the six World Cup qualifiers he oversaw. Conceicao’s knowledge of African football culture also gives him a slight advantage in landing the job.

Marc Brys

On the other hand, Brys boasts a slightly lower career win ratio compared to Conceicao.

The Belgian tactician, who was recently appointed manager of the Cameroonian team, has been in top-flight coaching for over 25 years.

However, the 62-year-old’s coaching statistics are more concerning than those of Conceicao.

According to data from Sofascore, the Cameroon coach has a career win ratio of 1.38, which breaks down into 234 victories, 163 draws, and 231 defeats throughout his career.

One major positive from Coach Brys' teams is his tactical approach and style of play.

The Belgian gaffer is known for his 3-4-3 formation, which coincidentally has been the most successful formation for any manager of the Nigerian team in the past seven years.

Finidi's switch to the 4-3-3 formation ended in colossal failure and his eventual departure, potentially giving the Belgian tactician an advantage.

Comparing both managers, Conceicao appears to be the favourite, given his recent success with the Cameroonian national team. However, a case for Brys can be made due to Conceicao’s career having notable gaps between his jobs and his frequent management in leagues below the global elite standards.

Nonetheless, the responsibility to appoint a manager for the Super Eagles rests with the technical committee of the NFF. It is imperative that the committee appoints the best manager to lead the Super Eagles, especially given the precarious situation the team faces regarding qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

Mutiu Adepoju speaks on NFF’s role in Findi’s results

Sports Brief also previously reported on Mutiu Adepoju's criticism of the NFF for their role in Finidi's underwhelming results.

Finidi failed to impress in his two fixtures, recording a draw against South Africa and a defeat to the Republic of Benin, before stepping down as Nigeria's coach.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)