As the search for a foreign coach for the Super Eagles hots up, we examines the performance of 18 foreign coaches who have managed the Eagles previously.
- 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. Rating: 7/10.
-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. Rating: 6/10.
-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. Rating: 5/10.
- 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. Rating: 3/10.
-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. Rating: 5/10.
-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. Rating: 2/10.
-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. Rating: 4/10.
-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. Rating: 2/10.
-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. Rating: 7/10.
-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. Rating 8/10.
-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. Rating: 4/10.
-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. Rating:
-Clemens 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. Rating: 9/10.
-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. Rating: 7/10.
-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 circumstances, leaving the NFA to begin a search
for another foreign coach. He managed three other national teams
between 1997 and 2002. Rating: 5/10.
- 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. Rating: 4/10.
- 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. Rating: 3/10.
- 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. Rating: 3/10.