When the technical committee of the Nigeria football federation met on Monday this week, the bone of contention was always going to be, who gets the Under 17 National team job between two competent competitors seperated by tribe, religion, achievements and connections.
Finidi George gave Manu Garba a run for his money two years ago but succumbed to the superior influence of the power brokers who stamped their feet on the ground and insisted that Manu Garba, a coach that failed to qualify Nigeria to the under 17 World Cup in 2017 and a coach that relegated Gombe United to the NNL a year later, becomes the Golden Eaglets head coach for the umpteenth time.
Finidi who has a UEFA ‘A’ license and was also a member of the Nations cup winning team at Tunisia 94 and key member of the Super Eagles team that mesmerized the world at US 94, is back again to test his luck against another favoured man in Haruna Ilerika who has worked so hard to come this far.
No doubt, Ilerika is one of Nigeria’s finest youth coaches because of his achievements with the Under 13 and Under 15 National teams of Nigeria. He also has the reputation of discovering most of the players that played with coach Manu Garba in the buildup to Nigeria’s quarter final exit at the FIFA Under 17 World cup in Brazil.
These credentials put him shoulders above Finidi George ahead of Friday official announcement even though there are some who still feel that Finidi deserves the job having worked with the youth teams of Ajax Amsterdam of the Netherlands and Real Betis of Spain.
Respected for his humility and admired for his calmness, Finidi once said he is willing to coach the National team Nigeria for free but on both occasions he lost out to 2013 FIFA Under 17 world cup winning coach, Manu Garba.
The flying eagles coaching job is a straight fight between the former coach Paul Aigbogun and current Plateau united chief coach, Abdul Maikaba.
The picture on where the pendulum shifts will get clearer before the end of tomorrow.