Eagle’s Job’ll Be A Dream Come True —Siasia


Samson Siasia.

Samson Siasia has been relishing the prospect of becoming the next coach of Nigeria’s Super Eagles.

Samson Siasia.

If the news of him being tipped to take over the job of the senior national team becomes a reality, the former U-23 Eagles’ handler told P.M. Sports that it will be a fulfillment of a lifetime dream.

From soccer administrators, officials of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, down to the soccer loving Nigerians, the news of Siasia taking over from Lars Lagerback has been the talk of the town

And the man of the moment himself believes if he is given the job, it will be a dream come true. The silver medal winning coach at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, who is currently coaching Heartland Football Club of Owerri, told P.M. Sports after watching the Flying Eagles beat Junior Syil Nationale of Guinea 2-0 in the African Youth Championship, AYC qualifier in Abuja on Saturday, that “it’s good news for me because this is what I have been waiting  for a very long time. Let me tell you that serving my fatherland is all I have been doing as a professional footballer and coach of the national team.

“The aspiration of every Nigerian is to serve our great country at any higher level.  I want the Football Federation, NFF, to come out and make it official. I must confess, I have heard the news as well and it will surely be a dream come true for me. It is a welcomed development.”

When asked how he will cope, especially what he would to handle the big boys in the Super Eagles if he gets the job, the former Nigerian international said: “trust me now, let the dream come true first, Nigerians will then see how I will handle the team. What I know is that, a coach, who is worth his salt should have authority over his team. No player should be bigger than the whole team. The issue of big boys’ problem in a team depends on how the coach handles such a team. But I believe that I’m capable of doing the job.”

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Speaking ahead of his club, Heartland’s next CAF Champions League cracker against JS Kabylie of Algeria and their second leg game against Al Ahly of Egypt in Cairo, Siasia said: “I know we are playing against  tough oppositions. The North African teams are a good side. There is no cause for alarm. We have our plan and I know that my boys are up to the task. For me I believe in my team.”

Siasia, who played for Australian club, Perth Glory, has these to say about the performance of the Flying Eagles’ against the Guineans on Saturday, “the Flying Eagles played a good game and I believe they could have scored many goals in the match. I think they need to step up their game in the second leg in Conakry. I wish Coach John Obuh and his team the best of luck in their quest to qualify for the AYC in Libya next year.

Looking back at the international career of Siasia, there is no doubt that he has done his best for his fatherland. He played 46 international matches for Nigeria, in which he scored 13 goals. He was also part of the team that participated in the 1994 FIFA World Cup  and won the 1994 African Nations Cup. He played for the Eagles for 11 years and was recognised in Nigeria as the third leading scorer for the national team.

Going through the coaching career of the Bayelsa State-born former player, it  would be noted that he is a coach of high repute. In 2005, Siasia coached the Flying Eagles, took them to the finals of both the 2005 U-20 World Cup in Holland. That was after leading them to win the U-20 African Youth Championship, AYC at Benin 2005 and advanced all the way to the WYC final in Holland, before losing 2-1to Argentina. He also assisted Austin Eguavoen in coaching the national team.

Siasia was appointed the national U-23 coach in January, 2007. In 2008, he coached the Nigerian U-23 Olympic squad to the final against the same Argentina. In a superbly played series of matches, Nigeria’s team earned the Olympic silver medals in China. Earlier in 2008, the U-23 team won the inaugural Intercontinental Cup in Malaysia. The team  were built with the players invited from the Nigerian league and they won the Cup against many teams then heading for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

In addition to his position as head coach of the U-23 Olympic Eagles, he developed a youth academy in the capital city Abuja, called SiaOne Soccer Academy. On March 17, 2009, he was reappointed head coach of the U-20 team after they finished a disappointing 3rd in the 2009 African Youth Championship. He was handed a six-month contract to coach Heartland F.C. of Owerri this month.

—Taiwo  Adelu

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