Super Eagles

Zidane to Renard: 4 sterling options for the Super Eagles job after Finidi George’s resignation


The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is on the hunt for a new head coach for the Super Eagles following the resignation of Finidi George. The former coach stepped down after being demoted in favour of a more technically proficient manager.

As the search intensifies, The Athletic NG have shortlisted four names that the NFF should consider to help formulate a new era for the national team.

Zinedine Zidane

Among the high-profile candidates, Zinedine Zidane is one of the most decorated coaches currently available. The French football legend, who has Algerian roots, famously won three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid. Zidane’s humanitarian efforts and reconnection with his roots are also noteworthy; he recently funded a school and training centre in an earthquake-hit village in Boumerdes, Algeria. However, securing Zidane’s services could be costly for the NFF, with an estimated annual salary of 16 billion Naira, reflecting his earnings at Real Madrid.


Pitso Mosimane

Former South African coach Pitso Mosimane has expressed interest in the Super Eagles job. Currently managing Abha in Saudi Arabia’s second tier, Mosimane has a rich history in African football. He has yet to receive a formal offer from the NFF but remains open to taking on the challenge of leading Nigeria’s national team.

Hervé Renard

Frenchman Hervé Renard is another strong contender. Renard has an impressive track record in African football, having won the Africa Cup of Nations with both Zambia and Ivory Coast. He also led Saudi Arabia to a stunning victory over Argentina in the 2022 World Cup. Currently managing the French women’s national team, convincing Renard to switch roles might be challenging, especially since he turned down an offer from Ivory Coast during the 2023 AFCON to stay with Les Bleues. However, Nigeria could approach him again after the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper, known for his stint with Nottingham Forest, is also in the running. Cooper led Forest to the Premier League after a 23-year absence and has significant experience with England’s youth teams, winning the U-17 World Cup in 2017. He has worked with Nigerian players Taiwo Awoniyi and Ola Aina, making him a familiar face to some Super Eagles stars. Cooper is currently without a managerial position and could be persuaded to take on the national team role to rejuvenate his career.

 António Conceição

Lastly, Portuguese manager António Conceição is being considered by the NFF. Conceição, who previously coached Cameroon, has been out of a job since leaving the national team in 2022. 

António Conceição’s managerial career spans several clubs across Europe and Africa. He began his coaching journey in Portugal with Leixões SC, where he developed a reputation for nurturing young talent and building competitive teams. Conceição then moved to Romania, where he had multiple successful stints with CFR Cluj, leading them to victory in the Romanian Cup and Super Cup, and solidifying their status as one of the top teams in the league.

His time at FC Brasov in Romania was also notable, as he helped the team secure strong mid-table finishes and improve their overall performance. In Portugal, Conceição managed Belenenses, where he stabilized the team and kept them competitive in the top flight. His most recent and high-profile role was with the Cameroon national team, where he led them to a third-place finish in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and secured crucial wins in World Cup qualifiers.

Who will now take over the reins from Finidi George with months to the next round of World Cup Qualifiers?


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