• ‘I need a guarantee that salaries will be paid’
Former Super Eagles winger, Finidi George has given reasons why he is scared of coaching clubs in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL). The former Iwuanyanwu Nationale FC, Sharks, Ajax, Real Betis, Ipswich Town and Mallorca winger says it is possible he could return to coach a club in the NPFL one day, but insisted that he needs a guarantee of prompt payment of salaries for him to accept such offer.
George stated that such poor attitude by Nigerian club owners of not paying coaches their wages had been an issue in the NPFL over the years.
“I have to get a guarantee that salaries will be paid and that players will be taken care of,” Finidi George was quoted in an online report by nigerianFootballer.com. He continues: “I wouldn’t want problems in the area of payment of salaries and traveling conditions.”
Before he joined the league of Nigerian professional footballers abroad, Finidi George played for Iwuanyanwu Nationale FC of Owerri and Sharks FC of Port Harcourt in the old Nigerian First Division league in early 1990s. He left Sharks FC for Ajax Amsterdam in the summer of 1993 before moving to play for Real Betis, Ipswich Town, and Mallorca, where he retired in 2004.
George has applied for a role as one of the National Team coaches, but says if the conditions were right he could coach a club in the Nigerian League.
“It is not that we are not willing to coach any team in Nigeria but for me, if I have to coach, there must be guarantees,” he said. An uncapped Finidi George, then a teenager, had a debut to remember after coming off the bench for injured Augustine Eguavoen to score and also contributed three assists for the late Rashidi Yekini to net four goals in Nigeria’s 7-1 victory against Burkina Faso at the National Stadium, Lagos in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
He was a member of the Super Eagles squad that won Tunisia ’94 AFCON title, and later qualified Nigeria for the first ever World Cup at USA ’94, where the team narrowly missed a quarterfinal ticket to Italy. George is of the opinion that the NPFL clubs may not be able to meet his conditions to become one of the coaches in the local leagues.
“I do not know if clubs are willing to do these. You know that most of them are government-run clubs and sometimes you have problems like these.
“So if there is a club willing to meet all these, then I am willing to go back to the league and coach, but everything has to be taken into consideration. Nobody knows what is going to happen. If the conditions are good, then you will see a lot of ex-players going back to the League.”
Only Austin Eguavoen, Ben Iroha, Emeka Ezeugo, Daniel Amokachi, Samson Siasia, and Emmanuel Amunike from the Super Eagles class of ‘94 have attempted to coach in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
Meanwhile, Ukraine-based Eddy Dombraye says that he is ready to return home after twenty-two years to coach a club in the League.