George Finidi has revealed that he was surprised to be appointed by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) as the new Super Eagles coach.
Finidi returned to Nigeria last year after earning his coaching license, aiming to handle one of the country’s youth sides, but the NFF appointed others instead.
Two-time Africa CAF Champions League winners Enyimba, however, hired Finidi as the head coach of the Aba Elephants.
Results have been below expectations, with Enyimba sitting in the sixth position, three places and four points away from a continental spot, but the Elephants have played some of the most exciting attacking football in the NPFL.
And seemingly out of the blues, the NFF named Finidi as Super Eagles’ second assistant coach to Salisu Yusuf.
And on Sunday, while announcing the agreement with Portuguese gaffer Jose Peseiro, the federation revealed that there had been a reshuffle, which places Finidi as the new first assistant.
The former Real Betis winger admits that even he was stunned by the turn of events.
Finidi told Premium Times:
I did not see that coming.
Honestly, I didn’t even expect it. But all we need to do is ensure that all hands are on deck to ensure we work together with whosoever is coming in as head coach.
Finidi was a key member of the Super Eagles’ Golden Generation that lifted the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations and qualified Nigeria for her first appearance at the FIFA World Cup.
One of the most prominent features of that side was their attacking verve from the flanks.
Augustine Eguavoen, Finidi’s former teammate, looked to bring back that style during his temporary stint as Super Eagles’ head coach to the 2021 Afcon and the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
It failed to bear many fruits as the Eagles were dumped out of the Afcon unceremoniously and missed out on the party in Qatar.
Asked if he would look to evolve a style that will make the national team play like the 90s, Finidi replied:
You cannot compare eras. The kind of football we played at that time was quite different from what we have now. Football has changed.
Right-footed players now playing from the left side. A lot of things have happened and you just have to adapt to them. It is not fair comparing the current crop of players with our generation.
We just have to see what they are capable of playing this time and see how we can get the best out of them because you can’t really compare. All we need to do is get the best out of them. If they can win trophies then that will be good.
Finidi will handle his first national assignment when Nigeria take on Mexico on May 29.