Home-based Eagles Put NFF In Coaching Dilemma

Officials at Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have been thrown into a dilemma over their choice of a coach for the home-based Eagles, as the team’s 2-1 loss to Togo in the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations has left top shots worried over technical deficiencies affecting the squad, who also lost 4-1 away to the same opponent the previous weekend in the Championship of African Nations (CHAN 2020) qualifiers.

With reports also circulating that current interim handler of the side, Imama Amapakabo might have fallen out of favour with his players, after the gaffer apparently slammed the lads for failing to rise up to the occasion against The Hawks, the NFF are now toying with an idea of drafting Eagles’ technical adviser, Gernot Rohr to take over the squad or they will have to eat humble pie and recall Salisu Yusuf to the saddle.

An initial plan to make Yusuf take over the team immediately his one-year suspension ended was rebuffed by critics, who felt the coach was getting a soft landing after his alleged involvement in bribe taking offences, but Amapakabo’s loss to Togo in back-to-back weekends has now been deemed too poor to stomach by lords at The Glasshouse.

This comes after Amapakabo’s home-Eagles bowed to The Hawks in their opening fixture at the regional tournament in Thies, with two first-half goals condemning the Nigerian side to the plate format of the competition where they will face other losers from the knock-out round.

Moise Kossivi took advantage of a defensive slip-up to open the scoring at Stade Lat-Dior on the half-hour mark, as the Togolese side put themselves in the best frame of psychological state ahead of the reverse fixture of their CHAN 2-020 qualifier away to Nigeria on October 19.

In the wake of Sunday’s second straight loss against Togo, a top official of the NFF reportedly told that the soccer governing body is also considering to draft Rohr to take over from Amapakabo in the under-23 team, Olympic Eagles, ahead of the U23 Africa Cup of Nations, which also serves as the qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Amapakabo has been in charge of the team in temporary capacity and, despite him qualifying the team for November’s tournament in Egypt, the NFF is unhappy with his failure with the home-based Eagles, such that the ex-international goalkeeper, a former Rangers International of Enugu and El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri handler, is now in danger of losing both extra jobs.

The official told “It’s not out of place to draft Rohr to the U23 because we are slowly losing our fate in Imama. We have not really debated about the future of the coach because he is there in interim capacity.

“Recent results suggest we have to make a decision on the way forward. The back-to-back loss against Togo is painful; but we won’t rush any decision until we do an appraisal of what went wrong in both games. That will determine his stay as coach; because we can’t afford to miss out on the Olympic in Tokyo.”

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