As public anger continues to mount over the poor performances of the Super Eagles, former team manager Bonfrere Jo has pleaded to return to the team.
In a lengthy letter made public, the Dutch tactician insisted he is ‘the right man’ to redeem the fortunes of the national team.
Current coach Gernot Rohr has come under massive pressure to resign despite qualifying Nigeria for the last round of the FIFA 2022 World Cup African qualifiers on Tuesday.
Many pundits, ex-players, football administrators, sports journalists and fans have questioned the austere, conservative tactics of coach Rohr that saw the Super Eagles struggle to hold Cape Verde to a 1-1 draw in Lagos.
Bonfrere, who led Nigeria to Olympic gold glory in 1996 and a runners-up spot at the 2000 AFCON co-hosted with Ghana said he would restore the Super Eagles’ ‘free-flowing style’ of football that attracted world attention and adulation.
“When I was the coach of the Nigeria super eagles, the organization, structure and pattern of the super eagles brought Nigeria national team to be 5th/6th in the worlds ranking.
But the Nigeria super eagles of today lack pattern, organization and a structure.
I follow all the players of the super eagles’ home and abroad.
I know their abilities and how they all play in their various football clubs,” Bonfrere wrote.
Inept tactics, needed changes
Bonfrere blasted the current Eagles coach for his ‘poor tactical decisions‘ that have severely limited team performances, despite boasting an array of young, technically gifted players.
“The problem the super eagles is facing today is lack of ideas from the c oach.
The history of the coach matters and the coach keep using failed patterns just like in Russia, Africa nation cup matches.
I have watched coach Rohr in different matches and there is no single pattern he uses.
No effective formation and the players don’t understand themselves, The players can’t hold the ball to themselves for up to 3secs.
I’m not trying to castigate my colleague but his knowledge needs to be upgraded to the new modern football.
At this Era the Nigeria super eagles has to have a PATTERN.
When I coach it is guaranteed my players score a goal and more in respect to the kind o formation and pattern I use.
The Dutchman said if given the job again, he would love to have ex-Eagles attacker Daniel Amokachie and former CAF player of the year Emmanuel Amuneke as coaching assistants.
“I suggested Amokachi and Amuneke because they have the spirit of winning.
They have their prides in football and they fight till they accomplish the goal they can use the same as a coach , I can restructure the National team with them and sign a year contract or whichever and when I live they can carry on the winning legacy.
There will no longer be a need for a foreign coach because I and my team would upgrade the knowledge of the coaches and impact the world coaching standard in them,” Bonfrere opined.
“Nigeria super eagles will be able to produce 3 teams that can be used any time and each team will produce same excellent result regardless of who the opponent is.
This is the time for the Nigeria national team to think ahead and go beyond Africa football.
He also made a case for the inclusion of home-based players.
“The home based players will train with them and you can use them during matches when the game is stabled and by this the home based players will build their team to become champions of Africa.
Nigeria is one of the countries in the world where you can raise 3 solid national teams and in each wings there will be 3 best so you have options of who to use and when to use the player,” he noted.
Bonfrere himself was unceremoniously sacked in 2001 after the Super Eagles lost two key matches to Liberia and neighbours Sierra Leone in a FIFA 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup group.
Long road, daunting task
Since taking over the helm of affairs in 2016, former German International defender Rohr has overseen 55 matches with the Super Eagles winning 29, losing 14, and drawing 12 matches.
He led the Super Eagles to a first round exit at the 2018 FIFA World Cup (Russia) and a third place finish at the 2019 AFCON (Egypt).
Despite finishing top of Group C ahead of Cape Verde, Liberia and Central Africa Republic (CAR in the World Cup qualifiers, many keen watchers insist the Super Eagles were very unconvincing throughout the group phase ; capping their erratic and sterile performances with a humiliating 0-1 home loss to basement team CAR.
That marked the first World Cup qualifier home loss for the Super Eagles since 1977 when a Godwin Odiye headed own goal against Tunisia ended Nigeria’s 1978 FIFA World Cup aspirations.
Questions have also been asked about the choice of the Teslim Balogun stadium Lagos as a venue for the World Cup qualifiers because of the seeming ‘unfamiliarity’ of the players with the pitch.
Prior to the World Cup qualifiers, the Super Eagles played all their continental matches at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium, Uyo, South-South Nigeria.
The ultra-conservative disposition of the Super Eagles in their recent matches have given many fans cause for worry as the third and decisive round of qualifiers resume in March 2022.
Ten African teams will fight it out for the five slots available for the continent.
As one of Africa’s top five seeds, Nigeria may face Ghana, Cameroun, DR.
Congo, Mali or Egypt.
The fear is that should nothing be done to shake-up the Super Eagles before then, Nigeria may be dumped out of the qualifiers and thus join the ranks of teams that would watch the first World Cup to be staged in the Middle East – from their living rooms!
Bonfere Jo: Allow me revive the Super Eagles