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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 17:35 GMT
Decision time for Nigeria
By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Michael Essien and Jon Mikel Obi
Nigeria were beaten 2-1 by Ghana in the Nations Cup quarter-finals
Nigeria's Super Eagles could have a new coach before the end of the week.

The NFA's executive board is meeting in Abuja on Thursday, and they are expected to name the new man later in the day.

He will replace German Berti Vogts, who resigned after enduring severe criticism from the Nigerian media during his time in charge.

Nigeria's disappointing showing at the recent Nations Cup in Ghana was the final straw.

It remains to be seen who will be next in the hottest seat in African football, but it is worth noting that Nigeria's biggest glories have all been achieved under foreign coaches.

Nigeria first won the Nations Cup on home soil in 1980 under Brazilian Otto Gloria.

Dutchman Jo Bonfrere was in charge when the country became the first African team to win Olympic football gold in 1996.

Compatriot Clemens Westerhof led the Super Eagles to a second Nations Cup triumph in Tunisia in 1994.

But under Vogts the country achieved nothing but the tag of "Super Chickens", which has led to fans and the highly-critical media calling for a local coach instead.

BBC Sport looks at the three men reportedly on the shortlist, along with one popular outsider.

STEPHEN KESHI

Stephen Keshi
Togo qualified for the 2006 World Cup under Keshi

Keshi has won a reputation as one of the continent's most progressive coaches.

The former Super Eagles captain is often referred to as the "Big Boss" for leading the exodus of Nigerians to Europe in the 1980s.

Keshi played at the 1994 World Cup and in five Nations Cups, including the triumph in 1994.

He has already had a spell as assistant coach with Nigeria, helping them to reach the 2002 World Cup finals.

Keshi led Togo in their successful qualification campaign for the 2006 World Cup, but was sacked before the finals kicked off.

He subsequently returned as coach of the Hawks but failed to steer them to this year's Nations Cup finals.

Now out of contract with Togo and exploring the possibility of an extension, he is highly regarded for his tactical acumen and attention to detail.

With his record of success and his tactical nous, Keshi would be regarded by many as an ideal candidate to take Nigeria forward.

SAMSON SIASIA

Samson Siasia
Siasia has a strong record in youth football

Olympic team coach Samson Siasia is widely regarded as the top choice of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA).

But it would be a major coup on their part if they could tempt him away from the Dream Team IV role.

Siasia is a former Super Eagles striker and was part of the team that went to the 1994 World Cup in the USA.

His most memorable moment came when he scored a brilliant goal as Nigeria lost 2-1 to Argentina in the group stage.

Siasia, who played for French club Nantes, has a good track record with the youth team, having won the African under-20 title in 2005.

The same year he led the side to the final of the 2005 World Youth Championship, where they lost to Argentina 2-1.

His side is on the verge of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics, and his knowledge of the game has been spot on.

Siasia has shown an ability to inspire players, and perhaps most importantly he can marry the contrasting styles of local and foreign players.

If the NFA pursue Siasia - who has openly backed Keshi for the job - they would need all their powers of persuasion to convince him to leave behind his passion for youth.

SUNDAY OLISEH

Sunday Oliseh
Oliseh has a fine record as a player for club and country

The former Ajax and Juventus midfielder is in the picture because of his knowledge and experience of international football.

He started his career in Belgium, played in Germany and Holland, and in 1996 became the first Nigerian to feature in Italy's Serie A, with Reggina.

Oliseh is currently coaching in Belgium and will complete his Uefa A licence in the UK later this year.

He would be an easy target for the national media given the fact that his international career ended in a bust-up with officials of the Nigerian sports ministry in 2002.

However, his reputation in the game is undimmed. He is revered in Holland for his success at Ajax, helping them to back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999.

Oliseh has tasted success with Nigeria, winning both the 1994 Nations Cup and the 1996 Olympic gold.

He said whoever replaces Vogts should have strong coaching credentials and an understanding of the country.

It would take a major change inside the NFA to win him the job back - but the wind of change is blowing through the old place.

THE OUTSIDER: DANIEL AMOKACHI

Daniel Amokachi
Enyimba coach Amokachi won Olympic gold with Nigeria

Former Everton striker Amokachi has perfected the image of a "no-nonsense" coach after resigning as one of the five assistants to former manager Berti Vogts.

His unusual action was hailed across the country.

He will enjoy the support of many fans, as well as influential sections of the media who enjoy his dynamism.

"The Bull" was an FA Cup winner with Everton in 1995, famously scoring two goals in the semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.

He played at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, was in the Olympic triumph of 1996 and won the 1994 Nations Cup.

He is currently with former African champions Enyimba.

Amokachi still has enemies within the NFA, for his severe criticism of the body for their appointment of Vogts and their treatment of local coaches.

Amokachi is tactically astute, and hugely admired and respected by those who play for him.

THE CHALLENGE

Whoever is chosen has a tough job at hand.

Nigeria is a country full of talent, but the Super Eagles often shoot themselves in the foot.

Reasons for the failure to fulfil their potential range from a lack of tactical guile to a dressing room full of egotistical big-name stars.

The new man will need to bring the necessary change in fortune before the 2010 World Cup qualifiers get underway at the end of May.



SEE ALSO
Berti Vogts ends Nigeria reign
20 Feb 08 |  African


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