Applications have started getting in for the position of technical director for Nigeria football even before any formal advertisement for the job has been made by the Nigeria Football Federation. The PUNCH checks confirmed that at least two coaches have officially sent in their curriculum vitae for the position the NFF had marked out for Belgian Tom Saintfiet before that decision was cancelled.
We learnt that one of the applicants is based in Nigeria while a second candidate has lived largely in Europe where he claimed to have worked with a number of European teams. There are others who have made informal contacts and are expected to send in their applications as soon as advertisement is made for the position.
But even as the applications begin to file in, the President of the Nigeria Football Federation Alhaji Aminu Maigari told our correspondent that those early applicants would have to wait until the federation is ready to select somebody for the position.
He said, “We have received applications for that position (technical director) which I can confirm but filling that position is not really top of the agenda now for us. We have a lot of things to settle first rather than going into a process that could bring some distractions to the system.
“We have to get our teams to reach their best; we need to qualify for both the Nations Cup and the World Cup. Missing the 2012 edition was painful to Nigerians and which we strongly regret and so we have to keep away every manner of distractions and focus on the projects at hand. Let’s not forget also the World Cups the female teams have also qualified for. So you will agree with me that we have a lot urgent matters at hand than that which we can manage without for now.”
Maigari confirmed also that the federation would work strictly to the direction given by the Minister of Sports Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi which reserved the position for Nigerian coaches only.
“The restriction also means we have to be very careful to get the right person,” he added.
Before the Belgian was contacted for the job, the federation had almost settled for a former captain of the Super Eagles Sunday Oliseh before their negotiations collapsed over pay package. We learnt that the Belgium based coach will not be given preferential treatment this time but he is free to apply alongside others for the job.