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Football Reporting


Finidi George: Ex-Ajax star remains hopeful despite Nigeria coaching snubs

The Champions League winner says he would not get discouraged despite the constant snubs by Nigerian football authorities

Former Nigeria and Ajax star Finidi George has vowed to keep pushing on despite being denied the chance to handle Nigeria U17 on two occasions.

The retired winger, 49, boasts a Uefa A Licence which allows him to become head coach of youth teams up to 18 years, reserve teams and men’s professional second-tier outfits.

He was first denied the chance to take charge of the Golden Eaglets as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) decided to retain veteran tactician Manu Garba. It was the same case of rejection in 2019 as he was snubbed for a vastly experienced compatriot Fatai Amoo.

Even at the unremitting snub, the Super Eagles legend disclosed that he will not ‘shut to door’ to the country he represented at two Fifa World Cups.

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“I’m very disappointed but I understand the Nigerian system quite well,” George told BBC Sport Africa.

“It’s a matter of having patience. So I’m open to continuing to improve myself with the hope of getting a chance to coach one of the country’s youth teams.

“When you have the right qualifications, attitude and professionalism, you can only aim for the best and it may even be a chance with the senior side, the Super Eagles, we shall see.”

“I was disappointed to be ignored, but only consoled that at the end of the day this is Nigeria,” he added.

“I understand the challenges, I will just wait for when the time is right and the opportunity presents itself again.

“As I continue to look at other options out there, I am open and will not shut the door to Nigeria.

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“I just hope someday that decision will be made and I will be called upon to handle one of the teams. I can only just keep hoping.”

After impressive spells at Nigeria Professional Football League outfits Calabar Rovers, Iwuanyanwu Nationale (now Heartland) and Sharks (now Rivers United), he moved to Ajax in 1993. There, he won two Eredivisie titles, two Dutch Super Cup diadems aside from winning the Champions League in 1995.

Before drawing the curtain on a trophy-laden career, he featured for Real Betis, Ipswich Town and Real Mallorca.

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