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Finidi George: Length Of My Super Eagles Contract Not Important, My Focus Is on Winning Games

Finidi George has urged Super Eagles players to prioritise national duty over clubsides, and declared forthcoming games must-win for Nigeria.

Newly-appointed Head Coach of the Super Eagles Finidi George has stated that his contract with the Nigerian national team is a two-year contract which is strictly based on performance.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, George expressed doubts about the contract being a long-term one or one for the immediate time frame.

Acknowledging the magnitude of coaching the Nigerian national team, he highlighted his desire to instill a sense of responsibility and dedication in the team.

“It is not a one-year deal and it is based on how well you perform because I think, even if you have given me a five-year deal, and I don’t perform, I will leave before those five years. 

“For me, it is all about adding value, winning games and making the team play good football. So, I am not quite worried about the length of the contract but I think the contract is a two-year deal based on performance.

“It is all about commitment. I have been there before and now I am the head coach. I think it is just to let the players know that they are playing for Nigeria and to know the task ahead. Playing for Nigeria is bigger than playing for their various clubs.

 “If we can do that, we would see the commitment from the players and have that same level of football Nigerians saw in the past and I hope being the head coach, I will be able to achieve that. I don’t know if it is going to be a long-term thing or an immediate contract.”

With a clear focus on scouting talent, George expressed his intention to tap into both established players and home-grown talents. “We are not just going to bring players that cannot play,” he affirmed, underlining the importance of a balanced squad capable of executing an attacking style of football while maintaining defensive solidity.

“The people I am working with are the people I picked myself. For me, I have been in the league for three years now and as a coach, you only analyse the direct opponent that you are playing against and see one or two good players in the team. But now, it is a wider range where I have to search for players. 

“We will get a couple of the home-grown talents to join us definitely in the two games that we will be participating in.”

George emphasised the importance of finding a balance between attacking and defensive play, stating, “With the caliber of players we have, we cannot play the defensive style of football but I think in football, we must gain that balance when you attack and defend.”

In preparation for the upcoming matches, the Coach said he meticulously curated a provisional list of thirty-five players. However, due to injuries, some players have been sidelined. He reassured that these absences would not hamper the team’s performance.

“With the caliber of players we have, we cannot play the defensive style of football but I think in football, we must gain that balance when you attack and defend. We came up with a provisional list of thirty-five players and from the information that we have gotten, there are some players that have been injured but they will be replaced by others that are capable of doing the job as well.”

Further discussing the upcoming matches, he exuded confidence despite previous draws against Lesotho and Zimbabwe, emphasising the team’s need to secure victories to solidify their position in the group standings.

“For me, I am not worried. We have played two games where we drew both against Lesotho and Zimbabwe. So, this is a must win. For us to get at least comfortable in our group, we have to win these two games. I am not quite worried because for a coach, it is either you get a good result or not. But I have the belief that we will win these two games. There is no pressure on me.

“In terms of legacy, we want to play good football and let people enjoy football with us being on the winning side. Football has changed. Back then, people used to fear Nigeria but now, other countries have gotten to that level that the rivalry doesn’t matter but the capacity of the players. It is just a matter of convincing the players and since they respect me, there is a way I will talk to them and they will give their all.”

George’s remarks come at a crucial juncture for Nigerian football, as fans and stakeholders eagerly anticipate a resurgence in the team’s performance under his leadership.

Chioma Kalu

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