I can take Nigeria to Russia – Saintfiet

By Daily Sports on July 25, 2016

Views: 1,368

Tom Saintfiet has said that he is convinced that he has the quality to "take Nigeria to Russia" where the 2018 edition of the Fifa World Cup will hold.

Nigeria have been drawn in a difficult qualification group alongside Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia which Saintfiet has described as "a small World Cup" of its own.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has had a checkered past months with keeping hold of coaches for its men's national team, the Super Eagles, which have seen Stephen Keshi (now late), Sunday Oliseh and Samson Siasia take charge of the failed 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification. Currently, Salisu Yusuf is saddled with the job of head coach pending when a substantive manager is named.

Even Frenchman, Paul Le Guen, who was recommended by the NFF technical committee for the job, has turned down Nigeria's offer but one of the three shortlists, Tom Saintfiet, has put up his hand saying he is the man for the job.

"I am convinced in my qualities and in myself as a coach. I can take Nigeria to Russia. I am convinced about the current crop of players. I first admired Nigeria in 1994 when Westerhof and since then I have followed the game in Nigeria. Remember I was appointed technical director of the (Nigeria) football federation in 2012 but the minister of sports turned it back after a few weeks," Saintfiet told supersport.com on Saturday from Dhaka in Bangladesh.


However, Saintfiet has declared that he is ready to live in Nigeria if given the Super Eagles' head coach role and throws his hat in the ring as "one of the tactically sound coaches for the Super Eagles."

The Belgian is confident that the current group of Nigerian players can go places and believes that the country has a huge talent base to compete at the highest level of the sport in the world.

He added that his knowledge of the sport in Africa having managed the men's national teams of Ethiopia, Malawi, Namibia, Togo and Zimbabwe as well as clubs on the continent like Young Africans SC and Free State Stars gives him an edge.

"I've lived in Africa since 2008 and I know the players and teams quite well. During my two and a hlf years in Namibia, I stayed full time in he country and was able to watch over 200 matches to know more about the playing nature of the country. Apart from that, I believe I am one of the tactically sound coaches for the Super Eagles. I lived in Togo for 14 months and watched league games and even street games. I lived in Malawi and did same. It's not creating the team of best players but creating the best team - a team that will compete for their nation with honour and respect and fight for their country at every time," he further told supersport.com.

"Nigeria is my priority and that is why I have not taken up the Bangladesh job. I have postponed the signing and I want to go to the World Cup with Nigeria and not just that but to reach the semis of the World Cup because they have the quality to do so. I am ready to live in Nigeria."

He believes the talent base in Nigeria would suit his coaching abilities. Saintfiet feels self-assured that he can become the first coach to lead an African nation to the semifinals of the Fifa World Cup if he takes reins as Eagles head coach.

"Nigeria is one of the two African countries that can reach the semifinals of the World Cup or even become the first from the continent to win the World Cup. I am sure I can take Nigeria to Russia because they have a huge talent base of players in their league and also overseas," he said.

•Gotten from supersports.com. Photo Tom Saintfiet

Source Daily Sports

Posted July 25, 2016

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