NFF fires Finidi George as Super Eagles head coach

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has finally sacked the head coach of the Super Eagles, Mr Finidi George.

George’s exit was disclosed by ex-Super Eagles media officer, Mr Toyin Ibitoye on his X account on Saturday.

“News just in. Finidi George #FinidiGeorge_FG has resigned from his #NGSuperEagles manager position,” he wrote.

It was gathered that the former coach was asked to step down following the team’s “dismal output and very poor returns” of three points from a possible 12 in the opening four World Cup qualifying matches.

An NFF source who craved anonymity confirmed the sack of the head coach, saying the federation was looking at hiring a foreign technical adviser ahead of the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers starting in September.

Recall that the Super Eagles, had on June 7, played a 1-1 draw against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

On June 10, the team lost 2-1 by Benin Republic in the fourth round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers.

From the result of the match, Nigeria is placed fifth, while Benin Republic moves up to first place in the six-team table.

However, the NFF president, Mr Ibrahim Gusau, said after a meeting with the minister of sports development, Mr John Enoh in Abuja on Thursday that the necessary things would be done to ensure the Super Eagles qualify for the 2026 World Cup in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

He said the NFF would continue to work closely with the sports ministry and other stakeholders to fashion out a winning template for the Super Eagles.

“It’s a very sad moment for Nigerian football. We cannot run away from that. But all I want to assure is that we are working tirelessly in conjunction with the minister to see that we come out with holistic measures that will change the face of the entire system so that we can move forward.

“Don’t forget, it is still possible, and I want to assure you that we are going to fight it to the latter and Nigeria will qualify for the World Cup.

“This is not something I will just say it now but very soon you are going to see major steps that NFF would come out with and by the grace of God, those measures that we are going to take will lead us to qualify for the next World Cup,” he said.

George took over after Jose Peseiro’s contract ended in February, having served as his assistant for 20 months.

Born in April 15, 1971 in Rivers State, George was appointed head coach in April and sacked in June.

George played for three clubs in Nigeria before arriving at AFC Ajax in 1993 alongside compatriot Nwankwo Kanu.

His impact with the Amsterdam side was immediate as he scored four goals in 27 games to help them win the Eredivisie title, which was also achieved in the following two seasons; additionally, as a starter he appeared in consecutive UEFA Champions League finals, winning the 1994–95 edition against A.C. Milan.

On 10 July 1996, he moved to Spain and signed with Real Betis for 1,024 million pesetas, where he netted in three digits in nearly every season, with the Andalusians finishing fourth in his first year, which also brought a Copa del Rey final loss to FC Barcelona (2–3 after extra time), where he scored; before joining the club he was close to moving to Real Madrid, but the deal fell through.

After Betis’ relegation from the top flight in 2000, he stayed one more year in Spain with RCD Mallorca, after which he joined Premier League team Ipswich Town, managed by George Burley, for £3.1 million. He was released from contract in June 2003.

In November 2003, George underwent a trial at former club Mallorca, following which he signed with the Balearic Islands team, helping them finally finish in 11th position after constantly battling relegation. He retired from the game in the summer.

In mid-November 2010, he returned to Betis as its director of international football. He continued, however, to live in Palma, Majorca, where he had relocated to after his retirement.

Finidi whose name translate into English as “a future full of sun” made his debut for Nigeria in 1991, in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Burkina Faso, providing three assists for Rashidi Yekini and scoring once in a 7–1 rout.

He helped the national team win the 1994 edition of the tournament in Tunisia, and also achieved one second and two third-place finishes.

George represented Nigeria in two FIFA World Cups, 1994 and 1998.

In the former, held in the United States, as the national team won their group and exited in the round of 16 against eventual finalists Italy, he scored against Greece in a 2–0 win, proceeding to mimic a urinating dog whilst celebrating.

In the 1998 tournament in France, he also played in all the matches, with Nigeria meeting the same fate at the hands of Denmark. He had already vowed to quit international football prior to the competition, and earned a total of 62 caps.

In September 2021, Enyimba F.C. named George as their new head coach.

He won his first title as a coach on the 11th of June 2023, winning the Nigeria Premier League at Onikan Stadium in Lagos.

In April 2024, he was appointed coach of the Nigerian national football team.

Before this appointment, he was the assistant coach to Jose Peseiro and was the interim coach who led the Super Eagles to beat Ghana 2-1, thereby ending 18 years of unsuccessful attempts to defeat the Black Stars.