By Semiu Osho:

Newly appointed Super Eagles coach Lars Lagerback, who left Nigeria last week for his country Sweden, will today arrive Nigeria to begin his work towards leading the national team to the World Cup in South Africa.

The former Swedish coach was on February 27 named by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) as the replacement for Shuaibu Amodu, who led the Eagles to qualify for the global tournament.

Amodu was demoted to managing the home-based Eagles who are preparing for the African Nations Championship qualifiers after guiding the Super Eagles to an unimpressive performance that led to a bronze medal finish at the African Nations Cup in Angola.

Lagerback, who led Sweden to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, has been handed a five-month deal that is expected to terminate at the end of the competition in South Africa, but the contract is renewable subject to his team’s performance at the Mundial where they will play against the trio of Argentina, Greece and South Korea in group B during the first round.

His contract is reportedly worth $1.5 million and expectations will be high from the Nigerian football community particularly the fans, most of whom believe a foreign coach is the solution following Amodu’s sack.

Moving quickly

The new handler has already appointed Roland Anderson as his first assistant while also accepting to work with the duo of Daniel Amokachi and former Eagles coach Austin Eguavoen as part of his technical staff. Lagerback is still looking to bring in other back room staff including a physical trainer and a scout who is expected to work with him in the area of identifying Nigerian talent within and outside the country.

The NFF could not however confirm whether the Swede will be arriving today with the two other foreign assistants who are yet to be named. Technical committee chairman of the NFF Taiwo Ogunjobi said “Of course he is to come with a trainer and a football analyst but I am not sure whether he would be arriving with them tomorrow.”

Media chief of the football federation, Demola Olajire, who confirmed that Lagerback will be flying straight to Abuja, could not also confirm if the physical trainer and the analyst will be arriving with the new coach. “I don’t have an answer to that, but he would be making that one clear when he arrives,” he said.

Friendly matches

The federation is still trying to complete arrangements on friendly matches that will aid the new coach to select his squad for the World Cup. Colombia and Ukraine are in consideration, while North Korea is the latest to be linked to an unconfirmed friendly date.

But the challenge facing the new coach is that he will not have his key players available for any international friendly until after the European season ends in the middle of May.

Lagerback, who has been given a semi final target at the World Cup, is expected to submit a detailed programme for the Mundial when he arrives, and he is also expected to see some domestic league matches to identify talents from the Nigeria Premier League.

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One Thought on “Lagerback arrives today

  1. Eugene Enabebholo on March 10, 2010 at 1:27 am said:

    We are surely on course in terms of getting a world cup winning team. The politics in the Nigerian team will now stop because lagerback will be coming in as a neural person. This will bring out the best in the players that will vie for shirts in the team. There is no longer automatic shirt for anybody as it will now be based on current form! This is the area that i fault Amodu and other Nigerian coaches with. They cant stand on their grounds in terms of choosing the right players at any given time. Lets give lagerback a chance!

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