‘Good coach’ Finidi deserves Eagles job, says Awoniyi

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By: Abiodun Adewale

Striker, Taiwo Awoniyi, has described new Super Eagles coach Finidi George as a humble personality who deserves the men’s national team coaching role based on his antecedents in the game, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Finidi was unveiled by the Nigeria Football Federation as Eagles coach on Monday in Abuja, marking his official takeover from Jose Peseiro, who left the job after leading the team to a second-place finish at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

The ex-international will be assisted by Daniel Amokachi and Benjamin James, as well as Olatunji Baruwa as goalkeepers’ trainer, while Chima Onyeike will serve as fitness trainer and Mehmet Ozturk match analyst.

The 56-year-old Finidi served as an assistant to Portuguese Peseiro and Awoniyi believes that has ticked one of the boxes for him in stepping into the shoes of his predecessor.

“I think being the assistant, with what he has achieved for the country and the humility that he has shown to the players; like I always say, everyone deserves a great opportunity. And we have a lot of players and a good coach as well, it’s just to get it right on the field,” Awoniyi said via OgaNLA media.

While Finidi has also said his first task is to put Nigeria’s 2026 World Cup qualifiers back on track with wins against South Africa and Benin Republic in June, Awoniyi also spoke about the players’ desire to qualify after missing the last World Cup in Qatar.

“The last World Cup we didn’t qualify and I think it’s in everyone’s head. Everyone wants to be at the World Cup and I believe everyone is looking forward to making the country proud,” the Nottingham Forest striker added.

Awoniyi has been missing from the national team since copping an injury during a friendly game against Saudi Arabia last October, missing the 2023 AFCON as a result.

He was also not available for Nigeria’s friendly matches against Ghana and Mali under Finidi in March and will hope to get back into the team when the NFF releases the squad list for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.