Fashanu, Sodje: Lessons Nigeria must learn from England’s Euro run

…say NFF must trust ex-international to manage Eagles

Football Ambassador, John Fashanu and former Super Eagles player Sam Sodje have said Nigeria should learn from England’s tenacity, unambiguous planning, effective organisation, and utmost trust in their former players, the virtues that led them to the first final appearance in any major tournament since 1966. Fashanu who played for the Three Lions of England said it is not enough for Nigerians to clap for the English team for their success so far in the tournament but football authorities in the country must look at the model the British adopted to achieve success.

He said although England is yet to achieve the main dream which is to win Euros, their qualification for the final of the tournament is a reward for effective planning. He said the Nigeria Football Federation should learn from how the English FA trusts a former player Gareth Southgate who is the coach of the team, rather than rely on a foreign coach to manage the squad. “There is a lot of lessons to learn from England’s success; I think we have to show more faith in our former internationals. We have so many of them who are supposed to be managing the national team.

You can imagine the tremendous experience that Nwankwo Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha have acquired over the years from playing for top clubs in Europe; these are the kind of people we should trust with the Super Eagles. I don’t have a problem with the manager that is there but we can learn from what England did by relying more on our own former players.

“I am very happy for Southgate; I played against him many times in the English league and you can see how far he has gone with the national team. That is where we are supposed to go,” he said. Sodje who was also born in England but played for the Super Eagles said that the NFF can learn from how their counterparts from Europe shrugged off their mediocre performances in major competitions with the conception and adoption of a well-thought-out plan.

“England adopted a 10-year plan and they have not even gone far before result started coming in. You can see that they now have a particular method of playing; the coach has a plan, a style that is a mixture of German ruggedness and Spanish flair. You can see that there are some players in that England’s bench who aren’t seeing games, not because they aren’t good but the coach has a pattern of play that these big guys aren’t quite fitting into. But do we have a team with a clear-cut pattern in Nigeria? I don’t think so. That is one area we really need to look at.

“We shouldn’t have people who will not respect players because they have got some money; we have to ensure the togetherness of our squad,’ he said. Expectedly, the two former players are tipping the Three Lions to win the tournament even though they reckoned Italy are more experienced. “I am so happy for England to have reached the final; they have suffered so much and I wish they can complete the job on Sunday,” Fashanu said. “I am half British it is normal for me to support England to win this tournament,” Sodje added.

“However, I think they have worked so hard to get to this level and they need some kind of reward for the shift they have put in. The team is solid and on a good day, they can beat anyone. That is not to say that the Italians are not a tough nut to crack. The result is speaking for the Azzurri, they have got a fantastic squad too but I think England has a slight advantage including playing at home.”




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