FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning coach, Emmanuel Amuneke has charged the country’s football administrators to plan beyond just qualifying for major tournaments.
Nigeria have won the African Cup of Nations three times with her last triumph arriving in South Africa in 2013.
But Amuneke believes the West African nation should be celebrating more wins based on her pedigree. The Super Eagles only managed a third-place finish at the 2019 AFCON tournament held in Egypt.
The team has also never gone beyond the second round of the FIFA World Cup since its first appearance at the Mundial 26 years ago.
But the 1994 Africa Footballer of the Year, Amuneke, is sure that Nigeria could be performing better at major tournaments with the quality players at her disposal if the right strategies are deployed.
The Nigeria Football Federation is known for cooking up one or two months’ preparation for international competitions, but Amuneke is convinced that a long-term strategy is needed for success.
“Nigeria has over the years qualified for these competitions, and I believe that merely participating in the championships is not all that matters now, ” the former Barcelona winger told The Guardian.
“There should be a programme that would see that the Super Eagles can get at least to the semifinal of the World Cup. This cannot be achieved one or two months before the World Cup.
“A well-tailored plan has to be put in place by the NFF… It can be for a six-year or more plan that is stipulated to see the Eagles win laurels in major championships.”
“Any time I hear that the Eagles will win the World Cup after qualification, I wonder how it will happen when there is no long term structure for it to come to reality.
“Getting the required result to build a solid squad requires strict supervision and selection of players because there are some quality players that play well for their clubs and cannot perform at the national team level.
“A credible coach has to find out how a particular player can fit into the national team structure before he can play for the team.”