Exclusive: Samson Siasia outlines plans for success

For those who have followed African Soccer (football) in the last two decades, the name Samson Siasia would definitely come to mind. He was recently; on the 4th of November 2010 appointed the coach of the Nigerian National team; the super eagles. His soccer career has seen him pitch with great teams both locally in Nigeria and internationally in Europe. Between 1984 and 1998, Siasia played 46 international matches with the Nigerian National team. He has been recognized as the third leading scorer for the team.

In 2005, Samson Siasia coached the Nigerian under 20 team (flying Eagles) taking them to two international finals. He also coached the under 23 team earning them an Olympic silver medal.

I caught up with the soccer legend in Atlanta USA as he expressed his views on certain pertinent issues with his new assignment.


TA – Evaluate the present Super Eagles team

SS – Judging from our performance in the last world cup and on a scale of 1 to 10, I would say 5 which is not good compared to previous outings. We just have to go back to the drawing board, start up and get a new team.


TA – Your take on the soccer governing body in Nigeria

SS – The greatest problem with the governing body is the last minute approach to certain issues and with expectations that it will all work out. They bring in money at the last minute and expect things to be fixed over night. In sports, it does not work that way. You have to spend time and resources to build. They set up task forces to raise fund and hope that this would change the team’s performance. We need to go back to the grass roots; to youth development to enable proper grooming of players who would succeed the older ones. Not until we start doing that, the same problems will still exist. Youth development and infrastructural development are key areas that we should really focus on. Our league today is struggling.


TA – Describe your transition from the junior team to coaching the super eagles

SS – I would consider it a challenging transition after being through two finals and most of the boys I coached from the under 23 are now grown up and some are actually in the Super Eagles team. There is a feeling of a fresh reunion having been away from them for about 5 years. We are coming together as a unit to build a great team around the young ones and to instill great values towards 2014.


TA – Outline your plans towards success

SS – Well, we have to ensure that the league is good because we would also pick Nigerian players from within and from foreign countries; the Government has to be more involved in terms of funding. One major factor at building a great team is the availability of funds. Currently, most of the league players are under paid or are being owed salaries. We also need good facilities; good fields to play, they have to be accommodated in a conducive environment. If the players are well taken care of, they would not be worried about going out of the country.

We then have to train our coaches; send them out to get proper training and with these in mind, in a couple of years we will get it right.


TA – Challenges you might face

SS – The greatest challenge would be finances especially those to do with running camps. If programs don’t commence on time due to logistical issues including the availability of funds, this could pose a great challenge. The administration of sports should also be looked into critically. For instance, if we have planned to embark on a tour or camp and at the last minute we are told that there is no adequate arrangement in place, this could lead to a demoralizing effect on the players.

The technical committee, the board and administrators must be ready to work together. They must all have their hands on deck to ensure success. It cannot all be left for the national team coach alone. It has to be a collective effort.


TA – Do you have unique antidotes for such challenges?

SS – Like I mentioned earlier, I can’t do it alone. Even magicians need help. What I am doing is trying to get scouts; we look at the league, get players from here and in Europe. Even the scouts have to be paid to ensure they get the right players from all over the world. We need to get players from the ages of 18 to 23 years of age because 2014 is just another 4 years from now so then they would be ready to play. These are some of the plans I have on mind. To do all this, huge funds is required.



By Tosan Aduayi for Trendy Africa Media.

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