‘We never said Le Guen had Super Eagles job’ – NFF

Abuja (AFP) – The Nigeria Football Federation on Tuesday backtracked on its announcement of Frenchman Paul Le Guen as Super Eagles manager, saying he had rejected a contract during final discussions.

The former Cameroon boss was announced as the new technical advisor (head coach) on Monday evening, with caretaker manager Salisu Yusuf as his assistant.

But NFF media and publicity committee chairman Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande said in a statement titled “We never said Le Guen had Super Eagles’ job” that Le Guen’s name was only a recommendation.

Only the federation’s executive board had the power to appoint a new manager, he added.

“In truth, the Technical and Development Committee perused the profiles of all the coaches who submitted applications and found Mr Paul Le Guen suitable for the post,” he said. 

“But during final negotiations (with the executive board), he objected to being given a target and also did not wish to live in Nigeria, which was a sore point with the board.”

Yahaya-Kwande said the NFF had “absolutely no issue” with Le Guen turning down the job but indicated the target — qualification for the next Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup — was non-negotiable.

Nigeria have been without a full-time manager since the departure of Sunday Oliseh in February over complaints that the NFF breached his contract, including by not paying him for four months.

He succeeded Stephen Keshi, who was sacked last year after Nigeria failed to qualify for the AFCON finals for the second successive time. Keshi died of a heart attack in June.

The Super Eagles also face an uphill battle to qualify for the next World Cup in Russia in 2018, after drawing Algeria and Cameroon in their group.

Yusuf has said he wants the manager’s job full-time.

Yahaya-Kwande said despite the Le Guen setback, “several highly qualified persons would be happy to be named manager of the senior national team of Nigeria”.

“We have a plan to take care of that eventuality,” he added, without elaborating.

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