Nigeria fires coach Samson Siasia

AP, Friday 28 Oct 2011

Nigeria fired Samson Siasia as its national coach on Friday after the team failed to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations, the latest problem for the long-troubled organization

Samson Siasia

In a statement, the Nigeria Football Federation said it would begin a search immediately for a replacement, with the hope of hiring one by Wednesday.

Siasia’s team drew with Guinea in the final round of qualifiers to miss out on the tournament, leading the federation to demand an explanation for what it called “the embarrassment brought to the nation.” Despite Siasia offering a public apology, fans angry with a string of failures by the national team demanded his removal, as did federation officials.

“Coach Samson Siasia and the technical crew has breached a key proviso in their contract with the (federation) and their services are therefore promptly dispensed with,” the statement read.

Federation officials and Siasia could not be reached for comment Friday night.

Nigeria once dominated football in Africa, making the second round of the World Cup in 1994 and 1998, as well as winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994. To fans, Siasia represented that tradition, previously serving at the coach of Nigeria’s under-20 team and drawing praise.

However, it appears the coach fell victim the long slide the team has seen in recent years. The Super Eagles were knocked out of the World Cup last year after losing two of its group matches and scraping a 2-2 draw with South Korea.

Siasia took over in November 2010 after the federation sacked coach Lars Lagerback. Still, trouble haunted the federation.

After the World Cup, investigators accused former federation president Sani Lulu, ex-vice president Amanze Ugbulam, former technical committee member Taiwo Ogunjobi and ex-general secretary Bolaji Ojo-Oba of embezzling more than $6 million in tournament funding. Meanwhile, Amos Adamu, a former Nigerian government sports minister, received a three-year ban from FIFA after allegedly demanding bribes to influence his vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.

Under Siasia, Nigeria won friendly matches with Argentina and Sierra Leone, and drew with Ghana. However, the team fell apart in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, with Siasia also facing criticism from his players.

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