Nigeria appoints ex-Ajax star George as new coach

football29 April 2024 17:00| © AFP
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Finidi George @ X

Nigeria's football federation has named former Nigeria international Finidi George as the new coach of the national squad, putting an end to weeks of speculation over who will replace Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro.

According to a press statement, the Board of Nigeria Football Federation on Monday approved the recommendation of a technical committee to appoint George, 52, to lead the Super Eagles.

The immediate task facing the former Ajax winger will be to guide Nigeria to victory in two 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic in Uyo and Abidjan respectively, in June.

Nigeria are under pressure to win both games as they are in third place in Group C of the African campaign behind Rwanda and South Africa.

George spent 20 months as assistant to Peseiro before the Portuguese voluntarily left the post after Nigeria reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in February where they lost to hosts Ivory Coast.

George, widely known in Nigeria simply as "Finidi", took charge of the squad in interim capacity for two friendly matches in Morocco last month.

His squad edged Ghana 2-1 in the first match, ending an 18-year winless run against the Black Stars, but then lost 2-0 to Mali.

George is a member of Nigeria's so-called "Golden Generation" that won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Tunisia and made their debut at the Fifa World Cup finals in USA the same year.

He won 62 caps for Nigeria and played at the 1994 and 1998 Fifa World Cup finals.