Soccer Africa

Nigeria: Kelechi Iheanacho Backs Finidi George to Be Nigeria’s Permanent Coach

Nigerian Kelechi Iheanacho has expressed his endorsement of Finidi George to become the permanent head coach of the Nigerian national team. George oversaw Nigeria’s recent 2-1 friendly victory over Ghana as the caretaker manager. That match was the first action for the Super Eagles since losing the Africa Cup of Nations final in February.

The Super Eagles are under some pressure to find a full-time coach with two important World Cup Qualifying matches coming up in June. Less than two months after the AFCON, the focus has shifted to World Cup Qualifying.

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George, the former Real Betis winger, was appointed as an assistant to former Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro in May 2022. He and Iheanacho worked together throughout the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year with George making a good impression on the striker.

During the AFCON, Peseiro preferred a front three attacking formation featuring Victor Osimhen, Ademola Lookman, and either Samuel Chukwueze or Moses Simon. That led to limited playing opportunities for Iheanacho at the tournament. But with George filling out the lineup card for the friendly against Ghana, Iheanacho played all 90 minutes in his first start for the Super Eagles in 2024.

Following Peseiro’s departure in March, George assumed the role of interim head coach for the Super Eagles while the Nigeria Football Federation conducted a search for a new leader. Naturally, George is reportedly among the coaches who have submitted applications to be Nigeria’s new coach. However, many consider former Barcelona winger Emmanuel Amunike as the frontrunner for the position. Other contenders include Michael Nsien and Ndubuisi Egbo.