By Kenneth Duru |

Even with recent setbacks, the sky appears to be the starting point for the award-winning Nigerian tactician.

The Super Eagles may have failed to qualify for the Gabon 2017 African Cup of Nations, which is by every standard the biggest soccer show piece on the continent of Africa. The Nigerian national team has broken the hearts of its teeming fans and supporters. The Eagles have once again failed to fly when it mattered most.

In the mix of this unfortunate situation, Samson Yebowei Siasia’s profile looks like it has continued to soar. The debacle of Kaduna and Alexandria are still very much in the air, but a good number of pundits and aficionados have nothing but adulation and superlative comments for this indefatigable tactician. A veteran of so many soccer battles, Siasia has come a long way in the round leather game. He has indeed written his name in gold in the annals of Nigerian soccer.

His worst critics would be quick to point out that the Bayelsa – born coach has failed twice to qualify the Super Eagles for the Africa Cup of Nations. However, many Nigerians may not want to forget his achievement in a hurry. During his hey days as a player, Siasia was a prominent member of the Super Eagles. He held the fans spell bound with his deft touches, pacy dribble runs and prolific goal scoring skills. The Albeceste of Argentina inspired by the talismanic Diego Armando Maradona still remember his goal in one of the group games at USA’ 94. He guided the Super Eagles (Dream Team IV) to a second place (silver medal) finish in the Men’s Football event of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and subsequently became the beautiful bride of the game. So many soccer federations including those of Japan and Kenya stumbled to sign him on to handle their respective national teams.

Like the proverbial cat with nine lives, Siasia has survived many storms in the trouble infested waters of Nigerian football. Highly sartorial and influential, this man arguably boasts the largest fan base in the comity of indigenous coaches for now. Even some of his colleagues such as Henry Nwosu, Nduka Ugbade and Ladan Bosso have all commended the work he did with the Super Eagles in the face of Sunday Oliseh’s sudden departure. Senator Obinna Ogba, incumbent chairman – of the Senate Committee on Sports has also lent credence to his sterling attributes as a coach. A good number of Super Eagles players including Daniel Akpeyi have clamoured for his retention as the substantive coach of the nation’s senior team.

Whether he becomes the Super Eagles’ coach or not, it is apparent that Samson Siasia will still hold his head very high. He already has a job as the coach of the Nigeria Olympic football team. He led the team to win the African U – 23 Championship as well as the ticket to represent Africa at the Rio Olympics in Brazil later this year. He is also the Chief Executive of the Sia One Football Academy, which has produced an avalanche of talented soccer stars.