Former Nigerian international Finidi George hopes to flourish in his first managerial position at Enyimba, two-time African champion, and reward the confidence shown by the club’s board of directors.
As part of his coaching education, the Nigerian interned with Dutch minnows PEC Zwolle, but George’s quest for a chance to coach at the highest level was rewarded with a two-year contract with Enyimba, eight times champion of Nigeria.
“Enyimba is a sleeping giant and the club management is determined to bring them back to the elite level – I share that ambition too,” George told BBC Sport Africa.
“They gave me this project, so I’m hungry for the challenge and I hope to do my best to repay the faith.
“The objective is to lead the club to the top and to do better than before. We’re going to work with the players and make them understand what it takes to compete at the highest level and be consistent. “
Since retiring from football in 2004, George has obtained his UEFA A coaching license, a level below the highest qualification, the professional license.
His previous coaching roles include director of international football at former club Real Betis and led the youth squad of his former Spanish team Real Mallorca in 2013.
“We all know traditionally that Nigerian players like to go forward, show their attacking power, but we have to try to get the right balance and not expose the team.
“We have to try to focus the players on discipline, tactics and the freedom to enjoy their football without losing sight of our goal as a team,” said George, who has won over 60 caps and made the Cups. of the world 1994 and 1998.
He is determined to try and make Enyimba a force to be reckoned with on the continent once again and replicate the past successes which have seen the club win back-to-back African Champions League titles in 2003 and 2004.
But he is fully aware of the enormity of what awaits him to revive the people’s elephant.
“Nothing good comes easy,” he explained. “It’s going to be a big challenge, but we’re going to put in more effort and make the boys do a great job – get them in shape, get a good training so that we can get the best out of the players.
“The first season is about doing it all, competing hard in every competition and seeing where that can take us.”
Despite being overlooked twice by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Finidi is still pursuing a long-term goal to run his country.
Aware that success with Enyimba could open doors with Nigeria, George is not getting ahead as he prepares for his first competitive game against Senegalese Diambars FC in the Caf Confederation Cup of the month. next.
“Enyimba gave me the opportunity and I have to be focused and do a great job here.
“I let the future decide for itself because I am not a diviner. I am going to focus on my club, they have invested in me and they believe in me. I want to do a good job here and that’s all that matters now, ”he said.