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Finidi: Eagles won’t play defensive football… we have high-caliber players

Finidi George, new Super Eagles Coach Finidi George, new Super Eagles Coach

George Finidi, the Super Eagles’ head coach, says the team has enough talent to ensure the right balance between an attacking and defensive style of play. 

The coach spoke in a chat with Arise TV on Wednesday.

Finidi was appointed as Eagles head coach in April. The 52-year-old became the permanent replacement for Jose Peseiro, who he worked with as an assistant coach for 20 months with the Eagles.

Peseiro left the job in February after leading the team to a silver medal-winning campaign at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire.

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Despite the Portuguese’s relative success with the Eagles at the AFCON, many Nigerians criticised his strategy, which was built on defensive solidity.

Speaking on the changes he plans to make to the team, Finidi said Eagles should not play defensive football “with the calibre of players that we have”.

He then hinted at a potential change in the Eagles’ tactical formation to allow a more progressive style of play.

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“With the calibre of players that we have, we cannot play defensive [football],” Finidi said.

“But I think in football, you must get that balance: when you attack and when you defend. If the players are aware of what you are doing, you attack and defend properly.

“Yes, we had the best defensive record at the AFCON but struggled going forward. We have to get the balance right. Maybe the formation has to change. We played 3-4-3 at the last AFCON. Maybe it is time we switched back to 4-3-3.”

Finidi’s immediate task with the Super Eagles will be the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic in June.

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The Eagles drew their first two games of the campaign to Lesotho and Zimbabwe, lagging behind in third place in Group C.

 

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