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Sports ministry wants Redknapp to manage Eagles

Top officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development want 73-year-old Englishman Harry Redknapp, whose last coaching job was in 2017, to take over from Gernot Rohr.

Rohr’s current deal runs out in June, with the Franco-German in the final stages of concluding a new deal with the Nigerian Football Federation in the coming days.

Last week, sports minister Sunday Dare in a video made available to The PUNCH, said he wanted a competent hand to manage the national team, “whether it is Rohr or not.”

Dare said, “All I want is a coach that is competent, I don’t care whether it is Rohr or not. The name doesn’t matter, but does he have the credentials?

“Look at our footballers, they play in some of the best clubs in the world and are coached by some of the best coaches.

“So if you want to coach a Nigerian team, you better be sound because the invited players that are going to represent the country train under the best coaches, therefore, we don’t want a player that is sounder than the coach.”

However, the Executive Committee of the NFF in a meeting held via video conferencing on Thursday, mandated its General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi to “liaise with the Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Mr. Gernot Rohr, with a view to concluding all matters around Mr. Rohr’s new contract within the next one week.”

But a top football stakeholder, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that even though Rohr was about sealing a new deal with the NFF, the ministry was looking at Redknapp taking over as coach of the Eagles in the coming days.

“He (Rohr) is expected to get another contract offer from the NFF as there are other likely conditions included in the deal to be sent to him today (Monday),” our source said.

“But if he (Rohr) doesn’t accept the new offer, it will pave the way for the ministry’s preferred candidate Redknapp; he is highly rated by the ministry officials, even though some feel he may be too old for the Eagles job and hasn’t had a coaching job for about three years.”

Argentine coach Hector Cuper has also been listed as a possible candidate to replace Rohr, should the Franco-German reject the new contract offer, our source added.

Redknapp’s last managerial job was at Birmingham City in 2017. He was sacked after five straight league defeats, which left the Blues second bottom in the English Championship table.

Former Inter Milan and Valencia manager Cuper, 64, is currently without a job since he left his post as coach of Uzbekistan in 2019.

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