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Lagerbäck appointed Nigeria coach

AFP/The Local · 27 Feb 2010, 11:41

Published: 27 Feb 2010 11:41 GMT+01:00

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The 61-year-old Swede, who is on a five-month contract with the African country, was interviewed on Friday and named after a meeting of the NFF board early Saturday.

Lagerbäck takes over from Shuaibu Amodu, who was sacked after Nigeria lost 1-0 to Ghana in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals last month.

He resigned from the Swedish team after failing to qualify Sweden for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa where Nigeria have been grouped with Argentina, Greece and South Korea.

Lagerbäck began work with the Sweden Football Association in 1990, concentrating on the the country's junior teams.

In 1996, he took over the Sweden B team and stayed there until 1998 when Tommy Söderberg took him on as assistant coach for Sweden.

In 2000, he was promoted to the position of joint-coach, a responsibility he would share with Söderberg until 2004.

Under his guidance, Sweden qualified for Euro 2000, but lost in the group stages. In 2002, he led Sweden to the World Cup, where they lost to Senegal.

Sweden then qualified for Euro 2004 reaching the quarterfinals where they lost to the Netherlands and two years later Lagerbäck took Sweden to their fourth consecutive championship, the first time in their history.

Story continues below…

Under Lagerbäck, Sweden also qualified for Euro 2008 where they were eliminated in the group stage after losing 2-0 to Russia.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:24 February 27, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Well, I just sent this in to our USA-Africa Dialogue Forum:

The good news is that we trust in the Almighty and the Swedish coach has got a lot of dynamism and flair as the raw materials out of which to fashion a team that is capable of winning the world cup. Let's hope that he can work wonders with our lads and transform their energy and savvy into something as spectacular and in the same class as the Russian coach who transformed the Cameroonian team which kicked off in the 1990 World Cup by putting the reigning world Champion Argentina in its place, with a 1-0 victory. However the Russia team was able to prevail 4-0 over the same Cameroonian team - and a lot of speculation remains as to why that was so.

Sadly, Sweden is out of the world cup and that's why Lägerback had to hand in his resignation ( otherwise it would have been interesting to see the quarterfinals between Nigeria and Sweden ( smile) and perhaps some divided loyalties as btwn Cameroon & Russia....

Personally - and I'm no pro - and it could be purely Diaspora sentiment - I would have thought that e.g. a Brazilian coach would be a little closer to our temperament. But what knoweth I, except that it's high time that Nigeria had a Nigerian national coach and stop forever depending on some Oyibo as the hogah of hogahs over the Nigerian national team.

Now please, someone - please don't accuse me of racism or racism in sport

It's the same kind of consciousness that wonders why the president of Nigeria has to receive treatment in Saudi Arabia instead of a first class cardiology unit in a hospital ina Nigeria.....

The answer to both queries is the same : in the case of the Swedish coach the answer is that irrespective of race , colour or creed we want nothing but tha best the best is always the best - ditto it is with medicine, doctors, presidents and hospitalisation - we can't afford to be too nationalistic about such issues - or can we?

Whatever the case, we wish victory - world cup victory for Nigeria of Africa.
14:12 February 27, 2010 by victzie
the only person tht will take this job is a jobless coach,since he could not take sweden to world cup,what magic will he do in nigeria.it time Nigerians should believe in their own people,sweden cannot call a nigerain man to come coach there national team.(NEVER)i rest my case
14:41 February 27, 2010 by krow
You guys should be happy that a swede is trying to perform american wonder for Nigeria. With Goodluck as your new president Lets hope that there will be luck on Lägerback side so that he does not get sack before the end of his tenure. Nigerians are impatient people.
16:01 February 27, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg

Should an African team win the World cup, what does that say about the English League? The French, German, Irish, Scottish, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, South American Leagues?

You cannot be too sure that Sweden will never have a Nigerian national to coach the Swedish national side. After Nigeria has won the world cup a couple of times, everything should be possible

When I worked as a Youth Leader at the Swedish Basketball Association in Alvik, in 1973, Sweden's national coach was Ali Strunke - from Czechoslovakia. I remember Egon Håkansson from that time when Basketball was being popularised at school level and in the league we had a crop of African American basketball heroes, among them Glenn Berry who

(Exactly the same height as me) used to call me Arthur Ashe - a compensatory compliment……

It shouldn't be too unreasonable that Nigeria take on a Chinese or Japanese coach - should Nigeria choose to adopt the penholder grip and switch to chopsticks for eating rice or gari…..whereas it would be more unnatural for Sweden with the handshake grip to take on a Chinese or Japanese national coach - after all we had the likes of Stellan Bengtsson as world champion at the age of fifteen……followed by great players like Ulf "Tickan" Carlsson, Jan-Ove Waldner, Mikael "the apple"Appelgren, Erik Lindh, Jörgen Persson and Peter Karlsson ....to name a few....

The Nigeria national football league also has to be developed - and the fear - the fear of Zambia becoming world champion as seemed possible after they thrashed Morocco - prior to their tragic plane crash of course - or of Cameroon in 1994 - and according to the Sports editor of The European" Cameroon won the 1994 world cup - they were cheated in so many glaring instances in such a dastardly way ( e.g against Chile) that I daresay that should I be the referee in the World Cup final between Nigeria and Germany - the whole world would know, who be me when in all truth I award my Nigeria brethren a penalty at the earliest possible convenience and I know that some German player or players would protest - at which point he'd get a yellow card and just a little further squeak from him and it'd be a red card. Perhaps by half time the German team would be reduced to about eight players after my red card awards. Of course I'd need to have an armed escort - not to get out of the Nelson Mandela stadium - but perhaps in some stadium in Rostock should I ever happen to get a job there, to referee a match between e.g. Ghana and Germany.

In the meantime, Israel cannot play in the Middle East and has to play in the European zone - the reason being that Arab countries (and Iran?) "Cannot guarantee the security of the Israeli players" should they play in their Arab Muslim territories….

Sad isn't it? Sad to have such anti Zionism, Anti-Semitism and racism in sports.
16:02 February 27, 2010 by summer
This is the worst thing that have happened to Nigeria football. just look at what they have landed. anyway anway
17:03 February 27, 2010 by Beavis
What a great manager!. Wonder if the odds on Nigeria being the first team to be knocked out. I thiought it would be the North Koreans, French or Italians but now this.. I think they would be better off with em pretty much anyone other than Lagercrap. Must be so dissapointing not to get decent coach, what with Hiddink about to leave Russia. What crackpot picked Lagercrap??

Re the political nonsesne in the above post, keep it out of football!. Of course a non Nigerian can do just as good as a Nigerian, if your agruements were correct your telling me South Korea woul have got were they were without Hiddink??

But in this case Nigeria would have been better with a former player/coach of ANY football team (even Hamarby!)
17:24 February 27, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg

Sadly, gone are the days of Jay Jay Okocha one of the best things to ever happen in Nigerian football. Check this out for the sake of sweet nostalgia:


Worst thing to have happened to Nigerian football? What's that? Nigeria's got the talent!

You won't be saying that should, God willing, Nigeria win the World Cup in South Africa.


C'mon man - Herr Lars Lägerback has accomplished quite a lot with the Swedish team - considering the material that he's been working with... Fact is that Sweden has some of the same problems that all countries that do not have a hugely successful ( lucrative) professional league have to contend with : namely that we sublet our talent to the English, Spanish, German, Italian leagues in exactly the same way that some African nations sublet their talents to far away places like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, where our lads may learn more of the teke-teke ( techniques) and tricks of the trade - and - so it seems lose some of the killer instincts of the tough guys back at home where it's still the survival of the fittest. What we saw of the African championships in Angola is not all that Africa's got to offer. Did you see Michael Essien for example? We didn't see him either because he probably had a tight professional schedule in his home club back in England.

Mr. Lägerback's personal motivation and goodwill for Nigeria and the Nigerian national soccer side must be tremendous. Just imagine if he could steer Nigeria to the final and to actually win THE WORLD CUP!!!! - the whole world will be at his feet - the memory of " Svennis" Sven-Göran Eriksson who is Swedish and was the national coach for England would soon be obliterated and everyone would be clamouring for the supreme Swedish coach Lars Lärgerback but who would be able to pay him ( the best) by then and how much would he be offered? How much would he be asking for? Would Sweden re-instate him or would he snub us and go where the real money is?

We shouldn't push this idea of national pride too far - England did not feel that it was national insult to have a Swede as their national coach - albeit he is as white a man as Bobby Charlton …. And even if the Swedes are a little closer to Scot-land than to Eng-land…..

Furthermore it would be good for Swedish business and for Sweden-Nigeria relations. WE are already best friends.
18:02 February 27, 2010 by Beavis
@Cornelius Hamelberg :

"Should an African team win the World cup, what does that say about the English League? The French, German, Irish, Scottish, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, South American Leagues?"

What on earth are you blabbering about, you obviously have very little knowledge of football??!

Putting the Irish league (ir Norn Iron) in the same category as the Spanish and English leagues! And youll find MOST of the Nigerian squad are European based, so it says absolutly nothing about those leagues if an African team were to win!

When Greece or Denmark won the euro championsip, what did that say about those leagues, NOTHING!!
19:19 February 27, 2010 by Sol
It is a pity that those in the helm of affairs in NFF can not use their senses. This is man that could not do well with the Swedish National team is appointed the Technical Adviser of Nigeria national team. He was beaten home and away by the Denish National team. What is wrong with Nigerians for christ sake. Good bye to good footballing at the world cup for Nigeria.

23:45 February 27, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg

Thanks for taking a shot at the question. Your attitude was one of many possible professional reactions. What you are saying is that whether an African team wins the world cup or not, most of the glory and fame will go to Europe anyway.

As you know and may be aware, Africa is always in a special category from Greece or Denmark.

Please, say that I'm wrong.

Is it true that most of the Nigerian national squad are playing in Europe, today?

Most of the other players representing Africa in the world cup - Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and South Africa too?

The other assumption is that the Africans who may be playing in Europe are Africa's best footballers and should be taken out to represent African national sides.

The truth is that this ain't necessarily so - and the same is true about music - some of the best of the Congo's guitarists are more or less studio musicians living in Paris and Brussels - but there are also some wicked cats living in Kinshasa and Brazza and elsewhere - that you've probably never heard about…

"you obviously have very little knowledge of football??!" … did you witness the match between Sweden and what was said to be a "jumbo lag"/" jumbo team" from Trinidad and Tobago, comprising mostly second and third division players from Merry England?

I'm not asking you which side you were on, but did you watch the match, yes or no…?
02:48 February 28, 2010 by Beavis
No you miss my point completely..

If an African team wins the world cup of course they will be the ones with the glory!

The best players from ANYWHERE will prefer to play in Europe, simply beacuse of one fact ...money.

Where do most of the Brazilian and Argentinian players play football? Apart from at home, they will play in Europe, simply as they are paid more money there.

Does Nigerias best player want to play for his local Nigerian team and get paid 500kr a week, or play in England and get 50 million a week? Which wold you choose?

How a national team does in a competeition is nothing to do with the quality of their home league. (The examples of Greece and Denamrk)

Yes I did watch the match between Trinidad and Tobago and Sweden, what has that got to do with anytghing? (Neither are in Africa)

The whole point is Largercrap is a bad manager and Nigeria could have done with a better one.

And IT DOES NOT MATTER WHERE HE IS FROM to be a good manager of any team.
10:49 February 28, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
• Algeria

• Argentina

• Australia

• Brazil

• Cameroon

• Chile

• Denmark

• England

• France

• Germany

• Ghana

• Greece

• Honduras

• Italy

• Ivory Coast

• Japan

• Korea DPR

• Korea Republic

• Mexico

• Netherlands

• New Zealand

• Nigeria

• Paraguay

• Portugal

• Serbia

• Slovakia

• Slovenia

• South Africa

• Spain

• Switzerland

• United States

• Uruguay


Sincere thanks for your clarifications Beavis;

You make your points so clearly. As I was told at dinner last night, money is the Golden Calf.

There's little to add to what you've said except, this interesting piece of gossip about which we are free to speculate - that the new Brazilian coach has no plans to include Ronaldinho in the Brazilian squad that wants to capture the world cup in South Africa.

And to bring it to your attention that Trinidad and Tobago is part of Africa (so is Haiti, Jahmaica- "the Reggae Boyz") and even Barbados.

Another correction: the bespectacled Ali Strunke (Swedish Basketball coach) was from Yugoslavia and not Czechoslovakia.

Lars Lägerback is not a bad manager. He has been the national coach for all of five years during which time he accomplished a lot:


You think that "North Koreans, French or Italians" would be the first to be knocked out - and now that Herr Lägerback has Nigeria under his wings (with the assistance of other Nigerian coaches) you think that Nigeria will join North Korea, France and Italy? You are prepared to put your money where your mouth is?

I think that North Korea is a dark horse and there's no telling what they can do - especially

Other questions for you, since I recognise you as a professional football enthusiast: Why is the honey (money) mostly in European football - is it because of the betting, football pools? Or is it political - football having replaced the gladiator scenes of Rome to keep the masses happy? Is it possible for e.g. the Nigerian league or the Zambian league to develop into a big time business - just like local breweries….?
12:12 February 28, 2010 by bolababu
@Cornelius Hamelberg, jeez man, are you trying to write a book? ..most of it makes no sense anyway.
13:02 February 28, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Make sense? Sense is what's supposed to be in your head anyway. What you make of it.

Trying? Why should I try to do that ?

No Beavis. just chatting as in Beavis & Butt-Head

What I said took less than one minute to say or read and just a few more to pencil up and you don't have to starin your brain to understand this or them.

Later today it's the Megillah - for now and I hope it doesn't take too much of anybody's time , this is what we're talking about:

15:38 February 28, 2010 by bravedave
So he fails to get the Swedish team to the wolr cup and gets a free ticket anyway? Good luck Nigeria you will need it!
20:14 February 28, 2010 by summer
take note of this. Nigeria is currently 15th in fifa ranking . this was done by a local coach, after five months, we will see the result. i think nigerian have cocahes that can take their players to world up. i can remember one of them named siasia who took them to Holland in 2005 if am right. it was there that chealse see what mikeal obi can do on football pitch. look at the last years concluded fifa tournamemt which was hosted in Nigeria. Did you see how the local coach perform?. the way he organise those young players was amazing. these guys were playing like arsnal. i think local coach can help Nigeria to go futher. they need some one who understand there style of play. we will see how nigeria will play swedish style of football.
22:46 February 28, 2010 by grantike
when i saw this post i never knew there will alot of comments here.am surprised that people are much instrested.on my own opinion any country can appoint anyone they want.nigeria went for lars maybe he is the one they can influence much one they can control.i dnt see how good he will be in short time last than ne month to prepare for the world cup.even england has a forign coach how much more about nigerian.

the only person tht will take this job is a jobless coach,since he could not take sweden to world cup,what magic will he do in nigeria.it time Nigerians should believe in their own people,sweden cannot call a nigerain man to come coach there national team.(NEVER)i rest my case

depends on what you mean by that.i know one guy ugo okoro used to be a very nice boxer at halmstad in the late 90"S now heard he is a local coach at a boxing club there in halmstad.he is full blown NIGERIAN.get it.anything can happen
08:08 March 1, 2010 by summer
offcourse many football lovers knows how good nigeria are in football. thats why it's attracting lots of comments here but anyway i wish him good luck in his job. we are going to see what will happen after 5 months. he have made a comment in one of the nigerian newspapers told saying the best of nigerian players are not in national team. i wish him what he wish himself
09:13 March 1, 2010 by adigunbabatunde@yahoo.com
Na wa oh:

this guy is just an average coach, I have not seen anything spectacular about his performance to deserve the Super Eagles.

Lars Lagerbeer

Made in Sweden

Bottled in Nigeria

Screwed [up] in South Africa.
16:00 March 1, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Na wa oh - sure and the battle has only just begun.

Don't forget that Sweden met Brazil in the world cup final in 1958....

Nice rime about Solomon Grundy but Lars Lägerback ain't him

There's nothing "average" about our Swedish coach who was the head coach for the Swedish national team - or about Sven Göran Eriksson - the Swedish coach who coached the England national side for a good many years.

So we ought to respect Nigeria's new coach and have confidence in him - the same kind of confidence that he has in his Nigerian players. It's said that five coaches were interviewed and Lars Lägerback got the job because of his abilities - naturally - and the encyclopedic knowledge he showed about each and every Nigerian player, at the interview.

Nigeria is in the world cup to win and that will not entirely depend on the Swedish coach but also the faith and confidence that the Super Eagles have in themselves - and the kind of support that we the fans will give them - and of course our prayers too. The good news is that Mr. Lägerback will be assisted by Nigerian coaches who know the team and the teams spirit and their assistance / close co-operation will be very valuable. So let's wish them the best of luck

The Super Eagles & Lars Lägerback:

19:14 March 1, 2010 by A SAFARI
Lägerback!!I hope he takes Nigeria to the "front"and not back like the name sounds:).If he decide to take them back ,let him take them back to US '94 .
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