The Nigeria Football Federation’s Technical Director, Tom Saintfiet, has pledged to work with Nigerian technical assistants.
Saintfiet spoke in a telephone interview on Tuesday from Europe, courtesy of Otunba Gbenga Omole, a Nigerian pal of the Belgian, who opened the channel.
Saintfiet debunked stories making the rounds in the mass media that he was coming to work with foreign assistants.
When asked about the foreign assistants issue, he expressed surprise, saying: “I never made any demands from the NFF over who will be my assistants.
“Let me also quickly state that my job as Technical Director does not need foreign assistants.
“My role is developmental.
“I want to make contribution to the growth and development of our coaches and football in Nigeria.
“I want to reach out to the grassroots and develop the local talents that the country has.
“I want to open the path to new horizons of training and development for our coaches and players.
“This role needs local people, especially some of the former international players, who know the Nigerian terrain very well and who will hold my hands and show me the roads in the land.
“I do not need assistants from Europe to do that.
“I am very keen to work in Nigeria because of the passion I have for African football.
“I have a lot of Nigerian friends.
“I have been learning Nigerian languages of Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba.
“I believe working with those knowledgeable about Nigeria will help me meet a personal target that Africa can produce world champions and I want to unearth those world champions from the corners of Nigeria.
“Nigeria is one big land where when we are through with these plans I have at the back of my mind, will become the biggest factory to engage the youths.
“There are too many talents here.”
To show his readiness for the job, he said: “I have a database and dossier of every Nigerian footballers in all parts of the world.
“And I believe that Nigeria should be in the top 10 of world football, given the talent that the country has.
“Just give us some confidence and a little more time.”
Asked if he appreciates the task before him, he said: “I do. I’ve done my research.
“This is one nation that will make me meet personal targets while working for my adopted nation.
“I am thinking like a Nigerian now.
“I want to make Nigeria one of the greatest football nations in the world.
“This is why I aspired to come to Nigeria.
“And I am looking forward to the challenge, when finally, I arrive in Abuja to start work.”