The former Super Eagles captain, Sunday Oliseh was unveiled in Abuja as the new coach of the Nigerian Senior Men’s Football team, two weeks after another former captain Stephen Keshi was sacked.
Oliseh who was the overwhelming favourite to be handed the role immediately stated out what his ‘modus operandi’ will be and this will come as a shock to many Nigerians. On his unveiling ceremony in Abuja, the new coach said he’s not coming as a messiah but as a coach who wants to serve and possibly give 150% service.
He also announced that no player outside of first division in Nigeria or elsewhere will play for the Super Eagles. While that may have been extreme, below is all you need to know about the former Super Eagles’ coach.
Sunday Ogochukwu Oliseh was born on September 14, 1974, in Abavo, Delta State. The Nigerian football manager and former player played as a midfielder during his active playing career. Growing up in Lagos, Oliseh has been a passionate footballer from childhood.
Oliseh disclosed that his love for football did not interfere with his studies as he graduated as one of the top three students in his class. He combined schooling with his football career before he ending up playing in the world cup games.
Sunday Oliseh’s career in football began in the early 1990s. He played for the Nigerian team during which they won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. While combining schooling with his football career, he was invited by a Belgian football agent for trials. To the surprise of this agent, Oliseh was signed into RFC Liege’s first team on the spot. After playing with FC Liege for four years, Oliseh transferred to other clubs such as AC Reggiana, Ajax, Juventus and KRC Genk Belgium. Thus, he has played 54 international matches and played in two world cups (1994 and 1998).
Recall his incredulous thunderbolt goal in the group stage match between Nigeria and Spain in the 1998 World Cup that led Nigeria’s victory? The shot was described as explosive since it was fired from 25 yards straight into the net, to the astonishment of the Spanish goalkeeper.
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After his retirement from playing, Oliseh took a three-year course in coaching and a Diploma in Business Management, in order to take on a career in coaching.
Super Sports football analyst, Charles Anazodo described Sunday as “a very focused, smart and thorough person who understands the game of football very well,” who has “a clearer understanding having played the game.”
His love for academic excellence has guided him through a journey from footballer to analyst and professional coach in Europe. Oliseh was the manager of Fortuna Sittard until February 14, 2018, when he was fired. He claimed the reason was due to his refusal to participate in illegal activities at the club. So far, he has received the Award for Best Coach in the Dutch Jupiler League in 2017.
Sunday Oliseh’s Wife
Oliseh got married to his beautiful Belgian Moroccan wife, Hafidah shortly after the 1994 national world cup. The couple has been married for decades and has two lovely kids: son Denzel and a daughter.
Having kept much of his private life out of the public, little is known about Oliseh and his wife. It is not clear exactly when the couple met and got married, but there are several photos of their wedding day on the internet.
15 Facts to know about Sunday Oliseh
1. Oliseh played 54 international matches and scored two goals for Nigeria.
2. He played at the Football World Cups of 1994 and 1998.
3. Oliseh also participated in the Olympic gold medal-winning team of 1996.
4. He is mostly remembered for scoring the winning goal in the group stage match against Spain in the 1998 World Cup, as Nigeria prevailed 3–2. A throw-in deep in the Spanish half was headed clear by a defender. Oliseh ran and fired an explosive shot from 25 yards and took Spanish goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta completely by surprise.
5. Despite captaining Nigeria during the 2002 African Cup of Nations, Oliseh was omitted from the World Cup squad later that year for disciplinary reasons.
6. Oliseh retired from international football in June 2006, at age 31 and took a three-year course in coaching and a Diploma in Business Management.
7. He is arrogantly over-confident. He has rejected calls in the past to come and lend his expertise to Nigerian football as an assistant coach.
8. In March 2004, Oliseh was sacked by Borussia Dortmund after punching team-mate Vahid Hashemian while on loan at VfL Bochum.
9. In January 2006, at the age of 31, Oliseh retired from professional football after playing a half season for Belgian top club K.R.C. Genk.
10. In 2007, he was appointed the Sports Director of K.A.S. Eupen – a Belgian association football club based in the city of Eupen in the German-speaking Community of Belgium, in the province of Liège.
11. Between 2008 and 2009, he worked as a team manager for R.C.S. Verviétois, another Belgian association football club from the municipality of Verviers, Liège.
12. In 2013, he was appointed into the Technical Study Group of world’s football governing body, FIFA.
13. Sunday Oliseh is the fifth player in the 1994 class to handle the senior national team after Austin Eguavoen, Samson Siasia, Daniel Amokachi and Keshi.
14. Sunday Oliseh will be assisted by a Belgian technical adviser, Jean Francois Losciuto.
15. In the course of his football career, Oliseh has learned other languages and today, he speaks three foreign languages; Dutch, French and Italian.