Ex-Nigeria coach Samson Siasia vows to bounce back

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport, Lagos
Former Nigeria coach Samson Siasia
Former Nigeria coach Samson Siasia says he will use a spell in India to bounce back

Ex-Nigeria coach Samson Siasia has vowed to return stronger from his managerial setbacks with the West African side.

Siasia was sacked in October 2011 after the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 1986.

He was a popular choice after he guided Nigeria to the final of the 2005 Fifa Under-20 World Cup in the Netherlands and then the final of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

But he fell out of favour after his team could only draw 2-2 with Guinea, in a match Nigeria needed to win to qualify for the Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

"As a former player and coach, I'm terribly sad that Nigeria is not playing at the Cup of Nations, [but] I guess that absence explains why I no longer have a job," Siasia told the BBC.

"I've learned a lot from that experience and hopefully I'll take the lessons from that into my future endeavours.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm sorry for letting the fans and country down.

"There is no bitterness towards those in charge at the NFF [Nigeria Football Federation], there is no point being bitter, but rather just look ahead."

Reminded of his tainted CV after failures with Nigerian side Heartland and the Nigeria Under-20 side, the Flying Eagles in 2009, Siasia was quick to reject the word "failure".

"I don't think so, it was not a failure," he said.

"I think I'm on the right path to a comeback and it will happen soon.

"I remain the only coach to have handled Nigeria at all levels in three years, it's not an easy thing to do but lessons have been learned.

"I don't think it's fair to say I failed."

In January, Siasia was one of five foreign managers auctioned off, as India announced a newly-formed Premier League Soccer (PLS) tournament.

Signed up by Durgapur FC, the former Super Eagle is confident he can use his spell in India as a springboard to greater things.

"India is the next stop and I know it's a step toward good things. I have confidence in my own ability," said the 44-year-old.

"It's going to be a short-term programme, an opportunity to contribute to the development of their league in India.

"Importantly, all the people involved need to contribute positively within the given period."