Nigeria has been, perhaps, the world's most dominant team in youth football, particularly at the U17 level. In the last decade alone, Nigeria has won two U17 World Cups and placed second once in a total of four competitions! That is unmatched by any other country in the world. Though Nigeria has also played well at the U20 level, its dominance has been restricted to the continental level. At the U23 level, Nigeria has placed second in one of two Olympic games in the decade. It is clear from the above results that Nigeria is a dominant force in global youth soccer.
In this piece, we compare coaches who have managed Nigerian national youth teams during the decade (2006 till date) at three levels - U17, U20, and U23. It is important to interpret the data with caution because results prior to 2006 are not included and this affects efficiency scores of some of the coaches included in the data. For instance, at the U20 level, Siasia's excellent results with the team prior to 2006 are not included. Same applies to Godwin Uwua's results with the team prior to the investigated period. Additionally, we have not included coaches who coached in less than five games against international youth teams (e.g. Alphonsus Dike, Henry Nwosu, and Monday Odigie). We compare ONLY eligible coaches in terms of their records against other national age-grade teams and then their efficiency score. Note that efficiency score is calculated based on hypothetical points obtained (3 for a win, 1 for a draw) as fraction or percentage of total points possible. For instance, if a coach plays four games (Total points possible: 4 x 3 points = 12) and won two and tied one (hyothetical points obtained: 2 x 3 + 1 point = 7) then the efficiency score is 7/12 = 0.58.
There is little doubt that the late Yemi Tella and Manu Garba are Nigeria's most efficient coaches at this level. Tella wins the efficiency battle over Manu by just .01! Both coaches won the World U17 Cups for the country but Tella did one better by also winning the Africa U17 whereas Manu won second place at the Africa U17. John Obuh did not coach in an African U17 but finished second when Nigeria hosted the World U17 World Cup in 2009. In terms of goals per game, Manu's team has no rival with a rate of 3.8 goals per game.
Here, the massive efficiency scores that we saw at the U17 level are dimmed at the U20 level and this, perhaps, reflects the fact that Nigeria has been less successful at the U20 level. Nigeria has never won the U20 World Cup. Nevertheless, Manu Garba's current efficiency score of .72 leads the rest of the coaches. He has already won the African U20 Championship and will lead one of the favorite teams at the U20 World Cup in the summer of 2015. One of Nigeria's most popular coaches, Samson Siasia, obtains the lowest efficiency score at this level following his disastrous campaign in 2009.
Here, because of the infrequency of competition at the U23 level, we are only able to compare two coaches -- Samson Siasia and Augustine Eguavoen. Siasia clearly obtains the better efficiency score by a large margin of .20! Siasia has placed second at the Olympics with the U23 team.