A Promise, a Gift and a Daddy have been bringing smiles to fans throughout the FIFA World Youth Championship. They are among the fascinating first names of Nigerian players who helped take the African nation to the brink of unprecedented glory at Netherlands 2005 and, together with a Monday, a pair of Kolas and many more, they could soon become commonplace on team sheets all over Europe. Anticipating huge demand for their wondrous signatures, FIFA.com asked Flying Eagles coach and footballing globetrotter Samson Siasia what advice he gives to his starry-eyed boys.

"I try to be a guardian figure to them. I want to know they are going to the right club, and I ask them what plans they have for the player, what their intentions are, how they will help the player to adapt and improve and the things they will provide. I went to Belgium (Lokeren, when leaving Africa for the first time) but at least I was with another player which helped things," said Siasia, whose 18-year playing career would also take him to France, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Israel.

"It can be very difficult if you first go to a land that doesn't speak English. If you are signed alone, you are isolated. They (clubs) need to create an avenue for the player to talk to someone if he is down. A player's manager should be able to take care of the player, talk to the boy when he is down and not playing well."
Siasia, who famously put the Super Eagles ahead against Argentina at the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA™, is a success story but there have been hundreds of Nigerians, indeed Africans who have not been able to cope with the change of environment from an often poverty stricken existence to the riches and apparent splendour of European life.

"I tell my boys I have played in Europe and you make your life better if you improve on what you're doing," he says. "A footballer has to be serious and disciplined. If you go to Europe it's not necessarily the big clubs that will come in for you. It might well be a smaller club but that would be a start. Sometimes players have to wait for their chance and get used to the new environment, the language, the food, the weather and an unfamiliar style of play before progressing." 

Fast friends?
The concept of money is often foreign to many young African players so when wealth is suddenly presented to them it can often lead to bad decisions while attracting the wrong company.

"When signing a deal, money is not everything I say," he adds. "Money makes the world go round but you have to have your sanity too. And if you have a lot of money, you have to take care of your family and then some friends…

"I advise players to save, not to buy flashy cars. A footballer's life is a precarious business and you can easily break a leg. Players need to put aside money for a rainy day, for a pension. It's difficult to explain these things to a young man who has no training of financial conservatism. It's like telling a little kid not to eat all the sweets at once."

There are just two Nigerians, Taye Taiwo (Marseille) and Solomon Okoronkwo (Hertha Berlin) currently playing in Europe's top leagues but after impressing greatly in the Netherlands many more can be expected to grace foreign fields in the years to come. Once Saturday's final is over, perhaps even before it, furious activity will take place featuring scouts, agents, representatives, fathers and brothers to strike the best deal.

"There are a lot of funny people in the world," Siasia concludes. "It doesn't take a week to close a deal if you really want a player for example. There is no need to beat about the bush."

With the publicity drummed up in reaching the final, Nigeria's players can expect to be bombarded with calls in the days after the tournament. 

And while many would advocate buying a mobile phone first, the best advice could well be that of their coach - to invest in a trusted legal representative.