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Shaibu Amodu was fired as coach of Nigeria on Saturday. ((Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images))

Nigerian national team coach Shaibu Amodu was fired Saturday in the wake of the team's disappointing performance in last month's African Cup of Nations, leaving the squad without leadership as the World Cup approaches.

Nigerian Football Federation spokesman Ademola Olajire said Amodu will not lead the team in South Africa in June, but will instead be relegated to coaching the country's "B" team.

"We believe the team has come to a key junction to decide whether we want to be viable," Olajire said. "We are looking for someone who will … drive this process professionally."

The federation said its shortlist of replacements includes Guus Hiddink, Ratomir Dujkovic, Louis van Gaal and Peter Taylor, and that the candidates will be interviewed by the end of the month.

Local newspapers had speculated that Amodu would be fired after sloppy passing and wild shots on the goal marred the Super Eagles' games during the African Cup of Nations in Angola last month.

The team finished third after beating Algeria 1-0, but many fans remained angry the team lost to neighbor Ghana in the semifinals.

Amodu previously led the team in the 1990s and as recently as 2002, when he was fired after Nigeria came in third in that year's African Cup of Nations. Nigeria last reached the final of the tournament in 2000.

Nigeria has drawn a difficult World Cup group with Argentina, Greece and South Korea, putting immediate pressure for improvement on whoever will lead the Super Eagles in South Africa.