Football development takes various forms in every society. It requires good planning to bring all aspects of the development together to get the desired result and ensure the country is able to compete continentally and globally. It is important to catch the talents young from the grassroots across the country and nurture them to stardom. The transition and development of these players in their teen years remain very crucial and the job rests squarely on the coaches to achieve this. It is also important to acknowledge the role of the administrators in creating the enabling environment for the development of sports to flourish. More importantly, coaches hold the key in the transition, development and blending of the top players to get the results expected to make people happy.
This informs why coaches are always blamed for any failure in their teams while they also get the praises for the successes recorded by teams. In world football, coaches like Pep Guardiola of Man City, Jose Mourinho of Tottenham, Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool, Antonio Conte of Inter Milan, Carlo Ancelotti of Everton and Masimiliano Allegri who is currently unattached are some of the top tacticians others look up to. Coaches have come and gone in the history of football in Nigeria. Stephen Keshi and Amodu Shaibu are both dead. They made huge impact in the country’s football before their demise.
Keshi took Nigeria to the World Cup in 2014 while Amodu qualified Nigeria also for the 2010 World Cup. Christian Chukwu, Joe Erico, Tunde Disu, Adeboye Onigbinde and Bitrus Bewarang are other top coaches in the country. Coach Fanny Amun, Emmanuel Amuneke, late Yemi Tella and Manu Garba at different times won the U-17 World Cup for the country’s cadet team. Overall, a number of foreign coaches at one time or the other have been in charge of the senior national team with few of them recording successes like World Cup ticket, Nations Cup win and Olympic gold medal. In recent times, Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George and Amuneke are some of the current young coaches making waves abroad.
It is always a thing of joy when Nigerian players make huge impact abroad. Victor Osimhen, Winfred Ndidi, Moses Simon, Kenneth Omeruo, Samuel Chukwueze and Odion Ighalo are some of such players. And so, it was a great thing of joy that former Julius Berger goalkeeper, Ndubuisi Egbo, emerged the first Nigerian and African to lead a European club to a top tier domestic title. With three matches left in the Albanian top flight, KF Tirana FC coached by the former Nigeria goalkeeper has an unassailable lead and thus guaranteed the title and also won a ticke t to feature in the UEFA Champions League.
This is a remarkable feat and first of its kind in Africa. Egbo deserves huge praise because he has made a big statement for all black coaches all over the world. Albania may not be a big league but to guide a team to emerge champions is a huge feat and it also means any of the top African and black coaches all over the world can achieve similar result if given the opportunity. “In December 2019, the head coach was fired due to poor results, I took over the team. We were in the eighth position with 10 teams playing in the league.
That meant we were going to play in the playoffs if things remained the same way, but I won three straight matches allowing the management to give me the opportunity to continue as the head coach. That is the story and now, in 23 games, I’ve won 20 matches. We only lost two, drew one.
I give God the glory. It is a feat for all Nigerians and the black race.” NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, and other notable football people have congratulated Egbo on his performance. It is however expected that more talented coaches in Nigeria and Africa deserve to be given a chance within and outside the continent.
Pinnick and other people congratulating Egbo should also be bold enough to give African coaches the enabling environment to excel in their job. It is also important for coaches in Africa to update their knowledge and go for the UEFA pro License certificate which many top coaches have abroad. Egbo’s feat is also enough to inspire other top coaches to attain success in their respective endeavours.