At global stage, there are top rated tacticians tagged ‘Grade A’ coaches who are trusted by many to guarantee good results for teams and national team levels. The criteria to join the league of these top coaches are number of laurels won at club or national team levels.
Many of these coaches have won league titles in top European nations, World Cup, European Cup and Champions League. In this category, 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.
Others who made name in top national teams are Luis Van Gal of Holland, Franz Beckenbauer of Germany, Didier Dechamps of France, Mario Zagallo of Brazil, Vittorio Pozzo of Italy, Vecente Del Bosque of Spain, Joachim Löw of Germany and Marcelo Lippi of Italy. Coaches have come and gone in the history of football in Nigeria.
Stephen Keshi and Amodu Shaibu are both dead, but 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. Coaches Fanny Amun, Emmanuel Amuneke, Yemi Tella (late) 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 Nigerians make huge impact abroad.
Victor Osimhen, Winfred Ndidi, Moses Simon, Kenneth Omeruo, Samuel Chukwueze and Odion Ighalo are some of such players. Like many other Nigerians, we receive with great joy the news of former Julius Berger goalkeeper, Ndubuisi Egbo, who emerged the first Nigerian and African to lead a European club to a top tier domestic title.
With two 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 ticket to feature in the UEFA Champions League.
We believe this is a remark-able feat and first of its kind in Africa. We congratulate Egbo because he has made a big statement for all black coaches all over the world.
Getting coaches to top notch level is important to boost the development of the game. 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.
We acknowledge the role of administrators in creating the enabling environment for the development of sports to flourish. More importantly, coaches hold the ace in the transition of players from one stage to the other, development and blending of the top players to get the results expected to make people happy.
We are aware this is why coaches are always blamed for any failure in their teams while they also get the praises for the successes recorded by the teams.
We make bold to say that Albania may not be a highly rated league, but to guide a team to emerge champions is a huge feat and it is also an indication that other top African and black coaches all over the world can achieve similar result if given the chance to prove themselves.
On the feat achieved, Egbo said: “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 enough to inspire other top coaches to attain success in their respective endeavours.
The time is ripe to focus more on the National Institute of Sports to be a better place for the development of Nigerian coaches. Once again, we congratulate Egbo and believe we have more Nigerian tacticians with such abilities within and outside the country.