Modern football is very dynamic. Coaches, players and all stakeholders follow the trend by updating their knowledge in the round leather game.
We are aware that over the years, the interesting game, which is number one sport in Nigeria, has witnessed many rules and regulation on and off the pitch.
Today, there is need to be well educated to be up to date in modern football especially as coaches and administrators.
Sunday, June 7 and Wednesday, June 10 marked four years after the demise of two iconic coaches in Nigeria – Stephen Keshi and Shaibu Amodu. The two of them played a key role in the development of the game in Nigeria. These coaches developed themselves to serve the country and achieved good results for the country.
Keshi died on June 7, 2016 and just three days later, Amodu also died. They both died in Benin. In fact, Amodu was at Keshi’s house on a condolence visit only to also follow on June 10, 2016.
No doubt, Keshi’s name cannot be forgotten in the history of Nigeria’s football. He was a big inspiration at club level with the defunct New Nigerian Bank of Benin. He earned 60 caps in the colours of the Super Eagles. He was the skipper who led the country to clinch the Nations Cup trophy in Tunisia in 2004 only to repeat that feat as a coach in 2013 in South Africa. He also played professional club football in five countries, most notably Belgium, where he won the Belgian league title.
Keshi was captain when the Eagles featured at the World Cup for the first time in 1994 and he was also in charge at the Brazil 2014 World Cup as head coach of the team. He also made his mark as national team coach of Togo and Mali. He qualified Togo for their only World Cup appearance but was fired before the Mundial.
His credentials speak volumes about his huge impact in Nigerian football even till date. In 2013, nobody gave him a chance with the blend of overseas-based players and home-based players taken to the AFCON but the team lifted the trophy beating highly rated Cote d’ Ivoire in the quarter-finals, Mali in the semis and Burkina Faso in the final.
Amodu was not a prominent national team player because injury cut short his career at club level. He was however very successful at club level winning the FA Cup with two different clubs – BCC Lions and El-Kanemi. He qualified Nigeria for the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and 2010 but sadly was never in charge of the team at the Mundial. Amodu had five spells with the Eagles and ranked as one of the best for the country till his death. He was also a former head coach of Orlando Pirates of South Africa.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in appreciation of his technical ability named him as the Technical Director and he was in that position until his death.
When people talk about the injection of home-based players into the senior national team, Keshi and Amodu will come to mind. At some point, they both handled the Eagles. Till date, coaches in the country are nowhere near the standard of the two great tacticians.
We make bold to say most of the current coaches wait on the state and national football federations to foot their bills for modern training to upgrade their knowledge in the game.
We hereby charge the current indigenous coaches to emulate Keshi and Amodu to bring honour to Nigeria.
Some of the coaches have made impact in the game also in the past.
In 1985, Sebastian Brodericks led a bunch of young Nigerian U-16 players to clinch the FIFA World Cup in China. That victory announced the country to the football world. It was since then the football community saw the talents inherent in Nigeria. It was also a big statement for the indigenous coaches.
After that feat some other coaches made waves for the country, especially at age-grade level. The late Yemi Tella, Manu Garba, Fanny Amun and Emmanuel Amuneke also won the FIFA U-17 title for Nigeria as coaches.
Tunde Disu and Samson Siasia made waves in the U-21 level. They both won silver medals at the world stage. Siasia stepped up to also win U-23 Olympic Games football event silver at Beijing in 2008 and bronze in Brazil in 2016.
Christian Chukwu and Chief Adegboye Onigbinde are other coaches who have made their names in the national scene. National coaches and interested former internationals should take time to evaluate the feats achieved by Keshi and Amodu, emulate them and work towards achieving better for themselves and the country.
The NFF should also look at a way to immortalise Keshi and Amodu to serve as a motivating factor for current coaches. Their names should be written in gold while there should be a good template for the current coaches to excel. They should also be encouraged to get better to enable them produce more super stars for the country.