Here is the breakdown of our conversation with one of our more revered young coaches in Nigeria:
Question: What made you decide to become a coach, and is coaching a fulltime job for you?
Answer: I have always loved the game and knew I was always going to be a part of it. I had a knee injury sometime in year 3 and I ended up coaching our class football team. It was an awesome experience and the Saints Fc has given me the platform to coach again. Coaching is not a full-time job as I have a regular 9-5 but it remains a passion.
Question: Seeing as grassroots football isn’t as profitable right now, how do you get money to run the team? E.g funds for purchasing equipment, getting training grounds, etc.
Answer: The team is owned by a group of friends passionate about football and most of the running cost comes from the board. Sponsorship and proceeds from merchandise sales also go a long way in running the club.
Question: Football or soccer, what do you call it?
Answer: It is football o!
Question: Being that there are hardly any leagues for the u-17’s and below as we have it in other top football nations, what do you think of the grassroots football structure in Nigeria, and how would you say Socialiga is helping to improve the standard of grassroots football in the country?
Answer: There is no grassroots football structure in Nigeria. There are a few competitions mainly run by private leagues which offer a glimmer of hope. SociaLiga is doing a good job of offering that platform to players.
Question: How will you describe your coaching style, and what top football managers do you look up to for inspiration?
Answer: I love counter-attacking football but I play to the strengths of my players and exploit the weaknesses in the opposition. I grew up watching the genius of Wenger and Sir Alex. I like what Klopp is doing and his ability to bring out the best in some of his players that could be considered ‘average’.
Question: If you were the President of the NFF, what will be the foremost decision or reform you would make?
Answer: Restructure Nigerian football to focus on grassroots and encourage the private sector to be active stakeholders in developing the sport. Football, if run properly has the potential to provide employment to a lot of Nigerians.
Question: What would you say are the struggles of a grass-root team in Nigeria?
Answer: Lack of facilities and also a lack of funds.
Question: What coaching badges do you have, or which ones are you looking to get?
Answer: I have no coaching badges yet. My knowledge of coaching is from watching the game, a lot of reading, coaching sites and YouTube. I hope to use my next vacation to get a CAF C license.
Question: We saw top European coaches teleconferencing with their players during the lockdown, how have you kept your team morale high in the middle of the global health crises we are currently undergoing?
Answer: We have a WhatsApp group where we keep in touch.
Head Coach Saints FC
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