After blissful playing career, Ishola Shuaibu eyes Super Eagles job
One of the most prolific strikers to emerge from the Nigerian domestic league, Ishola Shuaibu, says his dream is to coach the senior national team, the Super Eagles, very soon.
Shuaibu was one of the most sought after players in his playing days, traversing the length and breadth of the country and the continent with his skills.
From his youthful days at Iyayi Babes in Benin City, Shuaibu was a delight of the fans, scoring beautiful goals. He emerged the best player with 11 league goals at Iyayi Babes.
From Iyayi Babes, he moved to Sharks FC of Port Harcourt, where he netted seven goals in his first season, and thereafter, to Eagles Cement, also of Port Harcourt. It was at Eagles Cement that Shuaibu’s goals scoring prowess came to limelight.
With 10 goals within a short period, Shuaibu caught the attention of big spenders, Julius Berger FC. He spent five seasons with the Bridge Boys, scoring 31 goals.
Apart from winning the Nigerian Premier League with Julius Berger, Shuaibu also led the construction giants to victory in the prestigious Challenge Cup. He was also part of Julius Berger’s squad to the then African Cup of Champions competition on two occasions, where they were runners up in 2000 and 2004.
Shuaibu’s exploits in the African Cup of Champions Cup drew the attention of African Sport of Cote d’Ivoire, which didn’t hesitate in recruiting him.
In Cote d’Ivoire, the young Shuaibu scored 12 goals to emerge the best player in the 2004/2005 football season. He later moved to Sfaxien FC of Tunisia, where he netted nine goals in the 2006/2007 season.
Shuaibu, whose father hails from Oyo State and mother from Warri, Delta State, led the Tunisian club to the runners up in the CAF Champions League. He returned to Nigeria to play for Sunshine Stars of Akure for three months before moving to Hapoel Bnei Lod of Israel.
At the national team level, he featured briefly for the Flying Eagles before the Serbian, Bora Milutinovic, invited him to the Super Eagles, where he earned 25 caps.
He told The Guardian at Remo Stars’ camp in Ikenne, last weekend, after he was issued a certificate alongside other coaches that took part in a three-day coaching course, that his dream is to coach the Super Eagles one day and win laurels for the country.
“The late coach Solomon Ogbeide advised me to go into coaching,” Shuaibu said. “He told me that I have the quality to coach at a big team and that was what motivated me to start my coaching career at the National Institute for Sports (NIS) in Lagos.”
He also spoke on his journey into football: “I started playing football from my secondary school days at Dore Numa College, Warri, at the age of 15. I attended the same school with Wilson Oruma. I played for Frangers FC of Warri.
He said his best football playing moment was at Julius Berger of Lagos in 1998.
“I played in two Champions League competitions, and we finished runners up in the last one, which we lost to Etoile Sportive du Sahel of Tunisia. Then, Austin Ejide was their goalkeeper, and we lost 3-2 on aggregate.”