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Local coaches good enough to handle Eagles, Abd’Allah declares


Enyimba International Football Club of Aba’s coach, Usman Abdallah. PHOTO: YouTube

Enyimba International Football Club of Aba’s coach, Usman Abdallah, has expressed confidence in indigenous coaches, saying with proper motivation, they will produce better results than the foreign coaches the country has always relied on to tinker the Super Eagles.

At the just-concluded Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), which Algeria won by defeating Senegal (1-0); indigenous coaches coached the two finalists. Algeria had Djamel Belmadi and Senegal Aliou Cisse. French-German, Gernot Rohr, and French Alain Giresse coached Nigeria and Tunisia that played in the losers final.

Speaking to The Guardian yesterday on the need to look inward for football managers just like other countries in Africa are now doing, Abd’Allah said the reason the country’s football governing body has refused to give local managers opportunity is because of the sentiment that foreign managers will produce better results.


“Just recently in Paris, I had this discussion with some people in the final of the Nations Cup in Egypt and one success I picked out from it was that the local coaches did extremely well. The winner and runners-up were both handled by their indigenous coaches.

“And I think it is time we showed respect to our coaches. Back inside our heads, we have this respect for foreign things. This thing is not only limited to us in Nigeria but also some other African countries where we see foreign things better than what we have,” he said.

The former junior international, who has a France UEFA B Licence Certificate, UEFA A Licence in England, done courses in CAF, coached in Asia and France, and also obtained degrees in football coaching, team management at Le CREPS de Montpellier in France, where he got the equivalent of the UEFA C, B, and A certificates, said successes of Keshi and now, the Algerian coach, means if accorded the same support, local coaches would do better.

“I look at these foreign coaches, no matter what we ascribe to them as their achievements, we’ve had several local coaches who have won the Nations Cup for their countries. The likes of the late Coach Stephen Keshi and now the Algerian coach did it for their countries.

“When it comes to the certificate, most of the foreign coaches that were at the Nations Cup were my juniors. I had finished my course before some of them came for the same coaching course that I did and they respect me a lot. Yet, we are not even been considered for the job.

“I coached some clubs back in Europe before I returned to Nigeria, thereafter, I was able to break into the limelight because I came from Europe. And I guess one of the reasons why I had the privilege to even coach a big team like Enyimba was as a result of my coaching experience in Europe. Whereas there are coaches in the country that have been there for more than 10 years waiting to be given the opportunity to handle Enyimba of Aba, which they never had.

“What are they ‘oyinbos’ doing that we too can’t also do here? It is just for the football federation to give us that respect, pay us as much as they pay the foreign coaches and other assistance and see if we will not deliver as they expected,” he stated.

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