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Youth teams hold key to Nigeria’s football rebirth, says Uwejamomore

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His youthful looks conflicts with the huge insight he has of modern football. When you listen to Eboboritse Uwejamomore, you will come out with the feeling that the young man is destined for the top of the coaching profession, which he has embraced so early in life.

Uwejamomore is a 24-year-old UK trained coach, who already has the UEFA B licence. And like so many of the famous gaffers, the Delta State-born budding trainer wants to start at the junior, specifically with the national U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets.

Uwejamomore, who recently applied to be considered for the national cadet job, told The Guardian from is UK base last week that the experience he has acquired from grooming young talented players over the years would come handy if he is giving the job. His target is the domestic scene, where he hopes to traverse in search of young talented stars for the U-17 national team of Nigerians’ dream.

Uwejamomore currently trains a national amateur side, Nilayo FC of Abeokuta, which he has transformed into one of the toughest sides in Ogun State.

Explaining his vision for Nigerian football, Uwejamomore said he would ensure that only eligible players made the national U-17 team if given the chance, adding that Nigerian youth football should be managed in such a way that cadet players grow to become international super stars within a given time frame.

“I left Nigeria at a tender age to school in UK. I hold dual citizenship, but my heart is with Nigeria and I hope to contribute to make the country great in football.

“ I developed the coaching programme for NIlayo FC and the team has been doing well and so, coaching the Golden Eaglets will not be a problem to me.

“The structure of getting players is already there, but many people do not know this.

“There is an U-23 and U-15 set up, which has been spearheaded by NFF First Vice President, Seyi Akinwumi. This current NFF programme that has players scattered across the country can supply 70 per cent of players needed for the cadet team.

“We can leave some room for players who may not be captured under the programme, but are eligible to play in the team,” he said.
Uwejamomore, who revealed that he has an English FA level two qualification in scouting and talent identification, said his age would also give him the advantage while relating with the U-17 players. “I can understand their issues in education and social aspect and work things out with them to make them better footballers,” he said

Uwejamomere is an advocate of grassroots football development, who believes that Nigerian football can regain its lost glory if due attention is given to the foundational development of the game.

“Without doubt, the likes of Wilfred Ndidi, Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze and Kelechi Iheanacho are currently big players in Europe.

“Ndidi is one of the best defensive midfielders currently in the English Premier League, while Osimhen is also one of the best strikers in world football at this point.

These players played their early football in Nigeria before they were transferred abroad. So the talents are definitely in Nigeria.

“We just have to continue helping these young stars at the grassroots to develop and hone their skills.”He commends Gernot Rohr and NFF president, Amaju Pinnick for given Nigeria’s young players the opportunity to play for the Super Eagles, adding that that approach has re-energised the senior national team.

He believes, however, that “the fastest way to get quality players from the grassroots is for the NFF to appoint scouts in South East, South West, North East and all the geopolitical zones of Nigeria to discover talents from these regions.”

According to Uwejamomore, such discovered players should then be sent to be part of the youth teams of Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs to sharpen their skills.

“If a coach wants to get a player from any of the national teams, he will not have to look too far for his materials. Players from MFM, Enyimba, Kano Pillars, Rivers United, Rangers, Plateau United and Lobi Stars, among other clubs, can form a formidable U-17 national team.
“The NFF can even organize a youth league featuring these teams and other academies to expose these young players to competitive football.”


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