We need to change philosophy of our coaches, says Adegoke


• ‘I don’t know why everyone thinks he or she can coach the national team’

As the debate continues over a declaration by the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, that indigenous coaches would no longer be entrusted to handle the Super Eagles, a member of the then Green Eagles, Adelabu Adegoke, has said that there is urgent need to revisit ‘our coaching and human resources management philosophy’ for the nation’s football to have a sense of direction.

“If we do not have one, this is an opportunity for me and other well-meaning sport scientists to address it,” Adegoke said in a message to The Guardian yesterday.

Pinnick’s pronouncement a few days after former Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh resigned had received series of condemnation from several quarters, especially coaches who feel the NFF boss had not done his work properly.

But Adegoke, who played for the then Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan in the 1980s, is of the opinion that some of those who parade themselves as national team coaches do not have the required tools to succeed with the job.

“What we do with our coaches and management crew is the same thing we did against soldier that were sent to fight Boko Haram with insufficient equipment, logistics and mental strength,” he said. “The NFF should know that we have no sufficient coaches with high level of scientific approach to the game at the global level. Not because they cannot attain to that level, but we never considered it imperative as a nation to prepare them for high-performance tactical war in sport. Our culture of winning at all cost (I am sure of what am saying), makes it difficult for one to use our league results as a criteria to evaluate the performance of our coaches.

“I worked with many foreign coaches as well as indigenous coaches and I have a comprehensive knowledge of the ex-internationals who are now coaches and I think if we can put aside all these extravagant ideas of measuring ourselves with the Europeans, it will be easy for us to develop at our own pace,” he stated.

Speaking further, Adegoke, a Sports Scientist and former coach/manager of Eko United FC said: “We need a robust in-house transitional coaching programme that will help our coaches in preparation for high-level performance at the national level no matter the certificate they have. It must be a compulsory course.

“I really appreciate the fact that the NFF employs indigenous coaches, but a lot of corrections and re-education have to be done in some critical areas such as attitude to life, communication, personality and organisational strategy, which are fundamental to high impact performance.

“This is a foundational problem in our soccer system which no one is paying attention to until it becomes an issue at the national level. Majority of our players are just kicking the round object daily without any idea of how to prioritize their lives so that life will not kick them around later.” he stated.

Adegoke also has words for the NFF saying: “No foreign coach can succeed under negative motivational climate that we usually ask our coaches to perform. Yet many of our coaches have succeeded to my surprise. The best way to develop our football is not just to win competitions once in a while without being able to account for our performance.

“We have to continue to employ the indigenous coaches as a way of developing them. Also, I do not know why everyone thinks he or she can coach the national team. It is because there is no sound technical and cognitive method of testing their competences in all areas of football during interview.

“The NFF should allow people to fight for the job rather than appointing coaches through the back door. No Indigenous coach should bring an outsider as assistant. We need a sound technical team with competent sport scientists as the engine room to help the coach and proffer solutions to personal and tactical problems of the players so that the coach can concentrate on other issues. The NFF should do something about this with immediate effect. This is the time for Shuaibu Amodu to be empowered to set up a formidable technical team, not democratically elected ‘fokes’ who will hold the NFF and the nation to ransom,” Adegoke added.

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