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Improving Football Coaching in Nigeria

A football coach together with other members of a technical crew leads a team of football players by organising training sessions, designing play patterns, and determining the depth chart to direct the team’s performances on and off the pitch of play.

In Nigeria, indigenous coaches compete with foreign coaches to get jobs due to many factors and circumstances.

Currently, handlers of the Super Falcons and the Super Eagles are foreigners, Thomas Dernerby and Gernot Rohr.

Record showed that a Nigerian, Daniel Amobi Amadi Anyiam was the first indigenous coach of the national football team between 1954 and 1956 and later from 1964 to 1965.

Also, he was the first captain when the national football team was first composed seventy years ago.

Over the years, more foreign coaches have been at the helm of affairs of the nation’s national football teams compared to the indigenous coaches.

According to research, most Nigerian coaches are either without a single training to make them professional coaches or are half baked in the rudiments of being football coaches, thereby limiting them from securing coaching jobs or perform excellently well whenever they have the opportunity to handle football teams.

Despite the limitations, some indigenous coaches were able to handle the s national teams and won trophies and medals for Nigeria.

In developed countries, people who desire to take up football coaching jobs even for leisure must enroll and conclude a required course, to gain prerequisite knowledge needed to handle a football team.

Some football coaches equally bagged bachelor’s degree in sports coaching education, physical and health education as well as exercise and sports science to broaden their horizon in act of football coaching.

Also, most of them start by being assistant coaches before becoming full fledged coaches after years of garnering the necessary training and experience on the job.

Being a former footballer is not a prerequisite to being a football coach, but this is gradually becoming the norm in Nigeria.

Every former football player believes he can handle a club-side due to his experience as a footballer. They take up jobs they know they will not be able to handle as they are desperate to earn a living, whereas, playing the game is different from teaching the game.

To improve football coaching in Nigeria, officials with various football coaching licenses must undergo refresher courses, which should not be an annual or bi-annual ones, but atleast on quarterly basis.

These days, new techniques on football coaching are evolving and not acquiring them will continue to have adverse effects on the game of football.

Also, coaches at the grassroots in Nigeria must at least obtain a diploma in the art of coaching, to be at par with their contemporaries.

Well meaning Nigerians, corporate bodies and owners of football clubs should organise football coaching for grassroots coaches as the present economic situation of the country could make it difficult for the coaches to undergo regular refresher courses.

The technical department of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, should be more empowered to come up with more programmes for training of coaches.

The National Institute for Sports,NIS, needs to be more active to the mandate of pursuing the advancement of learning in specialized areas of sports development including management and conduct specialized professional coaching courses and research at various levels of sports.

In the words of a U.S. based football instructor, Dr. Terry Eguaoje, who is also the president of Football Coaches Association of Africa Nations, FCAAN, “only a good coach can make good players that form good teams”.

To this end, all stakeholders must rally round to develop football coaching in Nigeria, so that the country would not be relying on foreign coaches to handle the nation’s football clubs and national football teams.

Olaolu  Fawole

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