Ndubuisi Egbo Living His Dreams in Albania

first_img“I was happy we emerged champions of the league. I wasn’t following the statistics; it was when people were talking about it that I realised the enormity of what we have achieved.“When I took over, I had people praying for me and we had prophetic declarations that we were going to be champions. That was our major objective and not the Albanian Cup, but if we win, it will be double joy.“On the Champions League next year. It is the dream every fan, player and coach for their club to play in Europe. The Stadium atmosphere is electric, the fans, the melodious anthem. We are not going there only to enjoy the anthem but to win and reach the group stages,” Egbo who took over reigns of the Tirana when they were down to the 8th position said.In a chat with THISDAY via telephone, former Julius Berger safe hand, Christian Obi, hailed Egbo for this rare achievement, while calling on him to work harder to sustain his feat.“Egbo joined Julius Berger after I had left the club, but I knew him to be a hardworking and serious-minded person, therefore, what he achieved never came to me as much of a surprise. There is no doubt about the fact that he has made a big mark by doing the unthinkable in faraway Albania, which will go a long way in helping Nigerian coaches to be reckoned with even outside the shores of the country,” Obi said.The 2005 World Youth Championship bronze medalist, said Egbo’s achievement was a victory for Nigerian coaches.“He is a pride to Nigerian coaches all over the world and it is high time Nigeria Football Federation starts looking inwards in their choice for national team coaches, there are many Egbos in Nigeria and abroad,” the former Heartland of Owerri goalkeeper trainer said.Obi, however, charged Egbo to be ready to work harder as he was now a goldfish with no hiding place.“Getting to the top is one thing, but sustaining it is another. He should, therefore, be ready to put in extra effort to sustain his achievement as all eyes are now on him,” he noted.For proponents of home-grown coaches to take charge of the senior national team, Egbo’s feat with KF Tirana is just a justification for what they have been clamouring for- a Nigerian coach to be in charge of the Super Eagles.Indeed, former national team captain, Segun Odegbami is of the opinion that some former Super Eagles players were better qualified to coach the national team than the current handler, Gernot Rohr.According to the man fondly called ‘Mathematical Odegbami’ in his days, former Eagles stars like Finidi George and Emmanuel Amuneke were more qualified for the national team’s job than the Franco-German tactician.“I don’t think any white coach should come and coach us anymore, not after the generation of Stephen Keshi, Sunday Oliseh, Jay Jay Okocha who played at every level.“If they can get the basic qualification which is not essential in my own estimation, but people insist that they must have it, they are qualified. Finidi George and Emmanuel Amuneke have the qualifications Gernot Rohr does not have,” he said.It would be recalled that ahead of Nigeria’s 2010 World Cup campaign, another strong voice, if not the strongest, of Nigerian coaches, Adokie Amiesimaka criticised the Nigeria Football Association, as the federation was then known, for hiring a foreign coach- Lars Lagerback when we had a better local coach in Shaibu Amodu. He severally warned that the Swede had nothing to offer Nigerians.The ex-Green Eagles winger has constantly harped on the need to look inwards in solving the national team’s coaching problem.After watching the Eagles lose to Greece, a feat that gave Greece their first World Cup win, Amiesimaka was simply livid.“Why on earth did Lagerback take Obafemi Martins and Nwankwo Kanu to South Africa, if he knew he was not going to use them? I have said it over and over again; we do not need a foreign coach.Please Patrick Ekeji should explain to Nigerians why they hired Lagerback. Samson Siasia could have done better than the Swede whom they wasted millions of naira on,” Amiesimaka had said after Super Eagles lacklustre performance at the African Mundial.The proponents of Nigerian coaches for the senior national team may however be getting close to having their say if the words of Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick are to be believed.Giving reason for the appointment of Joseph Yobo as Super Eagles assistant coach, the NFF boss said it was to position him to take over from Rohr as the national team manager.Pinnick believes the 39-year-old would add value to the Super Eagles and hope he would follow the footsteps of former international Stephen Keshi, who guided the side to their third Africa Cup of Nations title in 2013.“When Yobo was captain of the Super Eagles I saw inborn leadership character in him. His charisma and the way he carried other players in the team was exceptional. Yobo is a born leader. This is why the federation decided to appoint him as one of the assistants in the Super Eagles team. “We are looking up to Yobo to manage the Super Eagles in future and being part of the team’s technical crew will give him that opportunity to coach the Super Eagles in the nearest future,” Pinnick had said.However, Egbo’s feat remains the loudest voice in the call for local coaches to take charge of the national team.Egbo became the first African coach to qualify a European club side to participate in the prestigious Champions League after he led Tirana biggest club in Albian to win the 2020 League title with seven points clear. They are also in the final of the Albanian Cup.Egbo, 46, made 12 appearances for the Super Eagles between 1999 and 2002 during which time he manned the goal for Tirana, winning three trophies with the club.Following his retirement from playing in 2011, Egbo went into coaching, becoming the goalkeeping coach of another Albanian side, Bylis, before returning to Tirana in 2014 in the same capacity.In 2019, the ex-Nigerian international was promoted to become Tirana’s head coach and he has now done remarkably well; winning the league title in his first year in charge.Interestingly, KF Tirana who will be celebrating their 100th anniversary this month will have a chance to clinch a domestic double on August 2, when they face Teuta Durres in the Domestic Cup final.But while they wait for what would be the icing on the cake for them, Tirana fans are all in the joyous mood already having ended their decade-long wait for a league title.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Each time a foreign technical adviser is employed to take charge of the Super Eagles, there is always a running battle between the Nigeria Football Federation and some Nigerians that feel employing a foreigner for the national team as sheer waste of funds when there are Nigerian coaches, capable of doing the job even better. With the recent achievement of former Julius Berger of Lagos goalkeeper, Ndubuisi Egbo in faraway Albania, where he led KF Tirana to win the Albanian League and book a place to next season’s Champions League, the campaign for Nigerian coaches to take charge of the senior national team has gained more traction, writes Kunle AdewaleEmmanuel Egbo last weekend led his team, KF Tirana, to win the 2019/20 Albania League title, becoming the first African to win a title with a European league side.In addition to winning the league, Egbo automatically booked a place in next season’s European Champions League campaign and he says he is not going to the competition to sing the anthem.last_img

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