Former Super Eagles’ Assistant Coach, Joe Erico, has said the country’s ex-Internationals will rather handle any of the national teams than coaching clubsides in the league.
According to him, the system has little regard for them, even those who played the game at the highest level.
Only recently, former Juventus’ player, Andrea Pirlo, was appointed coach of the Italian Serie A giant, Juventus. Pirlo now joins the likes of Josep Guardiola (Barcelona), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid), Ole Gunnar Solskjær (Manchester United), Frank Lampard (Chelsea) and Mikel Arteta (Arsenal), who coached the clubs they played for during their active days.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Erico said these European stars were given free hand to make whatever mistakes they could at the beginning of their coaching career, before they blossomed. “This is why they will take up the appointments in the first place,” he said, adding, this is not like Nigeria where the ex-international-turned coach is subjected to unnecessary politics and humiliation.
“Is it football club that we are running in this country? Can this make a player after retiring from active football come and coach a club in Nigeria? We need to ask what is the value of our clubs?
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“I brought Ndubuisi Egbo as a 16-year-old boy from Umuahia to Lagos, because someone has to propel someone to become somebody in life. If Ndubusi had not gone to Albania will he have value? If there are clubs in the country that have values for former International players once played there and they are fair, definitely they will come back as coaches.
“Do you know how many of our ex-Internationals that are assistant coaches in Germany and Finland? We’ve them in America, I know this because each time I travel there, I am always with them. This is why I am talking confidently about former stars, who declined coming to coach clubs in our league because we don’t value them,” he said, adding the last time the system worked was when he and other former Internationals coached clubs out of love for the game before they left prematurely.
“When there was value, most of us that played up to the top level later became coaches. This was out of passion for the game. Football is a passionate thing and if you know that you are going to be a coach, you must have passed through the rudiments of the game and you must build it up.
“Now, there is nothing to build up in this society. This is why the boys now go outside and they are worth a lot of money because they’re been appreciated. There they’re given the opportunity to work because they know they are knowledgeable enough to handle these clubs in Europe and other parts of the world.”
The former coach of the defunct Julius Berger Football Club of Lagos said: “Some of us had to drop the job prematurely because we were not regarded and we had to venture to other things as against what we know how to do best for us to improve on it.
“The system makes mockery of you; that you don’t have this, you don’t have that. My assessment about clubs in the country is that we do not have any, as it runs in other climes. How do you expect a coach who has spent so much time on the field training to now be involved in politics? When has politics become part of a coach’s job? This is where we have found ourselves in this country,” he stated.