United Kingdom based
youth coach Folabi Ojekunle has bemoan the deficiency in Nigeria football
''Coach Folley'' as he's fondly called gives an insight into his stint in the United Kingdom where he has worked with Tottenham FC under Harry Redknapp, Luton FC and some other clubs.
The former Nigerian Railway Corporation FC and Nitel FC of Lagos player, also shares his thought on the vivid difference between coaching in the Nigerian environment at the grassroots level in comparison to European climes.
Born 11th of October 1975, he attended St Phillips Primary School and Eko Boys High School Mushin, and his coaching career kicked began July 3rd 1993, approximately in coaching for 22 years.
What are your high moments on the job while you were in Nigeria? A lot but to mention few I worked with schools and youths teams like Eko Boys High school, Estate Grammar School, Oduduwa Secondary School, Ikeja Grammar School. For the clubs; Jegede FC, PMP FC, Magate FC, Osaka FC and some others.
It is also important to mention the best of my best when I feature in a football talent hunt in 2008. The Oceanic Football Challenge with John Fashanu and Austin Jay Jay Okocha in 2009 which was televised on Nigerian stations.
While in Nigeria you coached in the grassroots level, what is the difference compared to United Kingdom where you are presently? Whaoooo, Over here the kids have a very good beginning with good facilities, support from parents and community at large, corporate bodies and individuals but all of these are missing in Nigeria. I think we will get to that level soon.
Are you currently employed in the UK? Yes! I am presently working with AQUINAS FC BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND though not on contract because its a youth team, I have also also worked with LUTON FC and TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC youth department under Harry Redknap for five months.
What do you think European coaches posses that makes many African nations seek after them? Simple! they are consistent, they love the job and are serious about it. In this light, they do more of refresher courses to help us improve on the quality of information we have on the game like new tactics, techniques and law of the game of football just like what the present NFF chairman (Amaju Pinnick) is advocating at the moment.
In you capacity as a coach, mention some players you have worked with who have made it to the topflight? Well, quite a number of them but I will mention the likes of Raheem Lawal and Sani Gideon ply their trades in Turkey, Stephen Sunny, Akeem Agbetu in France, Alex Tayo plays in China and a host of others.
What do you think about the reappointment of Stephen Keshi as coach of the Super Eagles? I have long been expecting that. Allowing Keshi to take charge again is fine, and i believe the federation have their reasons. But they should as well look inwards for other coaches who are also qualified for the position. The truth is, most coaches in Nigeria need to upgrade their knowledge in their own interest and that of the game.
|@ Tottenham FC U-18 & U-21|