More on the Ab’dallah contract issue

It’s interesting that the discussion on the blog yesterday was on coach Usman Abd’allah. I’m sure there are varying opinions as to whether he should stay or go, but beyond whatever decision the club takes, it is important to ask the question: does Enyimba provide its coaches the best platform on which to succeed?

It will have escaped nobody that there is hardly a coach in Nigeria worthy of the name who has not managed at Enyimba. However, when was the last time we had the same face in the dugout for consecutive seasons? Not since Kadiri Ikhana and Okey Emordi.

That tells its own story: it is not an easy club to manage. And lest we be proud of something we should be ashamed of, it is not a compliment that one is difficult to work for/with. While one expects there are pressures that come with coaching at big clubs, the management structure (if there is one) further complicates matters.

We have talked about this before, but the leadership of the club often gives audience to too many individuals, all of whom have a vested interest in their own pockets. It can be difficult when different people, all of whom believe they know football to some degree, are in the ear of the management whenever there is a poor result.

The result of this is that often coaches come into Enyimba very highly rated, but cannot coach the way they really would like. Coaching philosophies become diluted, and they begin to second-guess themselves. For instance, a coach may believe it is in his players’ interest to rest after a long trip, but may be forced to schedule a training session just so as not to be considered unserious by the management. That’s the level of interference that they sometimes have to deal with.

Coaches are often discouraged from trusting in some of the younger players in the squad, as a bad result will be used to criticize their decision-making. When Enyimba traveled to face Nasarawa United in the just-ended league season, they played some very exciting football, but wastefulness in front of goal and a host of individual errors cost them in a 4-3 defeat. The attack that day? Bashir Abdulrahman, Joseph Osadiaye and Maxwell Effiom. Since that game, the youngest of those three has hardly featured at all for Enyimba.

It makes little sense to bring in a coach with a glowing CV and reduce him to a yes-man who is too scared to make his own decisions. Abd’allah is, and I know this for a fact, a believer in playing a 4-3-3. However, Enyimba is a club that plays two strikers, as he has quickly learnt. He will not be the first to fall in line like this.

So, perhaps rather than continually changing/not changing the coach, it is better to take a look at the actual structure into which the coach will be placed. Else, Enyimba might as well be coached by a committee anyway.

Finally please see this.

Back tomorrow



One thought on “More on the Ab’dallah contract issue

  1. Football and philosophies. Clubs and coaches. If there is no spelt out agreement, the confusion will continue to be. Is there an Enyimba way? Before taking up the role, are coaches aware of the Enyimba way and its contrast with the coach’s way? If a coach would be held responsible, he needs to be given the freedom.


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