He said, “I know that one day I’ll be the head coach of the Nigeria national team and I will take Nigerian football to a level nobody has taken them to before,” he says. “The ability of player we have these days … any coach given this job is lucky. In my head, I know how we’d play and the blueprint is ready to go.
"With the talent there now, we should be surpassing my generation, the players from the 1990s. It’s sad, because people still refer back 20 years without looking at what we’ve got today, but the quality is second to none. They seem to have given everybody except me an opportunity but, by God’s grace, it will happen.”
“My colleagues in Nigeria said: ‘Listen, it’s the platform all Africans are looking for so why don’t you take it?’” Amokachi had been between jobs when, in October, the phone rang with an unexpected offer. A long spell as assistant manager with the Nigeria national team, helping the late Stephen Keshi guide them to success at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, had finished and he coached a local club, Ifeanyi Ubah, winning six games out of nine before parting ways because “to survive back home in Africa you have to be someone who kisses assess, and I’m not one of those”. When the call came from Marko Saranlinna, the co-founder of TopSpot – an Oulu-based scouting company that develops talent in Africa with particular attention on Nigeria – the decision was surprisingly easy to make.
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