Eyeonthenews.com’s Correspondent, Kayode Ayeni caught up with the Technical Adviser of Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC), Fatai Amoo in this exclusive interview in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. The tactician speaks about his career, 3SC among other issues, excerpts;
Eyeonthenews.com: Coach Fatai Amoo, we are pleased to meet you, let’s know more about your?
Fatai Amoo: By the special Grace of God, my names are Abdulfatai Folorunso Amoo, a professional football coach and presently working with Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan, as the club’s Technical Adviser.
You were once with the national U-23 national team that won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, prior to the games, you led the team to play a friendly match against the Brazillian Olympic team, which your team won right there in Rio De Janeiro, how did you manage to achieve that remarkable feat?
Well I have to be honest, when the mantle of leadership to lead the team to Brasil came up, I was the First Assistant coach to Samson Siasia, that was when he took over as Super Eagles Coach immediately after Sunday Oliseh left the team.
So, I was asked to take charge of the intermediate team, well, to God be the glory. I have done so many jobs with so many clubs in the country and I have had the opportunity to go out of the country, even with the U-23 national team, that was before that big encounter.
So, for me, I took it as one of the challenges and opportunities that come in one’s life time. However, once you are on the field and whatever it takes, you as an assistant will want to prove yourself and it came in a very big way.
Having said that, I must say the job in Rio was done with the support of the players and my other colleagues; coach Monday Dike and the goalkeeper’s trainer David Ngodiga. We put heads together and of course, we were communicating with the Head Coach, Samson Siasia on the situation of things in camp back then. The players were psyched up and they gave their best on that day. It was actually tough but the end result justified the means.
Talking about the games proper, there were a lot of financial challenges that confronted the team before and during the games, what can you say about that?
Well, except you are not a Nigerian, otherwise, you will know it’s a Nigerian thing. Such a situation is peculiar to our nation and all of us are aware of it, so, I can’t complain. I faced the challenges squarely despite the financial situation of the team. We just pray and hope that the situation improves in the country.
This is the third time you are coming in as Coach of 3SC, has much changed in the team?
Honestly, things are not the same in the club, financial challenges are more pronounced now than the previous times when I coached here. The changes may not be in the best interest of the team, I’m just trying to mention the changes.
However, I must declare that we have a management team that is very dynamic, mention them; from the Honourable Commissioner to the General Manager. The management team is very understanding, they are aware of the challenges and are trying to sort things out. I must also state that the management team understands the politics of the game, and I have worked with them on numerous occasions. One important thing I must say is that I’m enjoying the support of 3SC supporters and other stakeholders.
Let’s talk about Shooting Stars now, why is the team performing below expectations of late?
Everybody is entitled to his own opinion, in your own assessment, you feel the team is not doing well of late, but I have a different view as the technical adviser of the team.
Honestly, we have not played below expectations, I think what’s pulling Shooting Stars back is our inability to take our goal-scoring opportunities, especially when we are playing at home and we are working on it. But, this problem cannot be corrected overnight, it takes some time. However, if we have to compare ourselves with those that are doing well or not doing well in the league, I will say Shooting Stars is not as bad as you said.
What’s your target for 3SC this season?
I have said this several times, that, things cannot be easy with the present crop of players in the team. I’m talking about all of them; the old, the new and the young players brought into the team. But, as someone who likes challenges and who wants to come out unscathed, I’m not promising to win the league, but we will not be relegated at the end of the season. You can see that we are gradually moving up on the Nigeria Professional Football League table. Then, if we eventually find ourselves among the first four teams at the end of the season, we will grab the opportunity with both hands. In a nutshell, my target for 3SC this season is to retain the club’s status in the Nigeria Professional football league.
What about your personal relationship with your players and management?
I have a very cordial relationship with the players, although, there would be some challenges as you know, players will always be players. I know quite well that no player will be happy to sit on the bench but all of them can’t get playing time at the same time. In view of that, some players will like you, while some will not. I’m very close to my players, in fact, I’m like their father as we share experiences and have many things in common.
Some of your players have kicked against your training schedule, saying it’s cumbersome. For example, the team was just coming from a long trip and you are hell bent to hold a serious training immediately without allowing the players enough rest, what can you say to this?
What I want people and the players to know is that experience is not bought. I have worked among the best coaches in the National teams of Nigeria, which is higher in all ramifications compared to 3SC. If any player is complaining of such schedule, that could be because his experience is not enough.
Taking the players through such training regime immediately after a long journey is what we call “recovery training”, which I often introduce to remove fatigue from their body system. This is necessary, especially when we are playing a match within a short time. It is a training process that is very common among elite coaches, that’s the way it’s done in top football playing nations. If you are opportune to train with the National Coaches Association of countries such as America, which I have trained with in the past, it would enhance your scientific approach to the game.
What’s your own philosophy about coaching?
This is a very good and sensitive question, my philosophy is very simple, I want to win all my games and win fairly. By winning fairly, I mean to win with an acceptable standards. I detest negative approach to games, to sum it up, I want my team to entertain our spectators with good performance. So, at the end of the day, we will not only win fairly but would have won with the spectators enjoying the game and having value for their money.
How do you unwind, when you are not involved with football?
Well, when I’m not involved with football as an introvert, I stay indoors and if my family is around, I spend the time indoors, we can watch movies together. I drink non-alcoholic drinks with them, that’s the truth because I don’t drink alcohol.
What advice do you have for up-coming coaches?
Based on modern trends of coaching, up-coming coaches have a lot of challenges but still have a lot of prospects too. Whoever wants to be successful as a coach must seek modern and advanced coaching knowledge, and must be well trained to have enough information as the game changes everyday. They should also make use of any available technological resources at their disposal.