Shooting Stars Sports Club coach, Fatai Amoo has been talking about how he will reposition the traditional Nigerian league side in the new season. He fields questions from Completesportsnigeria.com's
JOHNNY EDWARD, and also outlines the attributes of his dream NPFL in the new campaign. Excerpts…
Can you tell us how prepared 3SC are for the season opener against Lobi Stars this Sunday at the Adamasingba Stadium Ibadan?
We have been perfecting our strategies quietly in Ijebu Ode and gradually the boys are adjusting to our philosophy. I’m satisfied to an extent. But there’s still more improvement to be made before the start of the season on Sunday. You’ll begin to see them perform for the club and how they fare as regards what they’ve learnt and how they’ve been able to show it in the course of the games.
So far so good, it’s not been bad and it’s not been really fantastic, but we’ll keep on working harder. As at today, I tell you we are not on top yet. I am telling you based on what I have seen of the players. One good thing is that everybody is ready to learn and I think that is a motivation for the coaching crew too. So far so good, we are still trying to put it together and try to patch them up. So we can do something magnificent in the league this season.
Could you tell us what your primary target is this season 3SC?
I have said it over and over and I am going to say it again that we want to work so hard to see that we are not in the bottom part of the lot. When you have a twenty-team league, you would want to stay within the first and 10th place. That is not to say that if you were 10th on the list that you are fantastic, but at least, you are not battling relegation.
And if you look at the team financially, we are not buoyant. One good thing again is that we have a couple of young players who are ready to learn, and I know that with time they will blossom. They may not be a ‘ready-made’ players, they may not be as experienced as these guys in the league, but their attitude is very good towards learning and that is a motivation for us. Like I said, our primary objective is to not be at the bottom level of the league or fight against relegation.
You are known for discovering talents. No doubts about Odion Ighalo being one of them. But don’t you think that too much of these young talents in your squad, with lack of league experience, could hamper the steady progression of your team in the NPFL?
Considering their talents, or rather, their potentials, I believe they will do well for the club this year. But it will depend on the individual players – how each of them will quickly adapt to the rigours of the league this season. These young boys must translate all these needed knowledge for them to be really ready to gain full experience and move up as you rightly said. I am happy for one thing, there are a lot of young gifted players in the team and they are adapting quickly and transferring what they've learnt into match situations. I want to also use this medium to also appeal to the supporters and the fans of the club, that they must really have patience with the team and support us. The team is not financially buoyant, but we are lucky to have discovered some of these young boys. Some of them have played for the feeder team of the club and we are moving about 5-8 of them up to the first team squad. I am sure that with our training regime, the players will definitely come up, but it won’t be overnight. Some of them will grow to become stars, but it all depends on how they quickly adapt to what we are giving out to them. They were given information and they are expected to get themselves familiar with this information, in terms of the tactical and technical know-how of the game.
You are a Nigerian league veteran having coached the likes of Sunshine Stars, Julius Berger, Stationery Stores and several top teams. what are the changes and innovations you want to see the League Management Company introduce in the new season to make the league better?
Well, of course, the first thing I’d talk about is security. Security for the teams playing, the officiating officials, fans and supporters. with good security measures in place, so many fans will be motivatef to attend league games with their families. League venues in South-Africa are always filled to capacity which attracts so many sponsorship and endorsements from big companies.
Secondly, the officiating. Regardless of which team is hosting a league game, there should be fairness to all and favour to none. Let’s see officiating like we are see in some English Premier League games in England, in the Spanish La Liga and the rest of the leagues.
And of course, I’d like to see a league where players, coaches, administrative officers are paid as at when due, not owing 6 months, 7 month salaries. that will not help our league. So I think if we should take it one by one. The paramount thing, I’ll say it again – there must be security for all the stakeholders.
Who are the stakeholders? The fans who pay their hard earned money to watch live games, the players, the officiating officials. I believe when they have security, players will be able to really give out their best without any fear. I want to also say that Nigerian Football Federation has not done badly and I believe the sky is still their limit. They can improve on what they have done so far.
Which club are you tipping to win the NPFL title this season, bearing in mind that the Enugu Rangers are the current champions?
Rangers International of Enugu will be one of them, but when you look at other teams too, they have done some great recruitment ahead of the season. I want to believe it is going to be a keenly contested league this year. Just like we are seeing in the EPL in England where you bring in some experienced coaches and some top players too. I won’t be mentioning clubs who are title contenders but I think there are so many clubs who would really give Rangers a good run for their money. Which is why I am appealing to the LMC to stage another impressive league campaign.