FC IfeanyiUbah Japanese American coach, Kenichi Yatsuhaghi in this exclusive interview with Completesportsnigeria.com
Kenichi, you have been with Ifeanyiubah for the past two weeks now, how would you describe the experience so far?
It's been wonderful. We started pre-season two weeks ago and I'm getting to know the players more and more.
We are working really hard in training and the players are adapting very fast to my philosophy. We have a lot quality players in the team and i'm confident things will work out well for us.
What motivated you to join the club, FC IfeanyiUbah?
I think the fact that the club want to be number one not only in Nigeria but in Africa was one of the key reasons why I decided to come here.
Ifeanyiubah is not one of the big names if you look at the history of the league in Nigeria but in the last couple of years the club has improved tremendously and won the Federation Cup last season.
The club have a big ambition and I love challenges too. I love the project and I believe I can help move the club forward.
Also, you look at the training facilities here, they are one of the best you can see any where in the world.
How did you come in contact with the club?
Actually it was my former assistant at Ghana Premier League side, Accra Hearts of Oak, Yaw Preko that linked me up with FC Ifeanyiubah.
He called me up and ask if I would like to work in Nigeria and I said yes.
What is your philosophy of footbl as a coach?
I'm a coach who loves attacking football. I love my team to move the ball around very fast and also defend well as a unit.
This is the second time you will managing a side in Africa after your stint at Accra Hearts of Oak, how ready are you for the task ahead?
Like I said earlier, I love challenges and this job represents a new challenge for me in my coaching career.
If I think I'm not up to the task I wouldn't have accepted this offer. I believe in my ability as a coach, the players and the club.
I have worked in Central Asia in the past. I worked in a country like Kyrgyzstan for example and that experience alone has toughen me up to work in a country like Nigeria.
Over there in Kyrgyzstan, nobody know what we are doing and life there can't be difficult more than what we have here in Africa.
How much do you know about Nigerian football before your arrival here?
To be honest, I watched two or three Nigeria Professional Football League games on television when I was in Ghana and I was highly impressed with what I saw.
That experience gave me an idea of how football is played here. Now, I start afresh and
and will take things step by step.
What has been the challenge (s) for you since you started work with FC Ifeanyiubah?
Nothing really. You know in this situation, when you are in a new team you need to know the players and let them understand your philosophy of football.
I have enjoyed my stay here and can't wait for the start of the new season.
Your team will be playing in the continent for the first time, how well do you think you can cope against some of Africa's top teams?
It's big challenge for us and I think we have a team that is good enough to give it a go.
We started pre-season two weeks ago and I would say we are not ready for now. Thank God the CAF Confederation Cup won't start until February next year , I can say is that we will be ready by then.
What would you like to be remembered when you leave FC Ifeanyiubah?
I want to make a positive impact here. To be a popular figure not only in the club but in Nigeria as a whole.
No Nigerian club have won the CAF Confederation Cup before and it will be great to win it with my club.
What is your general assessment of Nigerian football?
Nigeria is one of the best football playing nation in Africa like we all know. Things have not really worked out for the Super Eagles in particular in the last couple of years but the players seems to be at their best now which is good for the country.
You also have a lot of young players coming up now like Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho and a couple of other guys.
I enjoyed watching the Super Eagles in 90's when you have the players like Jay Jay Okocha, Daniel Amokachi, Kanu Nwankwo and Emmanuel Amuneke. I hope the team can return to those glorious days.
Would you like to manage the Super Eagles
I' m not thinking about that for now. The only thing on my mind is managing FC Ifeanyiubah and nothing more.
On a final note, how much do you like the local foods here?
They are really nice. I like Egusi soup, Bitt
er leaf, everything my players eat, I eat too.