*Why 3SC must return to Africa with skill
*Long trips on bad roads is killing my players
Coach Fatai Amoo, otherwise called ‘Arsenal’ has gathered experience from the national team and on the continent, but his immediate task is to restore the fortune of the darling team of Ibadan to its glorious days. The former Julius Berger of Lagos coach had a chat with Olayinka Elebute of www.gongnews.net on the challenges of the team and his desires to turn things around with the limited resources at hand, which is his major target for the team. Enjoy the excerpts:
Your assessment of the Week 10 game against Remo Stars: It was very keenly contested in the sense that both teams really displayed good skill and the crowd had a lot to cheer. But it pained me on the part of 3SC that we didn’t win. We deserved to win considering chances created and I think that repeated itself against MFM FC in the first half when chances created were not taken. We’ve been working on it. We, the coaches, have the patience to understand that but the fans don’t understand that. But to me it wasn’t a bad game.
Your team went to Katsina played very well and got a point though you lost in Bauchi against Wikki. What really happened to your team because you had an edge and was expected to get at least a point: Sincerely speaking, I’m not saying this to get an excuse, if you try to bring science into what we are talking, we went to Katsina by road, after that game we left on Monday to Bauchi a journey of 8 hours, we played the match on Wednesday, we left on Thursday from Bauchi, headed back to Ibadan, we did not get to Ibadan until around 9pm. Now, that is 3SC that would be playing on Saturday.
We played against Remo Stars that played on Sunday in Ijebu-Ode, they rested through out the week and came to Ibadan a journey of just about 1 hour. If we have gone through all these I mentioned, then it’s difficult. We are supposed to play against Enyimba in our next match on Sunday but we just got the information the match has been brought forward to Wednesday. The boy’s having been called back again, when they are supposed to be resting.
We’re pleading with the management who have been trying to help maybe we’ll go to some of this trips by air. Because we understand that we spend 18 hours out of 24 hours on the road. And we are going to spend 90 minutes on the field. It’s not as if our bus is very comfortable but I appreciate what we have. So give and take we’re somehow affected. By the crowded schedules and you know we have the most terrible network of roads in the country.
You as a coach and players are more important. How do you appeal to the LMC that they need to plan schedules of matches well to give teams space to rest in between matches. Appealing to LMC is good. One aspect we forget is that as you lay your bed as you lie on it. LMC wanted this League to start earlier, but these same clubs’ management for one reason or other, genuine or otherwise, deferred. LMC has been trying to see how we can harmonise our League with other African countries so that by the time our teams play in the continent we would be very ready.
If I look at our last three matches for example, I’m happy with the blend although we may not have won these matches like people expected. My appeal to LMC is to please consider situation of most of our teams. And try to remove the midweek matches because of the constraints financial, roads not too good etc.
If you put all these together, the players can’t give their best. And when people whom we are trying to market these players see these things it not too good for our football.
You’ve been here at Shooting Stars before and you’re back. How does that make you feel? I feel good. It’s a team I love so much. Yeah, I’m a professional coach I want to coach anywhere when the conditions are okay. Coaching Shooting has many advantages. Shooting Stars is a house hold name in Nigeria and Africa. If you look at the history you’ll want to coach Shooting Stars.
Working with Shooting will be of advantage. Who does not want to make a mark? I’m really enjoying being in Shooting even as the results may not be coming yet but I’m sure it will come good very soon. All our fans and Supporter should just be patient.
How do you guys motivate the young players now coming through the ranks in Shooting Stars? That’s one thing Shooting Stars have done for us the coaching crew. Shooting realise that for now, the money is not really there to get the big stars but they realise that they have a technical adviser with others who are also product of catching them young.
Faleye is one talent out of many I’ve nurtured. Odion Ighalo started under me at Julius Berger from one academy. Ones we see the talent. Sunday Faleye is just starting. I’m happy he’s disciplined. There are so many that are coming through now. That’s why I’m thanking the management and the fans for the understanding. In a very short time, Shooting Stars will come to what they want.
How motivated is the team for the league? Honestly, you can’t spend more than your budget. I agree Shooting Stars is a brand in Africa. But we understand the challenges of the government funding the team. The government is doing everything possible within their capability. No player in Shooting Stars today will tell you he’s getting below what he was promised. It means there’s improvement and kudos to the government.
You don’t start looking at those who have so much resources. With what you have, you can still challenge. We played a better funded Rivers United of Port Harcourt but we played very well and won. Maybe soon enough the management will come out of whatever situation they have. The General Manager, Rasheed Balogun, has been vibrant, going lengths to see that the players are happy.
What your target for the team this season? I want a situation where before the end of the first round, we would have nothing doing around 16th to 20th position on the league log. If we can achieve that, I’ll be satisfied.
Everybody wants Shooting Stars back on the continent. The last time was 20 years ago. What are you promising?
We, for now, will not come out to blow the trumpet that’s not there. What’s left now is for us to see how we can bring our players to a level where we can compete favourably well and seeing off relegation. If in the course of doing that we get a continental ticket, of course, we won’t say we don’t want. Leicester City came last year trying to beat relegation but the got the League and they grabbed it.
If it happens to us and if it doesn’t happen, we don’t want to be among the struggling teams out of relegation. The continental you mentioned is 20 years ago even the management needs to sit down to check, 20 years, what and what have we not done.
On my own, on the part of the coaching crew we are also looking at it. But to be realistic it’s a project that if I have opportunity I can tell you that in the next three seasons we should be talking of going on the continent. But that is not to say we’re playing not to go. We’re playing to be champions and to be, means you have to win all your games.
Because the team leading today, if you check very well, has won more matches than any team. So, having said that, our target is to see that we do very well where we can now build on from next season. And very soon return to the continent it could be this season.