I’ll make Eagles play offensively and aggressively if given coaching job – Makinwa

Spain-based former Super Eagles forward Henry Makinwa, who has applied for the vacant national team coaching job, tells ’TANA AIYEJINA about his qualifications, his plans for the Eagles, if handed the job, and more

The federation is yet to announce the Eagles coach. As one of the applicants, are you still confident of landing the job?

I really hope so because I’m highly qualified for the job. I hold the topmost UEFA licence and five years experience coaching in the NPFL. I’m very hopeful.

What can you offer the team if given the chance?

I will give the team a standard playing identity, a very offensive playing style and very aggressive defensive concepts; we lost that many years ago. In the era of Clemens Westerhof, we had individual talents and some robust football-playing home boys like Finidi George, Edema Fuludu, Friday Ekpo and others that blended well with the offensive flavour. Now, time has changed, football is played on new tactical game play and this explains why small non-football-playing countries upstage Nigeria these days.

What is your coaching experience and highlight of your career in terms of competitions won and achievements?

My credentials are UEFA A, UEFA B and UEFA Pro, all from Spanish FA. I have had four refresher courses in 2023/24, so, I’m fully updated on new European concepts about football coaching. I spent five years in the Nigerian league and promoted ABS FC to the Premier League from the second division. As head coach of Katsina United FC, I helped them place fifth in the NPFL, their best-ever position in their history.

You attended a three-day refresher course for coaches with UEFA badge organised by UEFA and the Spanish FA last month. What did you learn at the programme that you can apply to the Eagles job?

The last refresher course was on transition attack and defensive concepts, as well as goalkeeping new concepts, playing and defending with legs. It also included creative and offensive concepts using the most talented player in the team.

What technical capacity do you have to give us the  AFCON trophy and World Cup ticket?

I will select young Nigerians home and abroad to work on new tactical concepts as in European football. Any coach would choose players according to his style of philosophy. We have loads of talents spread across Europe and Africa. I will gradually incorporate the raw talents we have in he NPFL into the mainstream of the team. I will select local boys of two groups of 20 players into northern and southern groups that will be trained every fortnight. We would be able to have an identity of play if we train along the year. The foreign-based players that would join us would be top level. We will play attacking football like the Spanish Modelo Juego. The Nigerian national team is known for flair and attacking football and this will I implement.

Have you studied the current Eagles team?

Yes, I have seen the current Eagles and will choose some of the players and also add new boys to the squad if I’m picked for the job. Any coach would choose players according to his style of philosophy. We have loads of talents spread across Europe and Africa.

What were the errors you noticed at the last AFCON?

The last AFCON was a display of individual talents and nothing like creative football we are known for. It was pure defensive (tactics).

What would you have done differently against Ivory Coast in the final?

In the final I would have deployed players that are hungry to win, with full offensive flavour. The best defensive module is attack and that would have changed the game against the hosts.

Nigerians won’t accept AFCON silver and bronze. What can you offer the country’s football-crazy fans if given the job?

Nigeria is the biggest in Africa. I will select players based on merit and play attractive offensive football. Actually in dissecting the team we would need a consultation with the technical department on reports left by the former coach Jose Peseiro, study that before bringing in new and young players from across Europe. These are players with hunger and willing to play for the country. And again, all invitations will be on merit. Nigeria is blessed with talents, we are everywhere across the globe. It’s important to choose players with hunger to fight for the country, and I have got eyes for that. Check out Endrick, the new Brazilian 17-year-old player. There’s also Yamal Lamin, another 17-year-old in the Spanish A team. We have ours too, we just have to get them and blend them with experience players we have. It will be a success story, trust me. My joker will be to get those younger ones doing well in their teams and blend them with the experience we have. If Stanley Nwabali was not tried in the last AFCON, how could we have known that we had a top goalkeeper in the South African league?

If you eventually get the job what will you do to enhance the team?

If I get the job, I will convince the boys about the importance of wearing the national team colours, impose disciplinary measures that will be agreed upon by everybody, liaise with the FA and captains and find a conducive environment to work.

Generally, why do you think you are the best man for the job?

I’m the best for the job because currently, I’m a UEFA Pro badge coach from the Spanish FA, an ex-professional player in Europe, Africa and Asia, and an ex-international. Like the NFF said, they want a coach who knows African football, I coached in the NPFL for five seasons and I’ve lived in the country more than any of them (other applicants) in recent years.

Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines

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