On October 5, 2019 the Super Eagles team B was sent packing by Cape Verde from WAFU Cup after penalties ...
The Olympic Eagles were bundled out following a goalless
draw game between Nigeria and South Africa. Ivory Coast beat Zambia 1-0 to go
top of the group while South Africa who finished five points are second.
The man in charge of the Nigerian side was no other person but Imama Amapakabo. Amapakabo could be said to be Nigeria’s luckiest indigenous coach going by what has happened around him.
Amapakabo was a retired goalkeeper. He also became the first goalkeeper to be appointed as head coach of any national side. Most goalkeepers were known to be appointed as goalkeeper trainers in national side, but his case was a bit different. He probably was special and had something very special to offer his employers.
Before now, Amapakabo’s best performance as a manager was
guiding the Enugu Rangers to win the NPFL in 2016 after he broke a 32-year
title drought. That was probably the motivating factor playing 38 matches to
win the league.
He became the second coach after the late Amodu Shuaibu to be assigned to a national side after winning a title with a team from the Nigeria premier league. But one thing that makes the difference between him and the late Amodu was this:
Amodu was a specialist in qualifying Nigeria for major tournaments, while Amapakabo did not understand that aspect. The late Amodu could qualify Nigeria to any tournament no matter how tough it was, but he usually gets sacked even after qualifying the team. But Amapakabo got another chance with another national side even after failing twice with his first job.
Amapakabo seemed different, he was extraordinarily lucky. No one talks about his sack, he became the first indigenous coach to fail with 3 national sides in a month, yet all blames has gone to our grassroots football. No one has spoken about his tactical lapses, blames have always gone to either the players or the development of grassroots football in Nigeria football.
On October 5, 2019 the Super Eagles team B was sent packing by
Cape Verde from WAFU Cup after penalties under the watch of Amapakabo. On
October 19, 2019 the same team was bundled out by Togo at the Agege Stadium
despite Nigeria winning by 2-0 and the Togolese qualifying on goal aggregate
under same manager.
Perhaps, everyone thought that was end of road for Amapakabo
and any Nigerian national side. But that thought was wrong. It was just the end
of a chapter and the begin of a new one, as he was now handed a fresh
appointment on November 1, 2019 to take charge of the Olympic Eagles and
qualify them for Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Only the NFF could tell why he was the most preferred person for that job. Perhaps he was ready to redeem himself after crashing out in two tournaments. But has he been able to do that with the Olympic Eagles ? The answer to that question is left to you .
But one glaring question that was not answered before his appointment as Olympic Eagles head coach is this: If Amapakabo could not lead a home-based side to success going by the fact that his biggest success in coaching career was with Enugu Rangers which was a home-based team, how then could he handle an Olympic Eagles team comprising largely of foreign based players?
Imama Amakabo is indeed Nigeria’s luckiest indigenous coach.
Only the future will tell what next appointment is awaiting the gaffer.