Why Manu Garba deserves role as Golden Eaglets coach again

The appointment of Coach Manu Garba by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), as Head Coach of the country’s U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets, has set the sporting fraternity buzzing for several reasons.

Over the years, in the wake of this millennium, Coach Manu Garba earned the reputation as a serial winner while also distinguishing himself among his peers in the business of discovering and nurturing budding talents to stardom.

This explains clearly why some of his Golden Eaglets who conquered the world still remain the fulcrum upon which the senior national team, Super Eagles revolve.

Former Premier League Champions, Leicester City’s hitman Kelechi Iheanacho, and Taiwo Awoniyi of Nottingham Forest Football Club readily come to mind among the budding talents discovery exploits of Coach Manu Garba. 

Little wonder why the multi-talented Coach has endeared himself to the executive board of the Nigeria Football Federation who found him worthy to shepherd the Golden Eaglets once again, and help the country’s football considering the dwindling fortunes of Nigerian youth teams which is now affecting the Super Eagles.

Apart from emerging the best in Africa with his CAF A, CAF B, NIS Coaching Diploma with Distinction, Coach Garba has also earned certification in various Capacities including “the play Arsenal’s way coaching course, FIFA Win in Africa with Africa certicate, and the West United talent identification certificate” and many other coaching seminars that broadened his knowledge of the game.

A quick look into his rèsumè confirms why the NFF made no mistakes in appointing Coach Garba as Golden Eaglets handler in this crucial time. The records show that, Coach Manu Garba won Gold during the Fifa U17 World cup South Korea 2007 as Assistant Coach with Yemi Tella as his head coach, a feat he repeated at the Fifa U17 World cup UAE 2013 as the Chief Coach of the same team, as well as the AFCON U20 Senegal 2015, and the AFCON U17 Togo 2007.

Also available in the medal studded cabinet of Coach Manu Garba are the Umbro International Cup Manchester 2001- (Gold), Pepsi international invitational U17 Abeokuta 2008- (Gold), the Glo/Premier League Super 6 Invitational Abuja 2014/2015- (Gold), and the Dana cup International U19 football tournament Denmark 2022- (Gold).    

Others include, Norway Cup U19 international youth tournament 2022- (Gold), Shell cup All Nigerian secondary schools football competition 2006- (Gold), WAFU Zone B U17 tournament Niger 2019- (Gold). The accolades also include, the AFCON U17 Morocco 2013- (Silver), UEFA/CAF U17 football tournament Turkey 2005- (Silver), 8 Nations International Invitational U17 football tournament South Korea 2007- Silver.

Coach Garba’s eye for talents amongst youngsters is unequal by any of his peers in the coaching profession, and the soft spoken former International is seen by many as square peg in a square hole.

Though the timing of his appointment is a bit late considering the time he has to prepare the team before the WAFU B tournament scheduled for Ghana next month, the Coach should waste no time in combing football Academies across the country in search of talented young players as he did in 2013, and avoid imposition of players from the high and mighty in both sports and political quarters.

The NFF should give him free hand and he should be supported to bring back Nigeria’s lost glory in Youth Football globally.