NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 20 – Former Nigeria defensive midfielder Sunday Oliseh has singled out Africa as the most talented continent with players who have football skills compared to the rest of the world.
Oliseh, a former head coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria is in Kenya to conduct coaching clinic and outlined that African players only get their football skills polished when they move to play in the European leagues.
“When I started my football career at the age of 16 in Belgium, the Europeans never taught me how to dribble the ball or pass they only taught me how to be disciplined and what to do at the right time. They just polish what we as Africans have,” Oliseh, who captained Nigeria to the 1994 African Cup of Nations said.
“There are certain things we have in Africa that people in Europe don’t have and they will never have but what they have we can have it. We have the skills especially in dribbling that’s why you find it is easier for a young Kenyan of African player to dribble past defenders. We don’t have infrastructures but must work on what we have and that’s creativity and that’s does not come from being taught it comes in the streets of Nairobi,’’ Oliseh stated.
At the end of his three-day tour, Oliseh, who captained Nigeria to Olympic gold in 1996, aims to impact knowledge and share his football experience to Kenyan coaches and young players from several academies in Nairobi.
The 42-year-old said he prefers to work with young players because having youth structures leads to football success in a country.
“I intend to share with my continent what I have experienced, seen, studied while playing in the Bundasliga and how we can help the Kenyan football get one step forward.”
While lauding Football Kenya Federation for starting the junior leagues of the Under 14, 15 and 17, Oliseh urged Kenya to imitate the German’s top flight league Bundasliga for them to succeed.
“The football that is being played in the Bundasliga is a football that if we Africa have to progress we have no choice but to imitate it. I played for seven years in German league and most of the major achievements I had as a soccer player I got them while playing in the Bundasliga,” he explained.
“What we need to have as Kenya and Africans is structures to work with young players. We have no choice because either you buy success or your create it. The players coming out of Bundasliga are made out of there and that’s what we as Kenya and Africa need to do.”
-Super Eagles coach-
Oliseh had a one year stint with the Super Eagles before resigning in February this year due to the inability of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, to honour the terms of his contract.
However, Oliseh said he has no bad blood with the NFF and enjoyed coaching the three-time African Cup of Nations champions.
“Deciding to resign from the coaching job of the Super Eagles is the most difficult decision I ever took in my whole life. It took me a whole month to decide it. Most of the time I was leaving in Belgium so I was not reachable to give comments but it got to a time I had to think of my two kids and the 21 years of marriage I have had with my wife and decided to pass the button to another person,” He underscored.
In his ten years as Super Eagles captain, Oliseh guided Nigeria to three World Cup qualifiers, Olympic gold and African Cup of Nations glory in 1994.