Glory returned to Nigeria at the global teenage tournament in 2007 after 14 years of trials, when Golden Eaglets conquered the world, beating Spain to win FIFA U-17 World Cup in Seoul, South Korea.
With little support from the government, Late Yemi Tella (MON), a veteran grassroot coach to the core, selected best legs across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and went on to lift the trophy ahead of South American and European Giants and bring it to Nigeria.
We could have enjoyed the sports sagacity of late Tella, who was crowned 2007 African Coach of the Year but alas , he was snatched by the cold hand of the death on 20th October 2007 at the age of 56 at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital. Even though Coach Tella is no more, while only few people remember his unblemished record in choosing the best and talented players not minding whose ox was gored, his memorable achievements and track record live on.
Meanwhile, little did people know that among those who worked behind the camera to select budding talents for the victorious 2007 Golden Eaglets is Coach Akeem Busari, who was Eaglets’ Technical Assistant in 2006, en route the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The Kwara state born tactician, who drank from Late Tella’s pot of knowledge and technical prowess is currently in charge of Gateway United, Ogun State, the team that occupies the 2nd spot on the log of NNL Group B1.
Apart from possessing all certificates and qualification required to handle any team in the world, Coach Busari, who has been handling teams for more than two decades has gained remarkable experiences after working with notable, successful coaches in Nigeria.
This has given him the pedigree to handle teams like Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan, Bayelsa United, Crown Football Club, AS Racine and many others.
One of the youngest teams in the ongoing Nigeria National League (NNL) is Gateway United, under the tutelage of Coach Busari. Out of 4 matches played in the group, Gateway United recorded scintillating victories in 3 games and are one of the favourites to clinch the group’s sole ticket to NPFL, if all things being equal.
Success is successful if succeeded by successful successor, it is important for the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to look inward and make a right decision in choosing coaches for the national teams, with reference to qualification, experience, technical and tactical prowess as well as the ability to discover budding talents, which have already been exhibited by Coach Akeem Busari in teams he has handled.
As Nigerians look forward to seeing the list of handlers of the country’s underage teams by the NFF, we believe Coach Akeem Busari deserves to be considered for the Golden Eaglets or Flying Eagles’ job to further bring back the fading glory to these teams.