Coach Obinna Okafor, an experienced gaffer who worked for several years in the South African top tier and lower division before returning to Nigeria to join Kano Pillars, has finally broken his silence on why he depart the club prior to the dissolution of the management board by Kano state government.
Okafor who now reside in South Africa has opened up to freekicknaija.com.ng on how he fell out with the then technical adviser before the appointment of Emmanuel Soccoia.
He also throw more light on what he has being doing at the moment in South Africa.
Freekick Naija: We learned that you left Kano Pillars after spending a season with them. How can you react to that?
Coach Okafor: I actually spent two seasons with them. The first one was interrupted by Covid-19 and the second one was the one we just finished before I left.
Freekick Naija: Ok. can you tell us your experience in the first season, and how it was for you to return to Nigeria after several years in South Africa.
Coach Okafor: My first experience coming back home wasn’t easy and it was not easy decision to leave south Africa to return to Nigeria to coach Kano Pillars. When the opportunity came for me to return to where I started by football career, I believe it was an experience to coach back home. But it wasn’t an easy one. And being a Technical consultant working with the Technical Adviser was not easy as well, but it was quite a memorable experience I would always cherish.
Freekick Naija: Talking about working under technical Adviser as the team’s technical consultant, can you tell us your relationship between the both of you?
Coach Okafor: When I came in working as Technical Consultant, it was so easy for me to get at long. In Nigeria even as a consultant, they want you to do the work of a coach. It is really a conflict when the Technical Adviser is there. Especially when the TA felt threatened. So it became a problem working as a consultant. As a consultant my job supposed to be easier because you are just there to make the job of the coach easier in terms of analyzing and issuing advices as well as annual planning of competitions. But working as part of the coach despite being a consultant is what made my job difficult. A situation where you are perceived as knowing too much or giving advice and it being turned down and stuff like that. It was a bit of an experience but not good in terms of learning process.
Freekick Naija: Ok. Can you tell us what pronted your decision to leave and return back to South Africa?
Coach Okafor: I am coach by profession that’s what I have been doing in South Africa before coming back to Nigeria. I have headed several division one clubs which is equivalent to NNL in Nigeria. Aside from that, I served as assistant coach to some Premier League clubs. Kano Pillars approached me for Technical Consultant role since they already have a technical adviser. Working with him was terrible because he saw me as threat but I was there to offer him advice as well as look at the team’s structure. When I was there, I tried my best help players to be stable. I became more involved when the White coach came on board. Immediately Emmanuel Soccoia left they changed my role to assistant to Ibrahim. It wasn’t really a conducive working condition. There was conflict here and there especially in the technical aspects of the team. The management always push blames on me for some of the decisions the head coach took alone. After the season I had to return to South Africa only to hear that the management was dissolved. Again I heard a verbal agreement with Enyimba before I left Nigeria but on getting here, they made a contrary decision. For now I am running a personal business while volunteering working with the head coach of a premier league club. I am just enjoying myself until something better come hopefully in January.
Freekick Naija: Lastly, can you tell us more about the workshop you are currently running in South Africa?
Coach Okafor: I am running the workshop at PMP close to my residential area. I am running a FIFA development worship for coaches. It more of a development for coaches. The programme is just to teach the coaches on how to develop players. It’s actually a five days workshop. Then there is also a CAF grade A which I am trying to upgrade because I have an equivalent of CAF A so I am trying to update by SAFA A license to CAF A license. That’s what I am going to be running from now till middle of next year which I would be open for options.