FreekickNaija.Com.ng caught up with experienced Kano Pillars gaffer, Obinna Okafor who is currently serving as the club’s Technical Consultant. In this exclusive interview, he tells us why he left his lucrative job in South Africa to return to the Nigeria Professional Football League where he was contracted by Kano Pillars. He also spoke about his ambition with the former Nigeria Professional Football champions as well as how he began his coaching career. Excerpt.
Freekick Naija: Goodday Coach. How are you doing?
Coach Okafor: I am good.
Freekick Naija: How did you begin your coaching career?
Coach Okafor: Started coaching some foreign players that don’t have a club side after I quit playing 2008 due to injury.
Freekick Naija: How was the experience like having to quit football suddenly, and how were you able to embrace coaching afterwards?
Coach Okafor: It was not an easy decision but with the help of my family & friend by the name coach Thabo Dladla who inspired me to get my first Coaching license SAFA B.
Freekick Naija: Do you mean you started your coaching career in South Africa?
Coach Okafor: Yes. I Stopped playing at Finland and went back to South Africa.
Freekick Naija: What is the name of the first club you coached in South Africa?
Coach Okafor: Brazil FC at Pietermaritzburg, where I promoted them from Amateur league to ABC Motsepe league [div2]. I Won coach of the Year the whole of the region.
Freekick Naija: Wow that was an incredible achievement. Tell us about other clubs you coached there after.
Coach Okafor: After then I coached Real Kings FC, TS Galaxy fc, Capetown All Stars FC and Witbank Spurs FC. All in the South Africa div 1 league.
Freekick Naija: Can you share the experience you have gained while coaching these clubs?
Coach Okafor: All this club are on the what you call national Div1 league in Nigeria. In some worked as an assistant while others as head coach. My experience was amazing working in an environment that understands what process is all about. Daily you share ideas with all technical team and when in the field it’s all about work and nothing more. The club always make sure facilities are provided. There it’s about the players first before anything. Real kings, Brazil FC and Kwazulu Natal University Pmb campus. The clubs are TS Galaxy, Capetown All stars, Witbank Spurs.
Freekick Naija.When did you return to Nigeria, and what made you to take such a decision?
Coach Okafor: I came back home last October 2019 due to the fact my family came back home 2016 and it’s been hectic staying so far away from them. That’s the most important factor that prompted me to start thinking of coming back home and when Pillars picked interest in me it was easy because it was my former team as a player and Kano was where I was born and grew up
Freekick Naija: What is your role with Kano Pillars.
Coach Okafor: Technical Consultant.
Freekick Naija: Tell us about your coaching qualifications and how you obtained them.
Coach Okafor: I did my all my coaching qualification in South Africa. Coach Okafor My SAFA B equivalent (CAF B) and SAFA A equivalent to (CAF A) license. And also SAFA coach Assistant instructor, SASSCOC coach Facilitator, Moderator and Assessor.
Freekick Naija: What is your Ambition in the Nigeria Professional Football League?
Coach Okafor: Is to win the league and set a standard on style with process which is very achievable with what I have seen the little time am here.
Freekick Naija: Which area would you like to see improvement in the Nigeria Professional Football League?
Coach Okafor: The professionalism in every aspect both at administration and Technicals. And also Coaches equipping themselves by seeking for improved coaching seminars.
Freekick Naija: Thank you for your time coach.
Coach Okafor: Thanks for Having me.