A football coach and sports administrator, Alex Amughan, is of the opinion that only a world class coach can lead the Super Eagles to win the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy which they last won in 2013 in South Africa. In this interview with Trust Sports, Amughan also expressed confidence in local coaches whom he said are better suited to handle the Super Eagles and said Victor Osimhen’s nomination in FIFA’s top 10 best players has restored Nigeria’s pride in the comity of football nations.
How did you get involved in sports administration?
I have a rich history from a sports loving family. In fact, my late father represented the Nigeria Police Force in swimming and football tournaments. My siblings and relatives are involved in various sports and I’m a trained coach and sports administrator. I had my Primary School Certificate from Chad Basin Development Primary School, Baga, Kakawa LGA, Borno State and Secondary school from St. Patrick’s College, Calabar, Cross River State. I am a graduate of Microbiology, Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma Edo State and also Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution (B.Sc) from National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). I am currently running my Master’s Program, M.Sc Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution.
When you showed interest in sports, how much support did you receive from your family?
My family had a great influence. I was born into a family of sports men and women. We only lacked exposure early enough for a professional sports career because age matters in sports. And as such, most of us went into sports coaching and administration.
You have been involved in grassroot football for quite sometime now, can you tell us what motivated you in the first place?
I have been involved in grassroots sports right from teenage days at Gowon Estate, Ipaja, my local assembly (RCCG Dominion Cathedral, formerly Lagos Province 12). I’m still involved in grassroots sports development for the love of the games and seeing these children becoming professionals.
So far, what has been the success as well as the challenges faced?
We discovered a lot of talented young boys and girls yearly. The major challenge is the lack of funds to manage these young lads and go for competitions as much as possible. We want to see sports develop but we are constrained by paucity of funds.
Looking at Nigerian sports, what do you think should be done to make the sector economically viable?
The government should not be involved in sports business and management. The sector should be private sector driven. We need sincere and honest sports loving administrators, passionate sports men and women to be be allowed to mount the leadership of various sports associations and not the money bags. When we have the right people in place, we will definitely see our sports develop.
What advice do you have for young players aspiring to be like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?
Be hard working, determined, honest, focused, patient and develop a positive character, very soon the world will sing your name. Above all, fear God and serve him till the end.
Recently, Victor Osimhen became the first Nigerian player to be named in FIFA Top 10, what does that signify for the country?
This is a welcome development to Nigeria and Nigerians. Secondly, it will serve as a great source of encouragement and inspiration to our young sports men and women. It shows that anyone can aspire any height of great in sports with the right character and determination. Also, it’s a sigh of relief that Nigeria is being recognized once again on the world stage. We have been backstage for a very long time.
What are your favourite clubs in the Nigerian Premier League?
In Nigeria, I support Enyimba and Bayelsa Queens while I support Chelsea and Real Madrid for the foreign clubs.
What have you achieved as RCCG Region 10, Youth Sports Director and Coordinator, RCCG North Central Sports Department?
We have leaders in the Mission, who are supportive and encourage us to engage and groom the young lads. The Church alone can’t develop Sports, they are contributing their quota. But the major challenge is funding. Mind you, RCCG is involved in so many social developmental projects known as CSR (Christian Social Responsibility). I strongly believe with the cooperation of the private sectors, Sports will take its rightful place and keep our young men and women from crime.
The Super Eagles are preparing for AFCON next year. What are their chances of winning the trophy?
Our chances are 50:50 depending on the determination of the players and technical crew members. We need renowned and world class coaches and not the road side coaches that are hired secretly. If we can’t engage the services of a world class coach, then I move for indigenous coaches to handle our national teams.