A former Nigerian international, Garba Lawal, has said his versatility as a player made it extremely difficult for any coach to drop him in his active days for clubs and the national teams.
Speaking to NFFtv at the ongoing WAFU B U-20 Championship in Niamey, the former Esperance of Tunisia and Roda JC of Holland utility player emphasised that when a player can play in four different positions, it’s hard for him to be dropped.
Lawal also said he never argued with his coaches anytime they decided to deploy him to new positions because he believed they knew exactly what they wanted from him.
“In those days, in one department, you could have like four players. So anytime you were called upon, you know you must give 200 percent. You don’t have to wait for a second chance. Those days, if you were waiting for a second chance, then you were finished.
“One of my former coaches said he didn’t know my position. I could play anywhere. When you substitute me and put me anywhere, I use my method and versatility to try to adapt to the system but not every player can do that.
“So when you can play in more than four positions, no coach can drop you. Whenever he has lapses, he has a cover up. So that is how you build yourself. But it wasn’t me. It was the coaches. I never trained to play in these positions.
“All these positions, I never trained myself to play left-full back, holding midfield or the right side. No. My main position when I was playing football was 10,” said Lawal
The man who was nick-named ‘Mr Utility’ also attributed his success to his ability to adhere strictly to every instruction that was given to him by his coaches.
It will be recalled that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) technical committee member was often used for any position ranging from defence to attack on the left side of the wing.
Apart from the Atlanta ’96 Olympics gold medal, he played in two World Cups in 1998 and 2000 in Japan/Korea.
He also represented Nigeria at four AFCONS in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 earning 57 caps in the process.
From the 1990s and early 2000s, Lawal was every coach’s favourite as he commanded regular shirt in the Super Eagles.