It was a period of coaching education for Abia State football coaches who were privileged to undergo a free coaching course sponsored by Coach John Obuh, the former Nigeria national U-17 and U-20 coach, and the incumbent Chairman of the Abia Warriors Football Club of Umuahia.
The two-day program, which drew over 40 coaches from Abia State, was rich in content. It was split into six modules and a practical session.
The coaches were enlightened on their role as developers. They were taken through some topics, which included performance in football, agents of performance, squad building, how to have a balanced team, principles of training, the process of teaching and coaching, etc.
In his address at the closing ceremony, the Abia State Football Association Chairman Reverend Dr. Obioma Onyeaghala thanked Coach John Obuh for his benevolence, and noted that his kind gesture has given Abia State FA due recognition at the national level.
“…what you did here with the help of Coach Nwakanma and all the people here was to remove shame from the (Abia State) FA. I was the Vice Chairman for over 18 years, we never had any programme as this.I was VP for over 18 years, I just became the (Abia State FA) Chairman about 8 months now you have already made me to have a face up there, to the extent that the NFF President was talking in Uyo few weeks back he said at least Anambra is doing something and Abia is doing something; (and this is) courtesy of Coach John Obuh. I cannot thank you enough.
“We initially organized this program at our level, and he (Coach Jonh Obuh) came and said it cannot be done at that level; he wants to take it to the level that it’s supposed to be. With his own money, he made this thing possible.
God will always be with him. And I’m also praying that the government that brought him will stay till the next eight years”.
In his remarks, Coach John Obuh encouraged the participants to expand their horizons.
“…have relationships and expand your tentacles; don’t build the whole of your Rome in Abia State; spread your hands because you never know where Jesus Christ will come from. If you continue to stay in one place, it may be very difficult for you to get what you are looking for.
Coach Obuh also encouraged them to create jobs for themselves rather than wait for it.
“If you don’t have a team, find one. When you go to the street, buy a ball. Once you throw the ball on the ground, you will see children come there, and they will become your team. Start with them. Don’t wait until you get employment; create one for yourself.”
On his part, the Abia State Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Sir Nwaobilor Ananaba, who was represented by the Head of the Department of Sports in the Ministry, Mrs. Ifeoma Mba, assured them of the government’s interest in and support for sports in the state.
“I’m standing here on behalf of the Honourable Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development. He said I should welcome you all to this August meeting in the month of October. He said I should tell you that he is happy about this meeting (coaching course), and he is solidly behind whatever you are doing.
“At this particular time, His Excellency Dr. Alex Chioma Otti is very interested in sports. For that reason, we have been moving around in the 17 local government areas of Abia State, sensitizing them on grassroots, catching them young, and reviving school sports because it seems as if the schools don’t participate in sporting activities anymore. So, we’ve been moving around in the 17 local government areas. Yesterday we were in Isuikwuato; tomorrow we will be at Umunneochi, so he said I should encourage you people because, without coaches, we can do nothing. It’s these coaches that made people have made it, like Kanu Nwankwo and the rest of them; without the coaches, they can achieve nothing, but with you, we can go to high places.
“His Excellency is solidly behind you; all hands should be on the deck at this particular time in order to achieve the interest of His Excellency.”
Certificates were later presented to the participants at the end of the two-day program.