British Born Coach, Latif Alnassar
Posted: Jul 14, 2012
British Born Coach, Latif Alnassar gives his candid opinion on the Nigerian domestic football league, insisting poor infrastructure and poor technique are dragging the game behind.
I'm sure you have watched some Nigeria Premier League games since your arrival in Nigeria about four months ago. What has been your impression?
Yes, like you rightly said I have been around for about four months now in the course of my youth soccer programme with FRENAGE SOCCER SUMMIT. But I have taken time in between the period to watch some of your Premier League games. It has been a wonderful experience and I must say that there are quite a lot of talented players in the league. It shows that the huge talents that abound in the grassroots are translating to the big league and the pitches are okay because most of them are astro turf which is good in terms of maintenance but aside that, I think the quality of play has not really been the best it should be.
Why? I hope you are not comparing our NPL with your country's EPL? Tell me, what are the things you observe that are wrong?
I think the simple football concept or philosophy is what is missing. here I mean, keeping the ball on the ground,short, precise passes,players' movement without the ball, creating options for the player with the ball, avoiding long-balls which gives high chances of losing ball possession and also avoiding injuries. Another aspect that I see not at par with the quality players in the league lack of strong base of the game in the area of management and officials. Undue interference and corruption in football in general is also another area I find not in the best interest.
You mentioned earlier that you came here for a grassroot football programme tagged FRENAGE SOCCER SUMMIT. What is your impression on Nigerian youth football?
I watched the recent (Oyo) Governor's Cup final. I also watched the Academicals finals, both at the Lekan Salami Stadium and I was impressed with the performances of the youth players. I had earlier predicted that Oyo team was likely to stun others based on the quality of football they played and I was proved right because they gave me an impression of a team like FC Barcelona of Spain. They played short, one - touch football throughout the competition. It was a fantastic game that was somehow better than some of the Premier League matches I watched. Honestly, it shows that there is bright future for youth football in Nigeria.
What is your mission to Nigeria in the first place because we understand that you are a coach at London Progression? What is the relationship between London Progression and FRENAGE Nigeria?
At London Progression we catch the players young, and harness their God given talents by giving them Premier League standard training. This enhances their career and future and talking about the relationship with Frenage Progression International Soccer Academy, FIPSA, it is a mutual and beneftial one that will endure for a long time which African countries and players are bound to benefit from.
Tell us about the outcome of this talent hunt programme that lasted for four months.
We have selected a team that will contest for the Glasgow City Cup in the first week of August. It was a painstaking exercise and I'm convinced that FRENAGE Progression International Soccer Academy, FIPSA will represent Oyo State and Nigeria well at the tournament. FIPSA is the only team from Africa that will take part in tournament and given the quality of the players, I am convinced that they will conquer. Having said that I must commend the two friends I made in Nigeria during my four months stay. They are Oyo State Governor Senator Abiola Ajimobi and Commissioner for Sports, Dapo Lam-Adesina. I send my warmest regards to lovely Nigerians for their hospitality and I promise that we will work hard to reward them with the trophy at the end of the Glasgow City Cup tournament in August.
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