Amodu was Nigeria’s greatest indigenous coach, says Fuludu

Former Super Eagles winger and member of the Tunisia ’94 AFCON winning squad, Edema Fuludu says it would be difficult for Nigeria to get a replacement for the late Coach Shuaibu Amodu, who died on June 10, 2016. He described Amodu as Nigeria’s ‘greatest’ ever football coach.

Amodu, who qualified the Super Eagles for the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and 2010, but did not attend the competitions, died at the age of 58, three days after his former assistant, Stephen Keshi passed on. Amodu also qualified the Beach Soccer Eagles for the 2006 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, but refused to travel to Brazil. He led the Super Eagles to win a bronze medal at 2010 African Nations Cup.

Fuludu, who played under the tutelage of Coach Amodu at BCC Lions of Gboko in 1990, joined thousands of Nigerians, who paid tributes to Amodu on the fourth year anniversary of his dearth.

“Amodu gave me a different perspective on player/coach relationship,” Fuludu told The Guardian yesterday. “He was never a taskmaster like other coaches. His management style was democratic and motivational. He was nobody’s enemy.”

At BCC Lions, Fuludu joined a crack squad of players assembled by Coach Amodu to win the African Cup Winners Cup competition, also known as the Mandela Cup in 1990. In that team were players like Moses Kpakor, Humphrey Jebba, Amir Angwe, Bolaji Douglas and Sam Pam, and they defeated the usually hard-to-beat North African giant, Club Africaine of Tunisia 4-1 on aggregate with Fuludu scoring one of the goals. The team went all the way to the final the second year before losing to Dynamos FC of Zimbabwe 5-4 on aggregate.

Looking back to his days with the late Coach Amodu at BCC Lions, Fuludu, who is Delta FA chairman said: “There are too many positives on Amodu. I must admit that Amodu was generous to a fault when it comes to giving out his hard earned money to those who call on him. I called him ‘the prof’.

Fuludu, who was one of two home-based players that made coach Clemens Westerhof’s Super Eagles’ squad to Tunisia ’94, added: “Amodu was good at advising his players and seeking their advice if the need arose. The country’s refusal to allow him take the Super Eagles to two FIFA World Cup competitions after getting the tickets for Nigeria was political because I think Amodu was very vocal as a coach. He knows his onions and that is what the powers that be did not like. It is very unfortunate.”

Shuaibu Amodu was NFF Technical Director when he died in his sleep after complaining of chest pains in 2016. The news of his death was a rude shock to many Nigerians, who were still mourning former Nigeria captain and coach, Stephen Keshi.

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