Nduka Ugbade has a mantra, it’s one he believes so religiously, and it’s that there’s a science to the game of football.
The science of the game literally means there are several sets of variables; occuring simultaneously in any given situation, whoever masters and can control them optimally, will impact that given situation for their desired outcome.
In simple football terms, the build up and progression of play as well as transitions and set plays are all aspects of any football match that a team can perfect.
Ugbade believes that picking out the right personnel, teaching them to master these stages and with the cognizance of each player’s skills set and detailed game information will help any Coach build a formidable team.
An important aspect of Nduka Ugbade’s philosophy is moulding talent as most of his work has been with Young footballers – himself a former national youth player.
When his senior career ended, the former Defender transited into football management and it was seamless.
Since then, he has worked as either head coach or assistant in a relatively successful journey since 2011.
In his most recent appointment as head Coach of the Under-17 MNT, Ugbade has not only shown he’s a fine tactician, but also a student of the game and it is evident in the way his Players have performed so far at the WAFU B Championship.
The team, Golden Eaglets, one which he Ugbade himself captained in 1985 to then U16 FIFA World Cup and won gold, a major milestone in Nigerian and African football.
At 52, he’s hoping to achieve the same feat but as Coach and he has come half way through, securing a ticket to play at next year’s U17 Africa Cup of Nations which doubles as qualifier for the World Cup.
The Eaglets have scored 10 goals in three games and conceded 4 – only once did they trail – and the team has not lost a lead in all three games in the WAFU B Championship.
On Friday, they’ll face an equally dominant side, Burkina Faso who themselves are on a four-game streak, but it’ll seem Nduka Ugbade is ready for such a task.
Above all, he is cerebral and chatty about football matters and strategies; how to develop the game from the grassroots, he is one to keep an eye on at that level.