FOUR LESSONS FOR FOOTBALL MANAGERS: Understanding the Factors that Contributed to Keshi's AFCON Win

Now the euphoria of winning African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is gradually dying down, let us get to work and review the performance of Nigeria National team. Let us look at some of the factors that contributed to the team's success. What Stephen Keshi, the team coach, did right that strengthened and motivated the Super Eagles to victory.

It is so important to know these things, because if you base the success on luck and do not understand the factors that led to the winning, then you may never be able to repeat it. This point to some interesting issues from which every football manager could take away some lessons.

1. Players Selection: Though, Keshi chose players who were fit to play, he didn't choose some of the well known stars such as: Osaze Odemwingie, Obafemi Martins, Kalu Uche... who were also doing very well in their various clubs.

Well, Keshi didn't choose the best players Nigeria had, he chose players who were ready to play with their heart and might. Those who were willing to give their all for the quest of becoming the next African champions. This was the difference between Nigeria team and the tournament favorite, Cote d' Ivoire.

2. Camping and Friendly Matches: It was NFF full support that gave Keshi the go. The team had more than a month camping, which started in annex on December 27, 2012. Before then, the home based players had several other minor camping that Keshi used to bring them to par.

The team played up to ten friendly but competitive matches during the build up to the tournament. Among them are Grade A match up with the Catalonia and Cape Verde national team, who were also preparing for AFCON. The build up process help the Nigeria team players to step up their match fitness.

3. Leadership Role In Building Team Spirit: Keshi displayed exceptional leadership character in building the team. In spite the fact that he chose more rookies, he made them believe in themselves.

There was no incident of breaking camp rules like it use to be in previous Super Eagles camps. There were no rancor between players and the coaching staff. NFF officials couldn't even create it when they tongue-lashed team during the group stage.

The players were together and willing not to disappoint the coach for giving them such opportunity to be part of the AFCON quest. Even when things seems not to be going so well for the team, they remained as one with a very strong team spirit.

We must recognize the part the team captain, Joseph Yobo, played as well as other ex- players such as: Daniel Amokachie, Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu...

4. Early Release of Funds and other Motivations: The Federal government and NFF must be given kudos for adequately motivating the team.

President Goodluck Jonathan himself visited the team in one of their training sessions in Abuja and urged them to win the trophy for Nigeria’s centenary celebration that will be coming up soon.

Funds were released on time for Keshi to accomplish his preparation programs. There were no rancor whatsoever concerning allowances and bonuses.

A progressive match bonus were given to the team, from $10, 000 Us Dollars at the  group stage and increased up to $20, 000 Us Dollars at the semi finals. And for winning the trophy, the money rain is still pouring down.

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