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Unuanel Hails LMC/LALIGA U-15 Promises Championship

By Olayinka Olawole

Former Sunshine Stars technical adviser Samson Unuanel has hailed the League Management Company (LMC) and the La Liga for the success of the NPFL/LALIGA U-15 Promises Challenge which will enter into its final phase in Lagos next week.

The former Enyimba international FC gaffer said that he is proud of the achievements recorded so far and still expects more from the two bodies on youth development in the country.

He said the policy of clubs having youth teams should be mandatory and extended to all professional clubs in the country, including the Nigeria National League clubs and the Nationwide clubs. And also stressed for tentative steps towards possible youth development through football.

" We have to continue with this kind of culture. We have to continue catching them young if we want to remain relevant in world football. Talents alone may not be enough and that's why its so difficult for an African team to win the World Cup. The German trained tactician revealed.

" When you compare an average European player to his African counterpart, you notice a lot of difference which is of natural talent and someone who was taught the basics of football from a very young age. The European player's runs are timed to perfection and they are always more technically sound than their African wards. None of this happens by accident"

He continued by saying: " If this U-15 championship continues, then we are all assured that many of this players will end up graduating to the senior team of their football club and that is just the most important thing at that level.

 " Being a youth coach requires specific skills that are not typically found in regular coaches. A youth coach has to be adept at identifying potential. They then have to identify weaknesses and bad habits and work on them. An effective youth coach must also understand the psychology of a teenage player and be good at getting their message through. With all this in mind"

" The first step in this regard is to identify players with potential to become excellent senior players and I hope that many of this clubs will end up doing that.

Finally, he warned that teams that got to the quarter-final of the NPFL/LALIGA U-15 Promises Championship shouldn't be so desperate to lift the title, but should keep the players together and make them achieve their main goal in their career.

" The main goal of this tournament should not be to win the championship. Rather the coaches should be judged based on how many high calibre of players they produce later in the future.

A typical example of a successful youth coach was the manchester united youth coach whose youth scheme produced Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, all whom went on to become integral part of the senior team later on. Winning the Junior FA cup was a feather in his cap, but his real feat was producing such high calibre players " He concluded.

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