Nigeria’s Beach Soccer Needs A League To Grow, Says Coach Isa
Former Sand Eagles goalkeeper, Coach Abdullahi Isa has identified the absence of a viable league system as a major problem affecting the development of beach soccer in Nigeria.
Coach Isa and his team, Kebbi Beach Soccer Club are competing at the World Winners Cup in Alanya, Turkey where they have been playing against top teams from different parts of the world.
In an interview with Channels Sports, Coach Isa admits participating at the tournament has been a good eye-opener on the current trends of the sport and a charge that a lot of work must be done to meet international standards.
“From what I have seen here at this tournament, Nigeria is still lacking behind in beach soccer. The sport has gone beyond saying all is well. Coming to Alanya is a good reminder that we must work hard to improve.” The coach said.
The Kebbi Fishers, Nigeria and Africa’s sole representative at the championship in Turkey, have been receiving beach soccer lessons from countries that have invested in the sport. In their opening group d match, they fell badly 0-15 to Levante UD of Spain.
In the second group match, the Nigerian team improved but lost narrowly 5-6 to Napoli Patron of Greece. In the third match against Germany’s Real Munster, they lost 10-6 but coach Isa is pleased with the progress the team is making.
“It’s a very good experience and exposure for the team. The boys have seen it all here and they have been able to practice all we have been telling them about beach soccer, particularly on the techniques which is what the opponents used against them.
Majority of our players play on grass, they are yet to understand movement on sand and they are just getting to know the game. It is a good thing, so when they go back to Nigeria, they will adjust and get better”. He told Channels Sports.
Despite the poor run of results, coach Isa is confident the team will get better and they did just that today beating Atletico Licata of Italy 5-2 in their fourth match to record their first win at the championship.
“They’ve been improving match after match. I know they will keep getting better and they will prove it again tomorrow because they have acclimatized and understand the game now. They know they just have to win”.
After the event in Alanya, Turkey, the Kebbi Beach Soccer team will feature at the COPA Lagos and the former Enyimba coach says it’s about time to give proper attention to the development of beach soccer in Nigeria.
“From what I’ve seen in Alanya, if we want Beach Soccer to grow in Nigeria, we must have a league. It is very important. If we don’t have a league, it will be very difficult to compete at international tournaments.
Our opponents have leagues in their countries, they play all the time on sand and so they get used to it. They learn new skills and understand how to move on the sand. Check the entire Nigeria, how many states are giving attention to Beach Soccer, maybe Kebbi State and having a tournament once a year won’t bring development so we need to have a league if we really want this game to grow in Nigeria.” Coach Isa concluded.
Up next for Kebbi Beach Soccer Club at the World Winners Cup is Al-Arabi of Kuwait.