Bosso’s conversion works re-defining FC Ifeanyiubah

By Fisayo Dairo

The name Isa Ladan Bosso is quite conspicuous when football coaching is on the discourse in Nigeria.

Aside having managed about a dozen of top division clubs in the country, Bosso is famous for leading Nigeria to the quarter-finals of the 2007 Under-20 World Cup in Canada where the Flying Eagles bowed out to Chile after extra time.

Having recently coached El-Kanemi Warriors and Abia Warriors, Bosso took the reins at FC Ifeanyiubah last December, hoping to achieve success in his own modest way with the Anambra Warriors.

His new side earned their first away point of the season at the sixth attempt when they played out a 1-1 draw with Rivers United in Port Harcourt on Sunday. Victor Chidume’s penalty for Bosso’s men was cancelled out by Ochewechi Salefu’s stunning late equaliser for the hosts.

What confounded many observers on the day was what looked like a make-shift defence for FC Ifeanyiubah as three members of the back four were playing in positions they were not known for.

Wasiu Jimoh, hitherto a winger and striker played at right back, goalscorer Chidume, an accomplished defensive midfielder at Remo Stars last season played as right centre back while Felix Osia, a left back and once a left winger paired Chidume at the centre of the defence.

“That is why we are coaches,” Bosso told npfl.ng when asked on the conversion of these players after the game.

“I can give you some instances, even at the national team. Celestine Babayaro was playing as outside left but we turned him to left full back at Under-17.

“We can also talk of players like (Valentine) Nwabili from outside left to left back and Samuel Tswanya from outside left to right and left back. These are all we call coaching,” emphasised the former Niger Tornadoes boss.

It is indeed not an uncommon phenomenon in football when players have their positions changed by coaches, sometimes permanently and sometimes, for a certain period.

Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi was converted to a defensive midfielder by then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho while current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has done similarly by converting Victor Moses to a right wing back.

Back home in the NPFL, Enugu Rangers’ success story in the 2016 league season included that of Osas Okoro who had been a right sided winger for most parts of his career remoulded into an offensive full back in the second half of the season.

Okoro has since carved a niche for himself in that role up at the last African Nations Championship in Morocco where he shone in the colours of the Super Eagles.

At Dolphins (now Rivers United), Ali Chiwendu was a left footed right winger before he joined the club from Go Round but coach Stanley Eguma converted him to the left back he is today while Chidiebere Okolie, a left back was turned into a central midfielder by Eguma.

Time and space may not permit to give further instances but it is noteworthy that Enyimba’s vice captain Andrew Abalogu was a renowned attacker but now plays as right back these days while it was also Bosso that turned winger Anthony Okemmiri into a right back during his Abia Warriors days.

“Many people are just watching players like Wasiu playing at right back for the first time today but as we can see, he was one of the top three players in this game today so that is what we call coaching,” Bosso added.

One of the converted players; Victor Chidume was voted man of the match in the Matchday 11 contest and he told npfl.ng how easy it is for him to adjust under Bosso’s tutelage.

“Bosso is a nice man who is very experienced. Whenever he teaches you something, he breaks it down in a way that you will understand it and we are following the methods of his coaching. That’s why we are making impacts in the positions he put us in,” said Chidume.

Bosso and his newly converted stars will hope to continue in their new found form when they host one of the coach’s myriad of former employers Abia Warriors this weekend.