Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
A member of Arsenal Football Club technical coaching crew, Simon McManus, has described Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi as an influential and fantastic player of the North London club.
Aside Iwobi, McManus also generously lavished the outstanding exploits of former Nigerian captain, Nwankwo Kanu, several years after the gangling player left the Gunners.
The UEFA-licensed coach is one of two Arsenal coaches brought to Abuja by Star Larger Beer for a clinic to equip local coaches numbering 30 with the tactical knowledge and skills to improve the overall quality of Nigeria’s local football league.
The coach, who will run the clinic with James Colinese, until Thursday at the National Stadium in Abuja, said Nigerian players have always influenced Arsenal’s style of football whenever they play for the London side.
“Iwobi is a great player with creative and dynamic ability on the ball. He is a key member of the current Arsenal side. No one can forget Nwankwo Kanu, who is a big part of Arsenal history.
â€œKanu played for the invincible Gunners that finished the 2003-04 season unbeaten in 49 matches and won the double. He is loved by the fans for his charisma and character both on and off the field,” McManus recalled with relish.
On a general note, he rated the Super Eagles highly, describing the national team as an entertaining group that attracts more fans to their game and is globally reputed.
The Arsenal-Star Lager partnership was brokered in 2016 for the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) by the League Management Company (LMC).
The clinic features theoretical and practical sessions. It will impact the local coaches to embrace the free-flowing and all attack approach style of Arsenal.
McManus is responsible for delivering Arsenal-themed coaching programmes across 22 countries, while Colinese is an FA level 1 and Level 3 talent identification coach. He is an academy scout, who has worked in the UK and USA in many coaching capacities.
LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko, described the coaching clinic partnership with Star Lager Beer and Arsenal as a good development for Nigerian football.
He said ultimately the beneficiaries will be the players and league, adding LMC will go the extra mile to ensure capacity building events of such nature holds regularly.