Ex-Super Eagles star, Andrew Uwe now based in Germany is best remembered for his defensive role. As Flying Eagles captain, he led Nigeria to the FIFA World Youth Championship in Russia back in 1985 finishing in third place and rose to play for the Super Eagles representing Nigeria at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988.
The former Leventis United defender who graduated from Igbobi College in this interview with The Sun Sports on Saturday from his base in Germany looks at the current state of Nigeria football, the decline in age group football and proffers solutions.
Tell us a little about your playing days while in Nigeria.
First I am a grassroots player and was born in Lagos. I played for my Primary School – Saint Paul’s Catholic School, Ebutte Metta and People’s High School Oyingbo, Lagos City College, Yaba and Igbobi College, Yaba and then studied Physical Education at the University of Ibadan.
For my football career, I played for P & T Lagos, Flour Mills, Leventis Iddo Tigers, Leventis United of Ibadan, Iwuanyawu Nationale and Calabar Rovers. I was a part of the Lagos Academicals, YSFON in the Shagari Cup competirion,Flying Eagles and Green Eagles to Super Eagles.
What have you been doing since you left the country?
I have been in America coaching girls and boys teams at College level and running an Academy with my good friend Victor Ogunsanya who is based in Texas and former Abiola babes and National team player, I have been busy with football always and also took up a referee course and all American Licenses from B License to Premier License.
For me, I felt it’s important to be utilising what God gave me for my football talent and when I came to Germany I kept doing the same with my old team here in Germany; making sure I have my licenses which I did.
I have been coaching here for 10 years now and am with my family and doing fine but looking forward for new thing to do in terms of football with the experience I have acquired here.
You had a stint in Europe, which clubs did you play for?
I played for SK Rouselare in Belgium 2nd division, Kortrikj Belgium, Willem 11 Tilburg division in Holland, Portinses 2nd division in Portugal, Weisbaden 2nd Bundesliga, Rot Weiss Arlen 2nd division, BVC Cloppenburg regionalliga and my Great German team VFB Oldenburg, I played in these teams for 10 years in Regionnaliga and 2nd Bundesliga.
My first coaching station in Germany was with my former German Bundesliga team.
Looking at the Super Eagles over the years, what would you say has been the main problem of the team?
Their problem is first individual and must be proud to earn a call up to represent the Nation and must be committed and dedication but these days they don’t care and just worried about their spot with their clubs.
As a defender, are you satisfied with the Eagles back line?
No, am not satisfied with the back line. There is no coverage and balancing in our defence and as a result we concede unnecessary goals.
You have been in coaching, what laurels have you won?
With my youth team and College teams, we won State Cup in Texas and my boys at the U17 won the U17 German Youth Cup while the U19 qualified for Bundesliga U19 championship.
If given a chance by the NFF, would you be willing to come back to Nigeria?
Of course I will return home if given a job by the NFF. It will afford me a new challenge.
Nigeria’s age grade teams U17, U20 and U23 have not been doing well of late, what will you do differently to change the fortunes of the team(s)?
I will keep that a trade secret, First, I am from the grassroots and with my experience in Europe with youth and adult teams; I know the language and you have to go through or understand the language before you can be successful. For me personally, I just want to give back to the Nation and to do something else and to try build up our grassroot and give them confidence back and to teach them football Language and am ready for it if given a chance.
How would you rate the current Super Eagles?
The Super Eagles rating is average at the moment.
The team needs to be motivated to do more and the task is for the players because they understand what it means to lose their positions in their professional club sides.
Other ex-internationals like late Keshi, Franklin Howard, Samson Siasia have all coached Nigeria at different levels and their experiences leaves much to be desired. What is the driving force?
The driving force first is for you to have your philosophy and plan for yourself and be flexible with your plans.