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Exclusive: I’ll breathe fresh air into Nigerian football – Marcello
Exclusive: I’ll breathe fresh air into Nigerian football – Marcello

New National StarNews by New National Star – News November 28, 2023

Meet Nigerian Coach who is making waves in Dubai. He spoke to our Sports reporter Esther Egbe of New National Star Newspaper recently where he talked about his career and more.

🎙️Egbe: “Can we meet you sir?”

Marcello: “My name is Anyanwu Marcello. I am a resident of UAE since 2013. I’m from Ikeduru LGA in Imo State. I was the former assistant coach of the defunct NPFL club side MFM Lagos, former Arsenal Soccer School coach in Dubai, former coach of Al Itiffaq FC of United Arab Emirates, and currently the coach of Gulf United Football Club Dubai, UAE.


“I studied Botany at the University of Uyo, a B.Sc. holder. I also have a Diploma in Coaching and Training from the National Institute for Sports, Lagos. I am a board member of Nigeria Grassroot Football Foundation, UEFA level 1, and also European Sports Education level 1 from the Norwegian FA, International Coaching Certificate from the English FA, Soccer Italian Style Serie A Certificate level 1, and Children Safeguarding Certificate Course. I am married with three kids.

“I am a brand ambassador of the Nigeria National League, Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria Ambassador (YSFON), Nigeria Football Supporter’s Club Ambassador (NFSC), African Football for All Ambassador.”

🎙️Egbe: “How did you get into football?”

Marcello: “I grew up in a football loving family, my late father was a great fan of Spartans FC of Owerri which later became Iwuanyanwu Nationale and now Heartland FC. He was also school teacher/game master and community football referee. Back then I do follow him to officiate community matches, that was how I became a football lover and developed interest in the round leather game.”

🎙️Egbe: “Can you please tell us something more about your coaching experience?”

Marcello: “My coaching is a gift. I never played in any league, be it amateur or professional. The last time I played competitive football was during my primary school. I developed interest in coaching when I was in secondary school – Emmanuel College Owerri – where I do sneak out occasionally between 8 am to 10.00 am to watch former Iwuanyanwu Nationale coach, Ufere Nwanko, train the players.

“I admired the way he controls the training and players’ progression of his training sessions and gets results. I said to myself, ‘I want to be like this man.’ I watched his morning training at times but never missed his evening training. I have my jotter that I use to jot and draw some of his programs. I have a lot of experience in coaching because I started coaching early. I have understudied many coaches in Nigeria (Ufere Nwanko, John Obuh, Nduka Ugbade, David Adiele, etc.) and foreign coaches. I have worked under English, Italian, and Spanish coaches.


“I am a certified football coach with a sound educational background.

– 2013: Won Interchurch Championship Cup in UAE (Head Coach).

– 2017: Won Friendship Cup for schools in Dubai (Head Coach).

– 2022: Won UAE Division 3 League (Assistant Coach).

– 2023: Won UAE League Division 2 (Assistant Coach).”

🎙️Egbe: What do you want to accomplish with your team?

Marcello: I want to win more laurels as an international coach.

🎙️Egbe: Why do you want to coach our team in particular?

Marcello: “I have a lot to offer to Nigeria Premier Football League, Nigeria National League, and the National Team. I have a lot of experience. I have done a lot of research on modern football coaching, football philosophy, education, and using information to play formations. Though I prefer to be a consultant for the Nigeria National Team.


You will face a lot of expectations as a football coach – from the players, spectators, parents (if coaching children), and other stakeholders.”

🎙️Egbe: How do you want to handle the pressure?

Marcello: “As a trained coach, you must know that you’re a role model. You must have an anatomy of how to react to some things, how to communicate, and how to handle pressure. Be mindful of the words you use; don’t say something that will hurt people and you can’t take it back again. Avoid favoritism in selection, respect the parents and fans.”

🎙️Egbe: Describe a conflict you had with one of the players you managed?

Marcello: “I have not really had any conflict with any player, even though some players have deviant behavior. I tried as much as I can to allow them to express their feelings always. I am a coach that wants to win. I always instill a winning mentality in the players; we always win together and lose together.”

🎙️Egbe: When did you decide to go for the position of NFF President?

Marcello: “It has been my dream to be the NFF Boss: I gave it a trial in 2022, unfortunately, it didn’t end the way I want it.”

🎙️Egbe: How was the outcome of the election? Were you satisfied or discouraged?

Marcello: “I was not cleared to contest. The electoral process was faulty. I got to hear about my disqualification on radio. I was not satisfied with the attitude of the electoral body. The umpires of the election didn’t notify me officially why I was disqualified. They didn’t respect me as a human being. They should have sent me mail, or SMS, or even called me to brief me. Rather, they went to the press and said it was an invalid nomination. It’s just a technical term to get me out of the way.

“I don’t want to appeal against that. I know it will be an exercise in futility. I have moved on. My disqualification has nothing to do with my capacity to breathe fresh air into Nigeria football.

“After the review of all situations regarding my elections, I have decided to leave everything for God.

“I have made a mark by obtaining the nomination form, and I am proud of myself, especially that I was not screened out because of personal issues bordering on my eligibility to run, but for a nomination issue. I want to congratulate myself and appreciate my family members and friends that supported me morally and financially. I will continue to contribute my own quota to football development in Nigeria, especially in the area of grassroots.”

🎙️Egbe: If you had become the NFF President what will you do differently from what is happening now at the glass house?

Marcello: “Develop and adopt a workable roadmap that will center on improving our grassroots football, both male and female.

“The two major problems in Nigeria are coaching and infrastructure. Ninety percent of the coaches are not educated; they don’t have the knowledge of the game. Coaching education is very important. We would have engaged investors to invest in infrastructures and liaised with the government to grant tax waivers to anyone that builds a stadium in Nigeria.”

🎙️Egbe: How grounded are you with the NPFL?

Marcello: “Remember, I started coaching in the Nigeria League. I know the terrain of the League. I also follow up from here. I have a lot of my friends that are coaching in the Nigeria League; we share ideas always. I follow the League from here.”

🎙️Egbe: What’s your favorite NPFL club?

Marcello: “My best club in the Nigeria Premier League is my State team, Heartland FC of Owerri.”

🎙️Egbe: If you are called to head one of the national teams will you like to take the offer?

Marcello: “I said earlier I would prefer the position of a Consultant of the National Team. Anyway, I wouldn’t mind serving as a national team coach.”

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