SPORTS PERSONALITY: KWSG should restore KFA’s lost glory – Paul Odey


Paul Odey is a former Technical Director of Kwara Football Academy. In
this interview with MIKE ADEYEMI he speaks about how the philosophy of
the founding fathers of KFA has been derailed and the urgent need for
Kwara State Government to come to full sponsorship of the academy and
bring back its lost Glory. Excerpts:

What are the things you were able to put in shape during your time as
Technical Director of KFA?
My achievements are numerous. I was instrumental to ensuring that
Clement Westerof  came to this town to stay. He was very skeptical
about coming here. I made sure that all the technical and other staff
were recruited.
I did a lot to make sure I bring in young players in the likes of
Dennix Bonaventure, Gbenga Arokoyo, Monday Samuel, Banabas Imenga and
They are very many of them we have sustained to stardom. Apart from
that ,we have some junior ones too we tried to graduate into the U-17
and national team. We also won Shell Cup during my time and won lots
of state league competitions.
During my time, no team comes here without being beaten. At Kwara
Football Academy then, it was all about playing the game in the right
way. At KFA then, it was all about  drinking football, eating
football, dreaming football and achieving football.
How would you compare Kwara Football Academy then and now?
I must tell you one thing, it is  two different entities. Because you
would not expect KFA of today to perform in football in terms of
technical ability.
Recruitments into the academy today is not par excellent. What is the
norm now is who has the money to pay becomes student of the academy.
Unlike before, we go to Kaduna, Enugu, Warri, Abuja, Lagos to recruit
the best legs.
Like when we were in Port- Hacourt, we had a total of 3,000 players to
screen from. We were able to pick 7 players out them. So it was
absolutely par excellent then and every thing was free.
Then we had a super team which is no more now. So Kwara Football
Academy of now is far short of what it was then.
Though, it is still KFA with the mandate to raise players , but the
challenges are that the very best players may not have the money to
come. And if you give him scholarship, what is the nature of the
scholarship? Or you give him tuition and left his father to do the
Would you say the objectives of the founding fathers of KFA have been defeated?
Yes. It is long defeated.
Yes. The Academy was meant to produce the best legs based on what the
philosophy of that Academy is. Look, we have lots of good legs on the
street. The likes of Rasheed Yekini , Finidi George and others were
discovered on the streets, they didn’t go to school.
Let me tell you. The initial dream of KFA was very simple. Parents
wants their children going to school, children wants to play football.
A child would say, if I don’t play football I woun’t go to school.
So we sat down and thought about it. We said the best is to build a
bridge between the two, education and football.  So we married the two
to make KFA what it was. That is why everything was going well.
Today, yes football is played there, but what is the quality of the football?
The quality is no more there rather quantity.
In what way do you think the Kwara State Government can come in to
restore the lost glory of the academy?
The Kwara State Government must come back to the full sponsorship of
the academy, with good quality of staff and coaches which it desires
and stop playing politics.
Politics goes with football, but not the way it is going on there.
As Technical Director, Kwara Beach Soccer, has the game come to stay?
Kwara beach soccer board has just be inaugurated. It’s a new terrain
all together. To most people in the state, they don’t know the
difference between football and beach soccer.
The difference is not much. Every body that play beach soccer should
be able to play football.
Beach soccer has come to stay in Kwara. We are hoping to play a
competition in Patigi soonest and with time the game will gain its
full awareness in the state.

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