Former Golden Eaglets captain, Olusegun Fetuga, was one of the best products to emerge from the Nigerian football academy in the mid-1980s.
Fetuga had his post elementary education at St. Finbarrs Collage, an institution, which produced the likes of Henry Nwosu, Stephen Keshi and Nduka Ugbade in Lagos. He was part of the school’s team that represented Lagos State at 1983 National School Sports Festival in Kaduna. He was also part of the St. Finbarrs’ team that won the School Sports Festival trophy in Ilorin, Kwara State in 1985.
In 1986, Fetuga was drafted into the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON) competition, touring some Scandinavians countries that include Denmark, Sweden and Norway in 1986, and emerged victories in all the tournaments. That was when the handlers of the national U-17 team, Golden Eagles, came calling for his service in preparation for the 1987 edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Canada. He made the team alongside the likes of Demiji Lawal, Phillip Osondu, Fatai Atere, Duere Tonwonrimi, Oladuni Oyekale, Taiwo Enegwa, Anthony Emodofu and Christopher Nwosu, and was on his way to lifting the trophy, only to lose on penalty to the then USSR in the final.
Two years later, Fetuga captained the Golden Eaglets to the World Cup in Scotland ‘89, with the likes of Victor Ikpeba, Patrick Mancha, Boboye Edon, Kayode Keshinro and Godwin Okpara in the squad, only to lose to Saudi Arabia in the quarterfinal. He returned to Nigeria a sad man.
Though, the team could not make it to the final in Scotland, Fetuga was able to distinguish himself in the tournament. He became one of the most sort-after players at the end of the tournament, with football scouts from Europe seeking for his service. He eventually landed in Belgium, with Zwarte-Leeuw FC (Black Lions) as his first port of call.
He later played for Dessel FC, Beescort FC also in Belgium, before relocating to Holland, where he featured for Spykennisso FC in 1997. Fetuga was forced to retire early from football due to injury he sustained while featuring for the Black Lions in Belgium.
However, his desire to make an impact in football administration took him to England in 2002, where he pitched his tent with the famous Charlton Athletic Institute for study of football management.
Speaking with The Guardian at the Park Inn Hotel in St. Petersburg, Russia, Fetuga said he deliberately ignored advice from friends and relations to go for coaching course in England because of its danger.
“When I arrived in England in 2002, many people advised me to go for a coaching course because I wanted to equip myself before returning to Nigeria. At Charlton Athletic Institute, virtually all those I came across were into coaching course, but I refused to join them.
“My reason for ignoring calls to go into coaching was because a majority of Nigerian players are always in a hurry to move to Europe for quick money. No one is ready to listen or carry out coaches’ instruction. And having put a lot of effort in my coaching job, I will ‘kill’ players who fail to carry out my instruction. To avoid committing murder in the name of coaching, I decided to settle for football management, and it is paying off,” he stated.
On his impression on Super Eagles outing in Russia, Fetuga said: “Football is like a biscuit, it breaks at the least expected point. After our victory against Iceland in Volgograd, many Nigerians jumped into the conclusion that we had a team that could beat Argentina. But that did not happen because our players failed to make good use of the chances that came their ways.
Source: G Sport