Former Super Eagles star, Ndubuisi Egbo, has made history after he became the first Nigerian manager to win a league title in Europe.
Although the likes of Sunday Oliseh have managed a club side in Europe before, Ndubuisi is first Nigerian to go all the way and win a league title.
The 46-year-old led his FK Tirana side to the Albanian league title on Sunday evening. Although there are still two games left in the Albanian top-flight, Tirana were confirmed champions after the club’s nearest challengers, Kukesi, lost 1-0 at Vllaznia on Sunday.
As champions, Tirana will be Albania’s representative in the Champions League, and Ndubuisi could become the first Nigerian to manage a side in Europe’s biggest competition.
It was Tirana’s first league title in eleven years, but their 25th league title overall. Speaking after the win, the club’s president, Refit Halili, praised Ndubusi’s impact at the club.
“Egbo is the first foreign coach to receive the title of champion of Tirana. He has made an extra contribution. I take this opportunity to thank Kosta and Khafa as well as the directors, spokesman, the director of the stadium,” Halili said at a news conference.
Who is Ndubuisi Egbo?
Egbo, born in Aba, is a former Nigerian international that made five appearances for the national team. He was part of the Super Eagles squad that finished as runners-up at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations.
At club level, Egbo started his career with NEPA Lagos in 1996 before moving to Julius Berger the same year. After two years at Berger, he joined Egyptian club, El-Masry where he spent three years.
He left Egypt in 2001 to sign for Tirana. But after three years in Albania, he made a return to El-Masry. However, he left the club again in 2008 for a move to Albania, but this time to FK Bylis Ballsh.
Ballsh was his last club before he retired from the game in 2012.
When Did He Begin His Coaching Career?
Following his retirement, Egbo obtained his UEFA A coaching licence and was appointed as FK Bylis Ballsh’s manager in 2013.
However, he left the club just a year later to sign for Tirana where he was the goalkeeping coach for five years before he was appointed as the club’s head coach in 2019.
The former Super Eagles goalkeeper first took over as caretaker manager in December 2019, before he was appointed permanently three games later.
In the 16 games as permanent manager, Tirana averaged 2.69 points per game.
What Was His Reaction After Winning The League Title?
The 46-year-old is the first African manager to win a league title in Europe, but he hopes his success will open more doors for his colleagues hoping to manage in Europe.
“I feel elated. It’s yet to sink in, what is happening. I have been told that it’s a record in the African continent, what has just happened, as the first African coach to win the league championship with a European club.
It’s a victory for Nigeria and victory for all African coaches, and I hope it will open ways for our coaches to be given the opportunity they deserve.”
What’s Next For Him?
Egbo will have the chance to do the double when they face Teuta Durres in the Domestic Cup final.
And as stated earlier, Tirana will be playing in the Champions League next season- although they’ll need to navigate four rounds of qualifying to reach the group stage. It’s a challenge Egbo relishes and has sent out a warning to all of Tirana’s potential qualifying opponents.
Speaking on the champions league, Egbo said: “it’s the dream of every fan, player and coach for their club to play in Europe.”
“We are not only going there to enjoy the anthem, but to win and reach the group stages,” he added.