It’s uncommon to see a black manager lead a top club in Europe and it is a sight never before witnessed that an African would guide a European side to a league title until the former Super Eagles goalkeeper made history last weekend
Praises continue to flow in the direction of record-making Nigerian coach, Ndubuisi Egbo, whose successes with Albanian champions KF Tirana has been compared with the triumph of the United States’ first African-American President, Barack Obama.
In the face of a multitude of challenges, ranging from racist attacks to being handed a team stuck in the relegation zone, Egbo achieved the impossible by leading KF Tirana to the 2019/20 Albanian Super Lig title last weekend – the club’s first league crown in 11 years.
It’s the first time in history that an African coach will guide a European team to a league title and qualification for the Uefa Champions League.
Egbo joined Tirana in the nineties first as a goalkeeper. Then he became a goalkeeper trainer and an assistant coach – before Tirana entrusted him with the role of a head tactician in December, following the sacking of the previous manager, with Tirana eighth in the 10-team division.
Speaking to BBC Sports, Egbo confessed that it was not an easy feat at all. “We were going to have to play off for the relegation zone,” he said.
“We were more than 15 points away from the team in first place. But out of 23 games, we won 20. You can’t imagine how difficult it was for us.”
But the rare triumph as made the 2000 AFCON silver-winning goalkeeper the man of the moment on the continent.
Accolades have trailed Egbo since his record-making feat, especially from other African and black coaches, who now believe that his achievement will open doors for others.
“My fellow Africans said, ‘you don’t know what you’ve done for us by winning this championship’,” he said.
“It is just like when Obama won the Presidency in America. That’s exactly how it is seen here.”
But Egbo is not done. He returns to the dugout on August 1 and will attempt to guide Tirana to a double as they line up in the Albania Cup final.