Fresh from winning the WAFU B tournament and qualifying Nigeria for the U-17 AFCON, coach Yemi Olanrewaju returns to the VFC squad only to find himself appointed the new acting head coach of the team.

In his first interview as handler of the team, “Star Coach” as he is fondly called, speaks about his new role, national team experience, and his target for the rest of the season. 

V: Congratulations on your triumphant campaign with the Golden Eaglets, you must still be brimming with excitement.  

Y: Thank you very much, I have actually put that behind me and focused on the next target, which is ending the season on a good note with my club. Though I still get recognized where ever I go since we won the cup for Nigeria. But I'm focused on the next step. 

V: How important is the national team experience to your coaching career? 

Y: The experience has been huge, you know I have coached at every level of the league and the only thing missing was the National Team. It came at the right time and in my first attempt, we won an important cup for Nigeria and we qualifed for AFCON in Algeria. That is really huge for my career progress. 

V: What are your thoughts on Henry Makinwa’s departure from the club?

Y: Coach Henry is a good man and  thorough professional and I have a lot of respect for him just like he has for me too. It was sad the recent results could not go our way and probably why he left. But that is football, sometimes, things come tough for you when you give everything and come good sometimes when you give a little. He gave everything for the club and he will always be remembered for the good work he did and for being a thorough professional. 

V: So you are back and have assumed the role of acting coach of VFC. How have the first few days been?

Y: It is been fun because I know the club in and out and the players. Just focusing on their psyches and with little details that could win us games. Though all I had in mind was to come back and have some days rest because it has been weeks of serious work in the national team and I really wanted some days with my family. But when the call came from management, and the latest development was explained to me, I couldn't say no to them because my style is about giving my all to my employers. The club has been so good to me and have shown so much trust in me. I had to resume work same day I came back to Lagos. 

V: Your first competitive game has been delayed (against Gateway), but there’s a friendly on Sunday against Sporting Lagos. Are you under pressure to perform?

Y: I do not think I am under any pressure, we have just had two training sessions with emphasis on the way we want to play from defense to attack and with few details to be added to our game. We will take each game as it comes and the main focus is really against Gateway. We will do some experiments against Sporting Lagos on Sunday and still fine tune a style that will win us the game. We have to put recent results behind us as that really do not describe or represent our strengths as a team. We are far better than the results we have gotten recently. 

V: What do you think about the quality of the current squad?

Y: The players are decent and can compete at any levels. I have so much trust in the squad and believe they have what it takes to deliver. Though we have to improve on some areas and departments. 

V: The season looks effectively over with a winner likely to emerge next week. Would it matter were we finish this season?

Y: Of course we want to end the season on a high note even though it seems like the promotion is over for us. But we have got to end the season well and put smile on the president’s face. He has given alot to the club and I think we are indebted to him and the only way we can pay him back is by winning and playing well. 

V: Interestingly you have a two-year contract with the Lions meaning you’ll still be here next season. What should we be looking forward to?

Y: I do not really want to talk about next season for now as the focus is on ending the season on high note. Thereafter, we can think of the way out for everyone. Everyone knows I love the club and I have refused some offers in NPFL just to respect my contract and not jump ship. But, I think for now, everyone's focus should be on ending the season on a high note.

V: How would you ensure your national team job won’t be a distraction? 

Y: It is really tough combining both, but this is my job and I am sold out to the job. There will be balance between both and I will show 100% commitments to both assignments. For me, I count it as a privileged to be a national team coach and also working for a top and organized club like Vandrezzer FC. 

V: Any word for the fans?

Y: I will want to say thank you to our dear fans for always supporting us. Also, they should never stop supporting the club - win or lose. They should understand the environment and one or two challenges that is not in our hands. VFC will make them proud and we will always need their supports and encouragement.

V: Thank you Star Coach, all the best.

Y: Thank you very much too. 


Media Watch: Read the latest VFC transfer rumours