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Journey Well Erico

By Desmond Ekwueme

Posted  417 Views updated 2 years ago

Arguably, TIKI TAKA started here in Nigeria long ago...before it was made popular in Spain.

Joe Erico arguably was the founder of Tiki Taka style of football....(this writer respects your opinion if you disagree). Erico was an Apostle of Brazilian style of football branded JOGO BONITO...but he modernised it to what is referred to today as TIKI TAKA.

Jogo Bonito is an act of keeping possession of the ball...knocking it around and attacking or advancing into the opponents area. It comes with flair, finesse and skill. Jogo Bonito involves virtually all the players of the team adopting it. It is a football policy once described by Erico himself as "pragmatic socialism". Give and take...take and give...

This style he introduced as coach of NEPA FC of Lagos. He did wonders with this style of football.

He produced teenage sensations like James Terna and perhaps Victor Skinn among others. The two were part of the best youth footballers to grace our domestic league and lit up Onikan Stadium in the late 90s and early 2000.

Erico equally was the one who gave goalkeeper trainer's position on the Super Eagles technical crew some meaning. It was under his watch as goalkeeper trainer that the likes of Ndubuisi Egbo and Murphy Akanji among others shot into limelight..

Others who got appointed as goalkeepers trainers like Peter Rufai, Ike Shorunmu and Alloy Agu took a queue from Erico's template.

Recall during his screening exercises as coach of NEPA FC of Lagos. He throws the ball without notice at any player while dressing up for training cum screening exercise... once the player catches the ball, Erico would ask, "Are you a goalkeeper?"

If the player replies "No coach"....he would ask, "So why catch the ball?" Why not control with any other part of your body?" "Why your hand?"

Instantly from the torch line, he starts training or coaching his team or players. He tells the players, "Only a goalkeeper uses his hands. Once you're on the pitch as an onfield player, you must remember that all parts of your body can be useful to you except your hand. So train yourself on how best to use all parts of your body to outwit your opponent and score goals".

That is Joe Erico at work. Sleep Well Coachie!!! Say us well to Chris Udemezue and Paul Hamilton....among others but most expecially the duo of Shuaibu Amodu and Stephen Keshi who you worked with at Mali 2002 AFCON

Joe Erico at Brilla FM Radio programme

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Joe Erico with Late Stephen Keshi and a colleague

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