By Gabriel Olawale
The Technical Director of FC Barcelona academy in Nigeria (FCBescola), Bernat Villa has urged the Super Eagles players to give more value to team work as it remains the only way they can go far in their World Cup campaign.
Villa who came from Spain to train the newly created academy in Nigeria said that Nigeria players are excellent individually but noted that such individual ability cannot take them far unless more emphasis is placed on team work.
Villa pointed out that the idea of training without football needs to be discouraged among coaches and players while more focus should be on the ball in everything they do.
“The success of Barcelona is not about access to modern technology, we always trained with football.
We don’t do anything without the ball, even if you want to work on physical condition of players, it has to be with the ball. The rule is that if you want to play football, always play with the ball.”
“In this academy, we are going to teach our players the power of team work while our local coaches will learn the importance of doing everything with the ball which is basic things that some local players and coaches here don’t respect. If they can improve in that aspect, I believe they can improve collectively and in tactical aspect.”
“There is difference in the way they train in Europe and Spain compared to Africa. In Nigeria the emphasis is on individual skill but they have to start working as a team. In a few years, we hope to see some of these players playing for national teams and our coaches also coaching the national team.
Speaking on the rationale behind the academy in Nigeria, Villa said that their aim is to share the brand, philosophy and Barcelona values across the world.
“We are here to improve Nigeria football not just Barcelona academy because our expectation is that in the next five to 10 years we want to see a new national team that will do well locally and internationally.”
“I’m here to explain Barcelona methodology and way of training to players and coaches in Nigeria. Football in Africa is so physical, the players are really good individually but not collectively, which is why we are going to lay more emphasis on team work and also on tactical aspect not just technical aspect.”
“From my experience in other countries where we have the same academy, the first year is always hard and stressful, because the philosophy of training here is different from Europe and Spain. However, I believe at the end, the kids will understand our value and way of training and they can start playing the Barcelona style.”