How Sweden-based TikiTaka helps develop Nigerian players and clubs towards a football career at the top

By Nelson Dafe on May 30, 2018

TikiTaka Football Development Group has been playing a leading role in the development of players, coaches and clubs with a holistic approach where the player, coach and the club’s unique position is the foundation.

Over the last few years, the Sweden-based TikiTaka Development Group, having identified the talent pool available in Nigeria, has been cooperating with Nigerian grassroots clubs and players in the areas of developing the tactical, technical, and mental awareness of Nigerian coaches and players who have had the blessing of working with them.

Among the players in the slipstream of talents who have been facilitated to get clubs in Europe by TikiTaka are Joseph Junior, who has joined Swedish pro 1 side Mjällby AIF from his parent grassroots club, Generation Next and Pascal Durugbor of Benin City-based grassroots club Rock Star FC, who is now doing very well in Swedish third tier club Vaxjo United where he was signed in January and whose prospects of going on to get a bigger club has been greatly enhanced on the back of his impressive goal scoring form in the league where he's notched 7 goals in 7 games to currently place 2nd in the league's scorers chart.

Another player is Alhassan Yussuf Abdulahi of TikiTaka Academy Gothia Cup team who will join Swedish Top club IFK Gothenburg. People in TikiTaka talk about Alhassan strongly as a player who will be great in soccer. One top official said: "You will hear of him in a couple of months. He will surely be a great player."

Daily Sports recently spoke with the Founder, Part-Owner and Managing Director of the TikiTaka Development Group, Börje Gustavsson, from his Sweden base about a range of issues on TikiTaka's involvement in developing football in Nigeria and how player's career paths are uniquely enhanced as well as how Nigerian grassroots clubs, in dire need of financial returns for their work in developing young players, can benefit properly from doing business with TikiTaka.

Here's an excerpt of the interview.

Daily Sports: What do you consider to be the prospects and challenges of the TikiTaka project?

BG: We have seen Nigeria is full of raw talents, also a lot of hard working academy and club owners. The challenge is to get better training fields and have coaches adapt to modern trainings philosophy, like our unique TikiTaka Method.

What, in your opinion, is the greatest achievement of TikiTaka so far?

I must say it’s two. We have developed around 150 grassroots coaches in our TikiTaka Method. Secondly we have succeeded to, during the 2 last years, have a Nigerian U17 TikiTaka team in the world’s biggest grassroots tournament, Gothia Cup in Sweden. We are happy to participate in the Elite Group among 12 Swedish top teams and 12 top teams from around the world. Last year we went to the final.

What has been the biggest disappointment, if any, of the TikiTaka programme vis a vis working with Nigerian players and grassroots clubs?

The first years we were mistrusted. Too many players, coaches, managers have been cheated so I understand when we came newly to the Nigerian market, people were sceptical. Today I feel it’s much easier to be trusted.

What's the working relationship of grassroots clubs in Nigeria and TikiTaka like in the specific area of Transfer of players?

We have to know our focus is Development of clubs, academies, coaches and players. From the right Development transfers come natural. We know in Nigeria we also have think a bit of transfers in our programs. Therefore we started TikiTaka U17 Gothia team but also TikiTaka Pre Pro Camp.

When grassroots clubs send players to the Tiki Taka team, do the clubs lose their right of ownership over the players in the event of the players joining TikiTaka?

We always have an agreement with academies and clubs before we start a program which can end with a transfer. Without the fantastic jobs that Nigerian grassroots academies and clubs do, Nigerian football wouldn’t be as strong as it is today. Of course, they shall be paid for their work.

When next is the TikiTaka having a soccer program in Nigeria in which players and clubs can take part?

Recently we had screenings all over Nigeria of players born 2001 and later. 30 of these boys are now in a TikiTaka Camp. 18 of them will go to Gothia Cup U17 Elite Trophy in Sweden. Our TikiTaka Head Instructor Tommy Johansson will soon go to Nigeria to discuss to open a secondary school in which we will have football on the schedule. At the same time he will plan for a TikiTaka scouting Tournament in November. He will also visit an academy to develop their coaches and run some Training sessions for its players. Finally, he will visit our TikiTaka Gothia camp. We also plan to during the fall have a 1 week TikiTaka camp for kids in combination with a TikiTaka Coaching Course.

What support structure is there for players on trials in a European club courtesy of TikiTaka?

We have noticed it’s hard for Nigerian players to go directly to a trial in Europe. It takes time to be used to climate, Training methods, food, etc. Therefore, we started TikiTaka Pre Pro Camp where we prepare the players physical, technical, tactical and mental before trials. We also teach them written and unwritten rules in our western society. During the trial we are their ”ball wall” and mentors.

•Photo shows TikiTaka Founder Börje Gustavsson and some of the Nigerian players TikiTaka has helped to develop. From left to right: Wilfred Angel from MOM Lagos, Paschal Durugbor from Rockstar FC Benin City (now of Vaxjo), Guvstavsson, Joseph Junior from Next Generation, Alhassan Abdulahi of TikiTaka Gothia team.

Source Daily Sports

Posted May 30, 2018


 

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