Lionesses’ Coach who built the team from nothing to the recent sucesses has revealed he does not have a contract. He was tempted to go out with players as a young coach but…His dream is to one day coach the Indomitable Lions.
He granted an exclusive interview to lions4life.com, Read excerpts below.
www.lions4life.com: Thank you for talking to us, we shall start on a personal note, could you tell us your educational background.
Enow Ngatchu: I did secondary school in College Billingue d’Application Yaounde, and later Lycee Billingue d’Application Yaounde where I obtained Ordinary and Advance Level Certificates.
I proceeded to the University of Yaoundé 1 where I obtained a Bachelors Degree in History. I later wrote and was lucky to pass the entrance examination to be part of the Higher Institute of Youth and Sports, INJS. I graduated as a senior sports and physical education teacher, major in football. I went to Germany afterwards on a scholarship from Ministry of External Relations, to the University of Leipzig, where I obtained another diploma in football, and later an A coaching Licence from the German Football Association. I came back toCameroonand was appointed as head coach of the National Female Football team. I also attended coaching courses in theUS,Braziland inAfrica. Concerning my football career I played with teams like Diamand, Fogap, Sable, Victoria United, Fap Elite One, Fogap Elite I and II, and many other teams.
As the eye of the family my father never wanted me to play soccer so, I had to continue my studies and was quite lucky because while playing I had no problem going to school so I continued without difficulties. Even while in the university, INJS and teaching in GHS Limbe, I was still playing with a first division team. I was captain of Oppopo when I was appointed as assistant coach in 2004 and that is when I stopped playing football. While teaching and training I was training Acada Sport now Njalla Quan Sports Academy which qualified many times for the inter-pools, and I won trophies with the youth category of the Njalla Quan Sports Academy. I also trained Njalla Quan in the Elite one and was also part of the staff of Astres of Douala for a year and we played the champions league and ended in the quarter finals. With Bamboutous of Bouda, I was in the staff in charge of observing matches, when Sonken Etienne and late Eteme were coaching. I can also say I was lucky because as a player, I was under the guidance of many renowned coaches such as Attah Roberts, Sonken, Manga Onguene, Ndjili Ndengue Pierre, Alexandre Belinga and Atangana. I also worked with Akono Jean Paul in Njalla Quan Sports Academy. I have been in the milieu for long.
Q: When did you finally take off with the female national team?
A:I was appointed in 2007 but started working in 2008 when I qualified the team for the Nations Cup. I was in charge of putting together all the categories: U-17 and U-20. I can be proud today because the U-17 that almost qualified for the World Cup is the team that is making Cameroon proud today because they are the same players that won a gold medal during the All Africa Games in Maputo, qualified for the Olympic Games and the African Nations Cup. This is the team I had in 2008.
Q: With your qualification, who are some of the coaches you can measure up to in Europe?
A: I am Enow and I don’t want to compare myself with others, and will not change my name. But, I have always admired Capello, I saw what he did with Millan AC, even when he was with the English team. I have always been myself though I try to imitate some coaches.
Q: But, do you know some coaches in your category, maybe you meet for trainings?
A: I was in the US with renowned coaches like, Alex Fugerson, Arsen Wenger, so I know all those coaches and have been watching them on TV. Their intervention in the coaching domain has really helped me a lot.
Q: When you look at how far you have gone, the achievements, are you a satisfied coach, financially?
A: Financially I can say yes but, I accept what God provides, I don’t need much and not less.
Q: But, compared to the Indomitable Lions coach?
A: No I can never be satisfied you know, I am a civil servant and I depend only on my salary, I spend more than what I receive, but, I do that for the nations and because I love the game. I want to leave a legacy in the domain. I don’t have a contract, I use my money to help build the team, and I am grateful that when I win a game I can have money but at times it is not quite sufficient. As a coach I will also like to sit in-front of a laptop, call players and discuss with coaches around the world on the performance of players and this demands a lot of money. I will also like to go out of the country to watch my player, see what they are doing, discuss with some, and get contacts with different coaches and Cameroonians playing abroad. But, this is not what has been happening so far, it is done with the male team but, I know one day, the authorities would do that.
Q: You qualified the Lionesses’ for the Olympic Games, how well do you know your opponents?
A: As I said earlier it would have been preferable that I go there watch some of their friendly games, come back home with notes that would help us progress. But, to be frank, I know them only over the TV and their performances. A team likeBrazilis the best in the world many times they have lifted the World Cup and the Olympic Games.
Great Britain has been participating in all the Olympic Games and the world cup and same for New Zealand. So, we are the novice, but what I think is that we just need to prepare very well. If we do, we can create surprises at the games.
Q: can your professional players measure up to those of Brazil, Britain and New Zealand?
A: We cannot compare the way they play in their clubs and in the national team. We have professionals now and that is why I talk of surprises, and we need to prepare very well, get good sparing partners, to start having an idea about international competitions. So far we have played only with African countries, but we are going to meet renowned countries in the world.
Q: What does it take to get the sparing partners?
A: I have made a programme to play withGermany,Canada,ScotlandandFranceand I am still waiting for confirmation. If we happen to play these countries we can get a standard ahead of the Olympic Games. I hope the programme would be respected.
Q: Why are you insisting on hope, do you doubt the authorities?
A: Not that I doubt the authorities but they should understand that this is a world competition where the matches would be watched all over the world. We would not want to disgrace Cameroon and Africa.
Q: You qualified the team for the African Cup any plans yet?
A: After the Olympic Games we shall prepare for the nations cup I have come out with a programme. These are two different competitions with two different objectives, we have got the players and our objective would be to win the African championship.
Q: what are some of the Challenges working with ladies?
A: It is same like coaching men. But, it is also quite different because with women you have to try to know how they live when not in camp, know their social behaviour, how to manage their life style and biological parameters which can influence performances. To be frank it has not been easy and with women you know each detail counts, you have to know how to talk to them, manage them, and solve internal problems. They have problems of petty jealousy, gossiping and are sensitive to certain words. But if you know how to manage them you can easily have results.
Q: Working with girls, do you not get tempted to date your players?
A: From the beginning I was tempted, I was quite young, but as a teacher I can’t lower my personality. Now there is mutual respect between us, everybody has limits, my job is coaching them and theirs is to deliver the result; that is where our relationship ends. I will use this opportunity to advice other coaches because as a coach if you start dating the players, you loose your personality and respect.
Q: And issues of Lesbianism in the team.
A: I always tell them that if they are caught in camp they are expelled from the national team. I have been doing that but, when they go out of camp I have nothing to do with their life style. Lesbianism does not only exist in female football, it is in the society. Even in male football homosexuality exists. It is rampant in the female team and I have been fighting but when they are in their various clubs I have no right to check them. They have educators.
Q: What has been your personal achievement coaching the Lionesses’?
A: I am still working but I can be grateful to the All Mighty God because since last year I have been winning trophies, qualified the team for the Olympic Games, won a gold medal in Maputo during the All Africa Games, and now the Nations Cup. I can only be grateful to God and I think he has greater things for me and I am working for that. We have been falling many times but I have never been discouraged we have the results and I am equally cognisant of the contribution of all. I have just been a tool used to for the successes of the team.
Q: Any personal ambitions?
A: I am working to one day train the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, and I know it will happen by the Grace of God. I am also looking forward to transmitting knowledge to the younger generation. I have started already, and if I can train as many coaches as possible to achieve great things in the development of football in Cameroon, I will be very happy.