Adebayo Gbadebo, a former Nigeria international has made an emotional graphic narration of how his father stopped paying his university School fees because he was invited to the senior national team, Super Eagles, Completesports.com reports.
This is unlike the present days when parents would do anything possible to make sure their wards were invited to any of the national teams.
“That was in my final year at the University of Ibadan,” Gbadebo, who is recently coaching in Thailand opened up during a personality virtual interactive session with Ex-University of Ibadan Footballers Association.
“My parents did not support my going into Football. I was discouraged, though they knew that I was good in the game, my father didn’t support me.
“Then, parents would only want you to read and go to school all through. I thank God for that, if not I could not be here today as a graduate of the Premier University in Nigeria.
“I thank God for a father who will take his stand at every point, and remained on it”.
Gbadebo is a pro licensed coach and is the technical head at Suphanburi FC, in Thailand the Premier League.
“My dad warned me seriously not to play football in the University, but contrary to his expectations, I started playing for my hall of residence the same week I moved into the school, and played for the school team same year,” Gbadebo recalled.
“I played for several clubs like 7Up FC, Union Bank FC, and Railways FC.
“It was when I was with Railways that they decided to play in the second tier of the league then, and the team was relocated to Lagos.
“When we went to NUGA, (Nigeria Universities Games Association) Games in Port Harcourt, I was selected to join the Super Eagles in camp.
“I was in the hall one afternoon, I was told that my father was looking for me. He came all the way from Lagos.
“I took him to my room, he brought out a newspaper and showed me a page, while asking me if that was my name among the players invited to Super Eagles camp.
“I answered in the affirmative. He left there and then. I was in the final year then.
“That was the end of his sponsorship of my school academics, because, I disobeyed his order.”
Gbadebo added: “I was not much bothered then because I had a team, Railways FC that were ready to pay me some sign-on fees and good salary too. I had everything rough though, including traveling to Lagos [from Ibadan] every day to train with the team.
“It also made me remain focused to achieve what my parents didn’t like, and what they liked.
“I was happy that I did not disappoint them, neither did I disappoint myself “.
Gbadebo, a center-back during his illustrious career days, explains that combining football and education is a personal issue, adding that the player would need to organize himself based on what he needs.
“It all depends on the quality of the player. If you are good, clubs will come for you and support you on how to succeed in your education,” he explained.
“But, if you do not have the qualities, just focus on your education first”.
The former Eagle Cement of Port Harcourt defender would also recall that Dutch coach, Clemens Westerhof, exploited Nigerian players’ physical qualities to achieve results during his five-year reign as Nigeria national team coach.
Gbadebo continued: “I was invited to join the Super Eagles team immediately after the NUGA Games hosted by the University of Port Harcourt in 1990.
“When we got to the camp, we mixed up with the other home-based players like Friday Ekpo and (now late) Thompson Oliha among others.
“I think, as a coach now, I now know what he (Westerhof) did most then.
“He focused mostly on players who were ready, he worked much on their physicality to prepare the team.
“I think he did an excellent job then, but as a foreign coach, he should have done better. He focused on our physical qualities, because he knew what we were made of, and our style of play.
“He put it on our zeal and passion to play the game. But, there was nothing much on tactical, only pushing, running, and getting ready for games”.
Gbadebo shines brightly in the defense of Stationery Stores 1993 squad that reached that year’s CAF Champions League semi-final.
They also invited him to Nigeria’s U-20 and U-23 national teams as a Stores’ player.
In 1998, Gbadebo moved to Mohun Bagan Athletic Club – renowned as one of the oldest football clubs in India and Asia having been founded in 1889.
Gbadebo, who was at the heart of the defense, led the team to an all-time high 2nd position in the Indian Soccer League and champion of the Indian Cup.
The University of Ibadan Sociology graduate and 1991 Sheffield (UK) World University Games star moved to B.E.C. Tero Sasana F.C. of Thailand in 2000 where he led the side to win the Thai Premier League and reached the quarterfinals of the Asian Champions League in 2000/2001 season.
In 2004, he relocated to the Indonesian club PSPS Pekanbaru.
After calling it time on his illustrious career with spells in Nigeria, Lebanon, India, Indonesia, and Thailand, Gbadebo veered into coaching and gained his Asian Football Confederation, AFC, Coaching “C” Licence in 2006 and the “B” Licence two years later.
He finished his Futuro3 FIFA/AFF MA Administration and Management Course in Bangkok, Thailand in 2010 and got his AFC Coaching “A” Licence in 2014 before acquiring the AFC Pro Diploma Licence in 2019.