If finding your way into a career as a player is easy, then football management should be just as easy, right? Well no, actually. Before he departed for Ghana, Freddy Adu actually reached out to a number of professional clubs seeking new first team managers.
One of his former sides, and the team he shone most for, Real Salt Lake, actually offered him an interview. But during the course of the 73 minute meeting, most of it was discussing his playing career, his accolades, or lack-thereof and hardly touching on why he would make a good manager. They wished him well in his future endeavors, and that was that.
Expansion team Minnesota laughed him off, using the excuse of his age as the reason for declining his application. Thinking he had set his sights too high, he reached out to Mexican side Dorados who also declined to offer him an interview. Bermudan side Dandy Town Hornets (great team name) were put off by the fact he hadn’t got any coaching badges. This led to him deciding to give up on the search for a manager role for now.
Speaking to Kwame Mundi, one of his oldest friends, who had agreed to come to Ghana for the couple of weeks Freddy first intended to, he had not planned to have anything to do with football and just wanted to relax, however the itch to get involved reared it’s ugly head. African football isn’t really shown outside of Africa, but during the first week or so he managed to watch a lot of games, even attending an Ashanti Gold friendly game.
There were plenty of managerial jobs available in Africa, but he felt he wouldn’t get any of the jobs in Ghana at that point, as they were all top division sides. He looked further afield at jobs in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon, but nothing jumped out as something a no name manager with no badges would get. Then he had a brainwave.
Finally, after playing for over 350 hours managing to get to the final mission in Metal Gear Solid 5, he thought about looking for jobs in The Seychelles, a tiny island nation off the East coast of Africa, sat in the Indian ocean. Most of the teams in The Seychelles are small, semi-pro or amateur teams, and luckily for Freddy, a couple needed a manager. He emailed both the teams that needed a manager, half expecting to not hear anything, but he was pleasantly surprised to be invited to a Skype interview that afternoon.
After answering the usual questions with the usual responses ‘I’m a motivator, I can steer the club away from a relegation battle’ and ‘I’m a manager that wants to win now, everything will take care of itself’ he was offered the role at Northern Dynamo on a 6 month contract
A couple of days later he and Kwame landed in The Seychelles and much to Freddy’s delight, absolutely no fan fare accompanied his announcement. This Northern Dynamo team is one that had been dragged perilously close to relegation and it was perfect for Freddy’s first job in management.
Absolutely no pressure on him to succeed, if the team gets relegated he can say he went in half way through the season and was fighting a losing battle from the off. But if he managed to keep them up, then he can say he went in and saved the team from certain demise. It’s a win win situation all around.
Accommodation wouldn’t be an issue. The money he made, of which it was quite a lot as it happens would be used to pay for rent on a small house near a beach in Glacis not far from the teams stadium.
As soon as he arrived on his first day there, he was pleased no one knew who he was, or at least no one asked him about it. According to the clubs solitary member of staff, assistant manager by the name of Innocent Ladouce, Marcus Maria is the best player at Dynamo. Not that it’s hard to be the best out of this lot, the coach remarked
During that first morning Freddy told the players they have 11 games to save their season ‘And don’t you think for one minute any of you are too good to go down!’ were his final words before they went out for training.
As he soon found out, the players in the Seychelles premier league aren’t the most technically gifted footballers, so they’ll need to play basic football and hope to grind out results, at least that’s the feeling early on. The facilities at the club, if you could call them that, consisted of 2 sets of dining chairs at either end of the surface that resembled grass, but looked more like green sand for goal posts, no markings mind you, and the solitary member of staff called the training sessions ‘character building’ or something to that extent.
Away against the league leaders St Michel FC was certainly as tough a test any new manager could ask for, in The Seychelles at least, but the Dynamo players were eager to impress, and despite going behind in the first half, they rallied back and produced some good long ball route one football to claim a very well deserved 2-1 win
Back to back 4-2 games followed in Freddy’s next 2 games, a win over Cote d’or and a loss away to Lightstars and a poor showing in a 1-0 home loss to Anse Reunion initially sent alarm bells ringing as the team found themselves bottom of the league with 7 games to go.
The first real test of Freddy’s young career then, in the form of motivating a team that’s won 3 out of 15 games, 2 of those wins coming in the last 3 weeks since he joined the club.
Next chapter – There should be no triumph, before the victory
Previous chapter – Potential is a priceless treasure, just like a mothers love