The players ages range from 7-18. The club was formed to help the youth in Niger and to teach them patience and tolerance between the races and religions. The players and their opponents are of Christians and Muslims faiths which can create a little tension within the team and when they face off against others. The coaches are always trying to find and work with young fútbol talent in Africa.
Yakubu wanted to give something back and help out the youth in Nigeria: "I started coaching soccer to contribute my quota to the development of my community," Yakubu said. "[The] majority of [the players] are restive and from a poor/poverty stricken family."
Yakubu says the team has four coaches. The manager is the head of the technical crew, the first team coach is in charge of the day to day training of the players, the goalkeeper trainer is in charge of training of the goalkeepers, and the fitness coach ensures the fitness of both the staff and the players. Yakubu's position is the first team coach.
Yakubu has confidence in his talents as a coach and understands he is a role model to his players. He says one of the goals of coaching the kids is helping them in their development and maxing out their potential, possibly turning some of them into future stars.
The team has a quote that they take to heart: "Never Say Die, Until The Bones Are Rotten." "It means we don't give up, nothing is impossible, and it's also a sign of readiness," Yakubu said.
Yakubu acknowledges that the team doesn't have a lot of exposure or formal training. He says, "Having access to professional training and meeting experienced managers will help in a long way to improve [those]."
The inspiration for the coaches of the Zarumai Warriors is putting smiles on people's faces. "I am open-minded, so attacking is my style. Attacking equals entertaining, entertaining equals more chances, and more chances equals victory," Yakubu says.
Yakubu is a strict coach, and he needs to be one. "[I'm] very strict because of the background of the players. They lack discipline," he said. Yakubu said he wants his players to come away from playing for his team with the outlook to be inspired to be great. "Soccer can teach us much about the situation of life, whether [a]win or loss, nothing's impossible. He hopes his players see that, like soccer, life can be fun, full of laughter and, at times, sadness (losing a game!).
One of the team's biggest dreams is touring other parts of Africa and other parts of the world: "It's our dream to do that and our first destination shall be SOUTH AFRICA," Yakubu said.
I asked Yakubu about the 2010 FIFA World Cup (hosted in South Africa, Africa's), and he said it was the proclaimed best World Cup ever, "The best I have seen. The world was told that the best can come out of Africa." The 2010 edition of the World Cup was hosted in South Africa and it marked the first time Africa had hosted a World Cup.
Yakubu and his team continue to do great work in the Motherland of Africa. Their ambition to help the young people of this world is a great reminder of how much promise and potential every child has.
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