Akwa United have unveiled their new head coach, Rafael Everton, following his appointed.
The Brazilian returns to Nigeria for a third spell in the Nigeria topflight, having previously coached FC Ifeanyi Ubah and Abia Warriors.
He takes over from Abdu Maikaba who turned down a contract extension at the Uyo side to join Plateau United because of family reasons.
Everton, who penned a one-year contract, was presented at the Godswill Akpabio stadium on Monday, with the club’s chairman Paul Bassey revealing that experience and availability were the deciding factors.
“We decided to go for a foreign coach as it were, but we also know that we needed a foreign coach with a lot of Nigerian experience,” Bassey said.
“We also eliminated some coaches in Nigeria for some obvious reasons. Let me repeat, that we’re going into an abridged league.
“Paul Aigbogun? Fantastic coach, and other coaches of the national team. But because of the work they’re doing with the national teams, there will come a time that these coaches will not be available to Akwa United. Therefore, I was very careful, because we’re starting with a new coach whose philosophy and tactics may be different, and he’ll need one season to be able to impart that philosophy into the players. Therefore, you cannot afford to be absent, even for one week.”
Bassey also disclosed that there were some Akwa United insiders who kicked against the idea of hiring a foreign coach, saying he dismissed those concerns.
“I’ve had people who tell me, ‘don’t bring a foreign coach. A Nigerian will understand us, and so on’,” he said, adding, “This man, having worked in Nnewi and Umuahia, doesn’t need another terrain to be a Nigerian coach.”
Everton, on his part, said he took the job because he likes ‘new challenges’.
“I like new challenges. I like Nigeria. It’s my second home,” said the former Abia Warriors coach.
Everton, during his first stint in Nigeria, led FC Ifeanyi Ubah to a fourth place finish in the Nigeria Professional Football League as well as an Aiteo Cup triumph. He resigned two days after the Aiteo Cup glory, though, after being offered a lesser role.
The Brazilian then returned for a second spell at the Nnewi club before the start of the 2016-17 season to assist Ghanaian Yaw Preko. Everton resigned barely two months later, citing external interference.
He took charge of his first training session as Akwa United coach on Monday evening•