Eddy Dombraye is about to make a return to the Nigeria Professional League after twenty-two years away and he plans to bring in big ideas as a coach.
Dombraye played in attack for Bendel Insurance, Iwuanyanwu Nationale, with a stint at Eagle Cement before he moved abroad to the Polish League and remained in Eastern Europe for twenty-two years, ending his playing career in 2009.
After he hung his boots he went into coaching and has been eyeing the Nigeria Professional Football League for the last three seasons. He also has a big idea for football in the League.
Dombraye told NigerianFootballer.com that he can bring a winning mentality back to the Nigerian Professional Football League.
“As a coach, I am open to offers but I cannot talk about coaching any of the National Teams.
“Yes, if I am called to coach any of the National Teams I will gladly take the offer but my main target is the League and to take a club to play in the FIFA Club World Cup,” Dombraye told NigerianFootballer.com.
“And the only way to do this is by winning because if you do not win the League, you cannot play in the CAF Champions League and if you do not win the Champions League you cannot play in the Club World Cup, so it is all about winning.
“Yes I know there will be obstacles and nothing good comes easy, so we do not have to wait until the environment is not conducive. That is always our excuse, so we have to work with what we have and try to reach our goals. We do not have to keep giving excuses all the time. I think it is time to work,” Eddy Dombraye said.
A definite coaching philosophy
For a man who left Nigerian football in 1998 and talks about winning the League and playing in the FIFA World Cup, it could sound very far fetched but the former ŁKS Łódź striker told NigerianFootballer.com that self-belief can never be the same as arrogance.
“This may sound arrogant but I do not see it that way. There are things you believe you can do and can achieve and if you are asked to say them, why not say them.
“If I say my dream is to play in the World Club Cup, I know what I am saying so why not say it? Besides, I have friends who are coaches in the Nigerian league and I talk with them regularly, learning from them and exchanging ideas.
“When you talk about philosophy, I think most of us coaches get it wrong. Some will say attacking football, so, yes attacking football, because if you do not attack you will not win, but there are things you have to put in place for you to attack. The team has to have individual tactical discipline. Every player needs to know his role.”
The soft-spoken former striker added that his coaching philosophy is very different and he has taken time to build on it.
“I do not like too much of the long balls because it will be difficult for you to win the ball back when you lose it, but when you play compact, short passes, then you can win the ball immediately.
“The more you control the ball, the more chances you have of scoring goals.
“I do not also like too much of the Barcelona style passing and possession football. You have eighty percent of the possession and it ends in a draw. All of us try to keep possession of the ball, then we have to shoot, follow up, and all that. Strikers shoot and the other players are standing and watching, What about the rebounds. We have to follow up on the rebounds so a lot of these little details we need to put together to get that philosophy that we say is attacking,” Dombraye said.
As a footballer in the Nigerian League, he played for Bendel Insurance and was a part of the team that won the CAF Cup with the likes of Peter Obanor, Mfon Bassey etc.
He also moved to Iwuanyanwu Nationale and had a short stint with Eagle Cement on loan at the CAF Champions League in 1998 before going to Europe to play with LKZ Lodz in the Polish League.
After three years, he moved to Stomil Olsztyn, and then he played with OFK Beograd from 2002 to 2003. From there he joined Volyn Lutz from 2003- 2005 before he moved Ikva Mlyniv on loan before going back to Zakarpattia Uzhhorod for four years until 2009.
A few years ago, he decided to go into coaching and he had good working experience with Fabrizzio Ravenelli in Ukraine.
“In 2018, I joined Arsenal Kiev because the president was Croatian and we had played together before.
“He proposed and I agreed because it would be a good learning experience, but before then I had my internship at Shakhtar Donetsk. Right now I coach individual players. First team guys who are recovering from injury come to me. I left Arsenal Kiev because they declared bankruptcy.
“But it was a good experience for me working under Fabrizzio Ravanelli because he was Italian and his philosophy was different from what we have here in Ukraine,” Dombraye said.
“Right now I have my UEFA C, B, and A badges so I am good to go.”
Dombraye had to call it quits with the game in 2009 after an injury cut short his career with Zarkarpatty FC in Ukraine.
Now after three years as a coach, he wants to return to Nigeria to strut his stuff.
He has self-belief and he sees it as his former stomping ground so it will not be an issue for him.
With discussions about the end of the current season in full voice, it won’t be long before clubs begin to prepare for the next. Dombraye may just be on the books of one of the twenty NPFL clubs.