Let’s face it, surpassing his own record from the previous season was always going to be a tall order. Still, the sacking of Ndubuisi Egbo by Tirana FC in November 2020 seemed most premature and pretty harsh to me.
At least, his achievements have been recognised in a manner in which one would have expected of a club where he served diligently in various capacities as a player, trainer, stand in coach and then full manager spanning over 10 years.
Being named coach and sports personality of the year in Albania is a fitting acknowledgement for the feat of phenomenal accomplishment pulled off by Egbo in winning the 19/20 Albanian Premier League considering where the was when he took over.
Winning no less than 16 out of 21 league games to drag Tirana out of relegation waters into becoming eventual league champions was a phenomenal accomplishment in itself.
Sadly, 5 losses in 8 games in the 20/21 season was seen as unacceptable by the club leading to Egbo’s sack.
But, was he given enough chance to turn things around? After all , he still won 3 games in that period. Moreover, what I found puzzling the most was that only 2 of those games were league matches: games against KF Teuta and KF Kukesi in which Egbo recorded 1 win and 1 loss.
For me, this has to be unprecedented! Sacking a coach that led the team to league title the previous season after just 2 games in which he won 1 has to be ludicrous. It would seem as if crashing out of the Champions League and losses in cup competitions were too painful for the Tirana board to swallow.
Since Egbo’s sack, Tirana have won just 2 matches out of 10 and are currently languishing in 6th position (which won’t be good enough for champions league qualification next season if they end up there).
Where are their priorities?
“I don’t have any regrets or disappointment because I gave the maximum,” was how Egbo maturely responded to being sacked at the time.
And why should he? Leading the team to the league title, winning a European Champions League qualification match and having a long unbeaten record last season are milestones that Egbo can look back on with much pride, more so as an African.