Obituary: Maurice Cooreman, The Man Who Loved Nigeria and It’s Football

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If the Nigerian league was to write an epitaph for late coach Maurice Cooreman, it should read a disciplinarian and a man with an eye for spotting and transforming talents.  

And that’s true to type as the Coach Cooreman in an interview five years ago, talked about his culture shock when players at Nigerdock arrived late for his first day in training.

The years after Maurice Cooreman’s first day in the league are filled with stories of a man who can fix a team with the right talents. 

Background

Cooreman led the defunct Ocean Boys to the Nigerian title in 2006 but was sacked in September 2006 and then rehired two weeks later.

He managed Enyimba from October 2006 to November 2008 and received a five match ban in April 2008 after attacking a referee.

He also ventured into the Ghanaian League when he was appointed manager of Asante Kotoko in November 2008. 

Maurice Cooreman Obituary

Cooreman has also managed the NPA, Bendel Insurance, Lobi Stars, Gabros, Akwa United, and Kaduna United back in Nigeria.

On 30 August 2010, Cooreman, who led Kaduna United to a historic Federation Cup glory for the first time for the state, decided to extend his stay with the team for another year.

On 20 February 2012, Cooreman was named the new head coach of Warri Wolves. 

Signed a one-year contract with Gombe United in October 2012 before resigning for health reasons in 2014.  

He was hired in March 2015 as coach of second-division Ikorodu United.

Taye Taiwo

Maurice Cooreman and The Three Million Transfer

Prominent amongst his work was his journey with former super-eagles left-back Taye Taiwo. 

Taiwo made the headlines when he was bought for a reported three million naira by Lobi Stars. 

Sources knowledgeable about the deal spoke about his earlier meeting with Taiwo at Nigerdock FC before the club was disbanded. 

After landing a job at Lobi, Cooreman wanted his powerful left footer, and he made sure Lobi Stars moved the earth to get him from Enyimba in a power move. 

Cooreman

Maurice Cooreman: A Grassroot Motivator Who Loves To Win

While his eyes for transforming talents are second to none, Cooreman was also a winner. 

In 2006 he led a previously unknown team, Ocean boys, to the league title, playing an exciting brand of football.

The brand of football was one thing, his ability to keep players grounded was the icing on the cake at ocean boys FC.

Richard-Bubagha

Coach Richard Bubagha, a member of the title-winning Ocean Boys, was part of the attests to his skillset. 

“Cooreman’s ability to nurture young players is highly rated by some of us that played under him.

He got it right in Ocean boys because he was a disciplinarian. He does not give room for indiscipline, and he also created competition in the team. You must do well in training to be in the starting 11. He does not see any player bigger than the other, and you ought to key into his philosophy and get ready to work.”

Presently working as a technical adviser at BYT ACADEMICAL Lagos, Bubagha still remembers the kind of man Maurice Cooreman was.

“Maurice Cooreman was a hard working tactician that knows what he want in a team”.

Bubagha’s Memorable Moment

“The moment that stands out for me was the game’s against Kaduna United n Sharks fc in NPFL 2005 season.

I single-handedly dismantled Kaduna United in a game we won 1-0… And I won the man of the match award.

And we went to port Harcourt n beat high rated sharks then, 3-1 in libration stadium port Harcourt.

Nobody knows tomorrow as life is too short.

May the almighty God grant my boss Maurice Cooreman internal rest in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Nigerdock: Where It All Began

To succeed in Nigeria, you need to understand the psychological make-up of Nigerian players. Cooreman demonstrated that knowledge as AIPS Africa president, Mitchell Obi gives insights Into him.

 “oh what a loss… The first foreign coach to win a domestic league title. Cooreman loved the Nigerian game and understood the Nigerian players. Had a stint with our own Nigerdock FC, now defunct. 

My deep sympathy and comfort to the family and friends of a sincere football heart. He could talk the game all day, and I hope the LMC will honour him in tomorrow’s games by directing clubs on parade to wear the black band. Fare thee well maurice”.

Cooreman took his first Job at Nigerdock Fc, and from there, his seed of talents molded in three years spread across the football landscape.

Maurice-Cooreman

Maurice Cooreman – Transformer of Talents

His trail of top talents in the league includes – signing Stephen Worgu, 2008 CAF champions league top scorer at Enyimba, who was sold then for $1m

He took Cyril Olisema to Gombe United. Shows he’s a father figure.

Also, he signed Elderson Echijile at Insurance of Benin,

Brown Ideye, Blessing Okardi (both at Ocean Boys),

 and Jude Aneke at Kaduna United.

The death of Maurice Cooreman in Aalst Belgium at the age of 79 brings to an end the story of a man who loved his football but loves Nigeria more. 

Marrying a Nigerian and leaving behind talented players that remind us of him.

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