Monday Dec 26, 2016. 12:24
Kingsley Sokari scored his second goal in his last three games on Friday and immediately confirmed that the recent arrival of Nestor Clausen as coach at CS Sfaxien of Tunisia has pushed him to hit greater heights this season.
The former U20 and U23 Nigeria international is enjoying his best spell at Sfaxien, who ended the first half of the 2016/2017 campaign top of Group A of the regular season ahead of the country’s champions Etoile du Sahel .
And he put it all down to Clausen, the Argentine who took over the reins at the club in late November.
“I would say I’m enjoying a new lease of life,” said the 21-year-old Sokari, who was one of Nigeria’s star performers at the FIFA U20 World Cup last year.
“This is not saying I was not giving my best before the new coach took over. But I can say I’m performing better now because I’ve been given a free role in midfield. I have been given the opportunity to express myself.
“The former coaches employed different tactics and there were times I was put on the wings. I never complained because I had played there under coach Kadiri Ikhana at Enyimba.
“But I think this coach saw the best of my qualities right from the first day he took training and gave me the role of the play maker in midfield, which is my original role from when I started my career in Nigeria.”
Ironically, the ex-Eco Football Club of Lagos upstart had missed Clausen’s first game in charge, the 3-0 home win over Sidi Bouzid on November 27 .
Due to an administrative mix up, Sokari did not attend the coach’s official unveiling and was suspended by the management.
However, he was back in the team for the 2-2 draw with Hammam Lif in the Tunisian Cup. And after an impressive display despite the goalless draw at Zarzis three days later, Sokari opened his season’s goals account in the 2-1 win over Ben Guerdene on December 10.
He hit the back of the net again as Sfaxien went into the winter break with a 2-0 home win over Tataoiune on December 23.
The former Nigerian league and Cup winner is back in the country on a short holiday and will jet out to Bahrain with Sfaxien for an eight-team tournament in the first week of January.