Coach Adebayo Gbadebo: The ‘Unsong Hero’ of Thailand Football

June 19 12:31 2020


Edwin Evbie

Adebayo Gbadebo may be an unknown name in Nigerian football but the
Nigerian born football manager is a colossus and currently the rave of the
moment in faraway Thailand as the Manager and Head Coach of Suphanburi Football Club in the Thailand Premier League.

Gbadebo, who had an excellent playing career in Nigeria and Asia started his football career as a centre back at the then wave-making Stationary Stores FC of Lagos between 1990 and 1993 where he played in the semi final of the African Champions Cup in 1993. He was also invited to the Nigeria National U-20 and U-23 teams while at Stores. He had a brief stint at Eagle Cement FC of Port Harcourt and moved abroad afterward where he signed for Al-Bourj FC of Lebanon. He was a stallion in the defence line up of the team between 1994 and 1998 beforemoving again, this time, to Mohun Bagan Athletic Club – an Indian professional football club based in Kolkata, West Bengal, renowned as one of the oldest football clubs in India and Asia having been founded in 1889. Gbadebo, who was at the heart of the defence, led the team to an all high 2nd position in the Indian Soccer League and champion of the Indian Cup shield.

Two years after arriving in India, the University of Ibadan Sociology graduate and 1991 Sheffield (UK) World University Games veteran then moved to B.E.C. Tera Sasana F.C. of Thailand in 2000 where he led B.E.C to win the Thai Premier League and the quarter final of the Asia Champions League in the 2000-2001 season. In 2004, he moved to the Indonesian club PSPS Pekanbaru. After a successful playing career that took him from Nigeria to Lebanon, India, Indonesia and Thailand, the Asian Tiger eventually retired into coaching and got
his Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Coaching “C” Licence in 2006 and the “B” Licence 2 years later. He completed his Futuro 3 FIFA/AFF MA Administration and Management Course in Bangkok, Thailand in 2010 and obtained his AFC Coaching “A” Licence in 2014 and acquired the AFC Pro Diploma Licence in 2019.

The Lagos born Coach, who is fondly called “Adebayo” by fans commenced his managerial career in Thailand as the head coach of Bangkok Christian
International School Senior and Under 15 soccer teams between 2007 to 2009 and was appointed the General Manager of Thai Port FC in the Thailand League, winning the FA Cup with them in 2010. In 2011-2012 season, Adebayo became the General Manager and Technical Director at another Thai club, Rajpracha Football Club where he served meritoriously.
With his fame and reputation rising by the day, the former University of Ibadan Student Union Sports Secretary was appointed as the technical director and head coach of Suphanburi F.C. in 2012. The management decision was a masterstroke as he achieved outstanding results almost immediately. Adebayo reformed the
club to run professionally and secured promotion from Yamaha League Division 1 to the Thailand Premier League in his first season and broke into the top four teams in the Thailand Premier League. Suphanburi Football Club is rated among the elite clubs in Thailand Premier League to this day.
Adebayo charging his wards before the start of a game in the Thai league
Adebayo also has tremendous experience training youths. In 2013, Adebayo
single-handedly raised and developed the Suphanburi Youth team with an
average age of 19 years, preparing them for the future of the club. Seven months later, as the head coach of the youth team, Adebayo and his young starlets emerged zonal champions and subsequent Runners up in the Final of 2013 Coca Cola Thailand National Youth Tournament.

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