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Fiery looking. Passionate. Ebullient. I can’t exhaust my verbal ammunition describing this charismatic Italian gaffer.

A warrior in his playing days not having the talent of his better skilled illustrious teammates – Zinedine Zidane or Roberto Baggio, but his industry and fighting spirit stood him out. A first class water carrier.

The guys who sacrifice a lot for the team maintaining the balance between the defence and offense shielding the rear, unfortunately they are sans media glitz and spotlight.

After a modest beginning in the dug out following a successful career as a player, leading Bari to the top flight, winning the Serie B opened the flood gate of an amazing career.

He will go on to win three Scudetti with Juventus and other domestic titles. He laid the foundation for the seven consecutive Scudetti won by the Old Lady.

Stamford Bridge beckoned. In his first year he won the premier league, the next was the FA Cup with a unique 3-5-2, that deployed wing backs as opposed to the traditional full backs whether marauding or sit tight.

Before Chelsea he led a modest Italian team to the quarter finals of Euro 2016, an Italian team written off by many before the tournament. The fairy tale recorded scalps of Belgium and Spain and ended as Azurri lost on lottery spotkicks to Germany.

He is at the San Siro leading Inter Milan seeking to end their decade hiatus as champions of Italy and in extenso the stranglehold of his previous employer, Juventus on the Serie A.

Still playing his trademark 3-5-2, he has blended the team efficiently. Interesting is the assemblage of outcasts accorded pariah status in their previous clubs.

Sanchez is not doted at United. Lukaku was trashed. Victor Moses severed from the obscurity of Turkish football after falling from grace at Chelsea post Conte’s exit, Ashley Young booted out from United, Eriksen a forlorn at Spurs etc.

These are the guys the charismatic Italian has blended into a tough unit poking Juventus in the eye and making many faithfuls of the San Siro giants dream for the league title.

He has not won the Champions League yet but he still has time. Besides not all good coaches won the trophy. Wenger never won it. Roberto Di Matteo did but has paled into insignificance ever since!

With the smoker and his bizarre methodology in Turin, it won’t be out of place to think Inter can nick it!

Antonio Conte is a great coach, in my reckoning he is in the mould of greats like Capello, Ancelotti, Lippi, Trapattoni and Saachi.

Conte is solid!

Written by Ifeanyi Agwuncha


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