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NAIRAWAY Forum / Sports / Mixed reactions greet Abia Warriors 2016/2017 league result (1 Post | 204 Views)
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Mixed reactions greet Abia Warriors 2016/2017 league result by nairaway(m) : 6:40 pm On Sep 10, 2017
Football analysts in Umuahia, the Abia capital, have expressed mixed reactions over Abia Warriors FC’s 12th position in the just-concluded 2016/2017 Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Umuahia-based club made a giant leap in the log after it pummelled Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt 4-1 in their last match of the season.
The match came up at the Umuahia Township Stadium on Saturday.
Speaking in separate interviews with NAN in Umuahia, many of the analysts expressed concern that the team had been inconsistent in its performance in the last two seasons.
Others, however, said that the team did their and should be commended for staying afloat and not relapsing into relegation.
The Chairman of the state chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Vincent Obike, said that Abia Warriors “have not been consistent in the last two seasons.”
Obike recalled that the team replicated its performance in the 2015/2016 league, during which it finished in the 13th position.
He said that the team started the 2016/2017 season on a promising note, occupying top position during the first stanza, but slumped to the relegation zone during the second stanza.
“This shows inconsistency,” he said, adding that the development could be attributed to the lack of fitness on the part of players.
According to him, it is possible that the club recruit players that lack the fitness to sustain the brilliant start in the first stanza till the end of the league.
He also said that the problem could possibly be due to management lapses.
Another soccer enthusiast, Mr Sunny Ogele, expressed feared that something fundamental could be responsible for the team’s unimpressive finishing.
“I feel that something is fundamentally wrong,” Ogele said, but said that it was not clear who to hold responsible.
“It is not clear whether the problem is with the management, coaching crew or players.”
“Is it due to the lack of motivation by the management or lack of commitment by players or should we blame it on the coaching crew?”
He said that the development “is not a good commentary for the club.”
Ogele, who is a Director in the Ministry of Sports, said that there was the need for the club to build synergy with its sister-club, Enyimba International FC of Aba.
The director underscored the need for the management of Abia Warriors “to understudy Enyimba management and see what they could take from the Aba elephants that could help to reposition Abia Warriors.”
He paid glowing tribute to Enyimba for qualifying for the continental championship against all odds.
Ogele said that it was gratifying that Enyimba qualified for continental competition, even when it played all its home matches away from home, due to the ongoing reconstruction of their stadium.
On their part, the chairman and secretary of Abia Warriors’ Supporters Club, Ifeanyi Onereke and Monday Keke, said they were happy the club did not suffer relegation.
Although, they expressed worry that the team could not sustain its impressive run in the first stanza, they expressed the hope that “the team will correct their mistakes next season.”
The duo called for an overhaul of the management team, in order to refit the club and build a strong and reliable team.
“It is regrettable that the club would start very well at the inception of the season only to struggle to escape relegation in the second stanza,” they said.
A former Director of Sports in the state, Mr Ejikeme Ikwunze, said that the team should be commended “for remaining afloat and beating relegation.”
Ikwunze, popularly called “Mr Football”, noted that some clubs that were on top at the beginning of the league suffered relegation, hence the team, coaches and management of the club should be commended.
Abia Warriors’ goal merchant, Effiong Ndifereke, who emerged the second highest scorer with six goals during the league, next to injured Sunday Adetunji, rated the performance of the team high.
He said that but for a few lapses, they would have made the first five teams in the log, promising that they would come out better next season.
The Chief Coach of the club, Biffo Abdullahi, attributed the team’s final result to “human mistakes.” He hoped that the problem would be collectively redressed by the management, coaching crew and players before the start of the 2017/2018 league.
Abdullahi said that the club deserved to be commended by the League Management Company (LMC) for providing peaceful atmosphere for visiting clubs to win matches in Umuahia.
“It is only here that other clubs come and freely play their games and pick a point. So LMC should write to congratulate Abia Warriors FC,” the coach said.
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