Abridged league: Why eventual champion may not do well in continental competitions
How prepared is Plateau United for the upcoming season?
I cannot say we are not 100% ready but we have done our best to make sure the team ready for the Sunday game. I believe as the league goes on in the next two, three weeks, we will be ready for the competition. For now we have to try our possible best to get the result that will encourage us to be in good shape and in good time.
How physically fit are the players having not played a competitive game for some months?
The players are match rusty having not played a competitive game in seven months and it has to be gradual. Players will be match fit if they play matches and the matches are not there. We will be playing three games in a week and will be match fit in the process.
But as of now, we are trying to get them ready through some friendly games and make sure that they play some games before the commencement of the real competition. The challenges we face is that some clubs have played some pre-season games which are more competitive but we did not have that opportunity.
It is because of the challenges we faced at the beginning, which we have solved.
Can you share with us your projections for this season?
The truth is that I have my personal objective as a coach and my personal target is to win the league. I have finished fourth, third and second and what remains is to win the league. And the collective target of the team is to win the league as well. We have a common target. I believe working together we can achieve it.
What is your position on the abridged format for the upcoming league season?
Abridged league has some disadvantages and advantages. Instead of playing 38 games in a 20 team format, now we will play 27, 28 games, 10 games less than before. Secondly, if a team makes mistakes at the beginning, it’s very difficult to recover because the numbers of matches are less.
In so doing, you produce a champion that if the league is longer might not be the deserved champion thereby Nigeria will be sending a representative that are not strong enough to represent the country in international competitions. Since we know the disadvantages, we will try our best to make sure we don’t make mistakes as there is no room to recover.
Do you have new players ahead of the new season?
I have recruited some new players. At the beginning I worked with the players on ground and that’s how I operate. Now I try to see if they fit into my philosophy and if there are players I can add to make my philosophy, so easy for the group, I quickly do it. I started with 25 players and later added 12 more players to the team.
What is your take on recent remarks by Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr that NPFL players are not good for the national team?
I can’t say he is right because I believe we have players in Nigeria league that have represented the country at the highest levels and have won laurels. When Sunday Mba in Nations Cup and we won, he came from the domestic league.
At that time, we had a central defender from Sunshine Stars (Godfrey Oboabona) playing regularly in the team. I believe we have such talents, the only problem we are having is the organisation of our league.
Last season we were not able to finish the league and presently, players in the league stayed seven months without a competitive match and where will the national team coach now see players he can invite to the Super Eagles. I think he is right, but we have the players that can effectively fit into the Super Eagles.