Maik­aba, Dogo, Ogbe brace up for new chal­lenges in NPFL

Weekly Trust - - Trust Sports - David Ngobua

In­di­ca­tions are strong that the 2018/2019 Nige­ria Pro­fes­sional Foot­ball League sea­son will com­mence be­fore the end of this month, af­ter foot­ball gov­er­nance is­sues forced the 2018 sea­son to end pre­ma­turely.

A re­port that is yet to be con­firmed by the League Man­age­ment Com­pany, LMC, stated that bar­ring last minute hitches, the new sea­son will kick-off on Novem­ber 24.

Be that as it may, clubs are busy with prepa­ra­tions for the 2019 NPFL sea­son as there is only one CAF Cham­pi­ons League ticket avail­able for grab by the even­tual win­ners of the league.

The Nige­ria Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion’s Man­ager of Trans­fer match­ing Sys­tem, Nasiru Jib­ril had an­nounced that the first trans­fer win­dow (regis­tra­tion pe­riod for clubs) which opened on Oc­to­ber 20 will close on De­cem­ber 20.

He also said there will be sec­ond win­dow as from 30th Jan­uary 2019 un­til 28th Fe­bru­ary 2019.

Con­se­quently, there have been busy move­ments in and out of clubs as ef­forts to strengthen squads are be­ing made by the 20 NPFL clubs.

While some clubs have em­barked on re­cruit­ment of tested play­ers to im­prove their for­tunes in the com­ing sea­son, some have gone a step fur­ther by hir­ing new coaches to guide their teams from the dug-out.

Although there are in­di­ca­tions that more coaches will change clubs be­fore the com­mence­ment of the league, at the mo­ment, only three no­table tac­ti­cians, Ab­dul Maik­aba, Kabiru Dogo and Bernard have joined their new clubs.

Maik­aba who guided Akwa United to sec­ond place fin­ish in the 2018 sea­son has left the ‘prom­ise keep­ers’ to join former cham­pi­ons Plateau United, former Nasarawa United coach, Kabiru Dogo has moved to Sun­shine Stars while former han­dler of NNL side, Mighty Jets, Bernard Ogbe has pitched tent with Niger Tor­na­does.

The trio are no doubt ex­pe­ri­enced coaches and ex­pec­ta­tions are high that they will bring their wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence to bear on their new clubs.

Maik­aba, one of the highly rated coaches in the NPFL has gar­nered enough ex­pe­ri­ence to han­dle any club in the league. Af­ter he made a name with ‘un­known’ FC Abuja, the man pop­u­larly called ‘teacher’ went on to serve his home club Kano Pil­lars as as­sis­tant coach.

He would move on to work as as­sis­tant coach in Eny­imba be­fore join­ing Wikki Tourists where he led the team to top four fin­ish back to back.

As the ova­tion was loud­est, Maik­aba re­fused to be held back by the whiff of con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball as he left Wikki Tourists to join Akwa United where he led the club to Ai­teo Cup suc­cess in 2017.

Go­ing by his vast ex­pe­ri­ence in do­mes­tic and con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball, Maik­aba is ar­riv­ing on the plateau with lot of prom­ises.

Al­ready he has pledged to help the am­bi­tious club to de­fend their league ti­tle. The im­plied mean­ing of what he is re­ported to have said is that as far as he is con­cerned, his present club are the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons de­spite the dec­la­ra­tion of Lobi Stars as 2018 ti­tle win­ners.

Else­where in Akure, if the words of Coach Dogo are any­thing to go by, the Sun­shine Stars of Akure who strug­gled to shine in the 2018 sea­son will glow once again.

The young gaffer too has paid his dues in the NPFL and is ex­pected to use the ex­pe­ri­ence gar­nered in coach­ing ABS of Ilorin and Nasarawa United to pos­i­tively im­pact on the ‘Akure Gun­ners’.

In ad­di­tion, he also boasts of con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball ex­pe­ri­ence with Nasarawa United. In a chat with Trust Sports, Dogo ex­pressed op­ti­mism that the lost glory of Sun­shine Stars will be re­stored.

“We have started prepa­ra­tions but by the spe­cial grace of God, we shall re­sume fully on Mon­day (Novem­ber 5). We are ex­pect­ing our play­ers and tech­ni­cal of­fi­cials in camp on that day.

“I have to hit the ground run­ning. So the man­age­ment of the club , play­ers and other stake­hold­ers are giv­ing me all the sup­port I need to suc­ceed with the team,” he said.

Dogo also said be­fore he set­tled for Sun­shine Stars, he turned down at least five of­fers from top NPFL clubs.

He said it was God that chose Sun­shine Stars for him and the same God will see him through his present as­sign­ment.

“As a mat­ter of fact, I had at least five good of­fers from top clubs in the league but Sun­shine Stars showed me love and greater com­mit­ment.

“More­over, the club was picked for me by God. God told me it is the club that I will work for. It is not hu­man be­ing that chose the club for me.

He, there­fore, promised to do ev­ery­thing hu­manly pos­si­ble to bring back the lost glory of Sun­shine Stars. Dogo said un­der him, the ‘Akure Gun­ners’ will shine again.

“So far we are do­ing ev­ery­thing hu­manly pos­si­ble to bring back the lost glory of Sun­shine Stars. It is team work and I believe we shall work to­gether to lift the club again.

On pos­si­ble changes in the team, he said “There is no coach who will take over a club and won’t in­ject few good play­ers into the team. That is what ob­tains even in Eu­rope.

“I am go­ing to add few play­ers to what I met on ground. The team is not bad but I am go­ing to beef up the squad,” he as­sured.

Sim­i­larly, ex­pec­ta­tions are high in the camp of the ‘Ikon Al­lah’ boys of Minna who will be tu­tored in the new sea­son by a vet­eran of the Nige­rian league. Af­ter 18 years, Ogbe re­turned to Niger Tor­na­does from Mighty jets of Jos.

In 1998/ 99 sea­son, he guided the club to third place in the FA cup now re­branded Ai­teo cup and in the fol­low­ing year, he won Tor­na­does’ first and only Fed­er­a­tion Cup tro­phy.

The Benue State born foot­ball tac­ti­cian who staged a come­back with Mighty Jets af­ter be­ing away for so many years had coached Lobi Stars, Eny­imba FC and Gombe United.

By his pro­file, Ogbe is ex­pected to do even bet­ter than Hamza Abara who suc­cess­fully nav­i­gated Tor­na­does away from rel­e­ga­tion when he was ap­pointed in act­ing ca­pac­ity fol­low­ing the sack of Eras­mus Onuh.

When ap­proached by Trust Sports to speak on his mis­sion in Niger Tor­na­does, Ogbe de­clined to say much as he in­sisted that he is not ‘a me­dia coach’.

By this he meant he is not the type of coach who makes ‘noise’ on the pages of news­pa­per as he said he al­lows his achieve­ments to speak for him.

How­ever, a close ally of the coach told our reporter that Ogbe is silently work­ing on the team. “He is not mak­ing noise but he is do­ing a lot to trans­form the team.

“He is not new to the club so he knows the ex­pec­ta­tions and what is ex­pected of him. I believe if he is given all the nec­es­sary sup­port, Ogbe will once again suc­ceed with Niger Tor­na­does,” he said.

In view of the above, so much is ex­pected from the sea­soned coaches who have left their former teams to go in search of lau­rels with their new clubs.

Former Nasarawa United coach, Kabiru Dogo dish­ing out in­struc­tions to his play­ers.

Newly ap­pointed Plateau United coach, Ab­dul Maik­aba

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.