ISSUES IN SPORTS ON SSI…with Nathaniel Mobolade

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Welcome to another amazing weekend on this column.Enjoy your ride.

CAF CONFEDERATIONS CUP:PLATEAU UNITEDS’ OUSTER..whose Blame?

It was far away in Benghazi,Libya on the 9th November, 2022,that all hopes was high and sure of the qualification of Plateau utd to the group stage of this year’s Caf Confederations Cup for the first time since they’ve been ‘consistent’ on the continent between 2018 and now.It would be recalled that the team has qualified for the competition three times without getting to the group stage, the reason everyone thought this was the chance to get it right. But what went wrong after winning the 1st leg in Abuja 4-1 against Al-Ahkdar?

The 2nd leg in Benghazi saw the visitors holding their host to a scoreless draw with the hope that the 2nd half will see them getting the needed score line of atleast qualifying to the group stage. Alas,it was not to be as Plateau utd lost steam and conceeded 3 goals that sent them out and dashed the hopes of their teeming fans in jos and around the world.

Who is then to be blamed for this shameful ouster?Is it the management that has done enough to get them inspired by providing the necessary logistics or is there something they did not do? How about the coaching crew led by Fidelis Ilechukwu,what didn’t they do well that led to this ouster? Or the players on their part were they inexperienced to withstand the pressure of playing on a big stage or they didn’t know the importance of playing in the CAF competitions?

Questions, questions, questions everywhere but where are the answers?

The coach, Fidelis Ilechukwu has tried on his own considering the fact the he just got a season with the team and almost won the NPFL title and qualified the team for the champions league but the experience against Esperance of Tunisia should have been one to learn great lessons from to face another North African team.

Personally, this writer expected both the technical crew and the players to have got some tips on the Libyans on and off the pitch;it’s a known fact that Al-Ahkdar are a high scoring side which was pointed out earlier by this writer but was anything done by the team? thats a question for them.to answer.Based on this ,it seems the players didn’t know what money is involved if they had qualified and the great impact it would have had on their career. Well,the rest is now history and to go and get their acts together for the upcoming season and possibly get a qualification ticket again. This is possible considering the pedigree of the coaches and players now is the team because by now the would have learnt great lessons.

What then is the next step to be taken by the management of the club?Regig the team from the technical crew to the players?or get the system right by having players tied to the club for 3-4 years with existing contracts?or continue getting players on loan and when they get contracts abroad they abandon the club in the middle of the season leaving the club stranded?

The outers by Al-Ahkdar was painful in the sense that the players outside could not ginger the players on the pitch and inform them.of the minutes left that they conceeded at the nick of time that eventually sent them out of the competition. The passion should have even driven the players to stand notifying the on field players to always kick the ball out to frustrate the Libyans.I remember Daniel Amokachi subtituting himself in an FA cup match while at Everton and eventually scoring 2 goals that day,though he was not meant to play but then the coach had no choice.Do we still have players with such passion, that’s the question for all?

This is a call on the management to sit back and ponder o. Where they got it wrong as a popular saying goes “he who does not know where the rain began to beat him,will not know where & how to dry himself”

This failure to qualify for the group stage is on Plateau United themselves because they seems not to know what was at stake.Imagine three DR Congo clubs..DC Motembe Pembe,TP Mazembe and Saint Eloi Lipopo; qualifying for the group stages.Whats stops Nigerian clubs,definitely not the politics of the game but not getting the system right.

Congratulations to Rivers United for the getting to the group stage via a 6-Aggregate against Al-Nasr of Libya.Wishing them goodluck in their quest to advance and possibly win the cup.For Plateau United, better luck next time out.

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