I had a good time during the just concluded Presidential election. I was impressed with the whole process and the outcome didn’t disappoint me either! But my happiness was short-lived when Kano Pillars and Enyimba, once again, failed to make it to the lucrative group stage of Africa’s prestigious club competition -The CAF Champions League.
While Kano Pillars were disgraced out of the competition by a very tactical Moghreb Atletic de Tetouan, Enyimba did enough to snatch defeat off the jaws of victory against Smouha Sporting club! Pillars and Enyimba were beaten 5-2 and 2-1 on aggregate, respectively.
Pillars can easily make an excuse out of the robbery attack on the team. They could tell us how the attack demoralised them. They could say they missed their star striker, Gambo. They also could even try to blame it on the exit of Obiozor. So, Pillars can boldly say that they didn’t have a complete team going into the game. And that is where you would be forced to ask why 25 players were registered for the competition.
I’m still trying to think of a reasonable excuse Enyimba can render other than the alleged bias officiating against them(always their excuse). Maybe they could blame it on one of their players who spent his time on Facebook praising and posting pictures of a certain President who lost an election, instead of investing the same time on the training pitch! Or maybe they could blame it on another who spends time admiring his bears! Or perhaps, the blame should be directed to the player who loved the airport so much that he spent time taking pictures on the premises and posting it on Facebook too! Whatever is their excuse, it is lame!
The real excuse is that both teams are not technically good! The two biggest teams in Nigerian have the same issue and nobody seems to notice. Emordi and Ikhana are not fit to lead Pillars and Enyimba! African football has moved beyond the era when they both won the Champions league with Enyimba. While Paul Aigbogun spent the off-season break in UK sharing football notes with Arsene Wenger, Emordi and Ikhana were chilling somewhere in Nigeria, with the mindset that says “we’ve seen it all!” And it’s not coincidence that Aigbogun’s team is the best Nigeria can offer in the continent.
Sadly, I admit that there is no qualified coach in Nigeria who is capable of managing either Enyimba or Pillars. The best performance ever displayed by Pillars in the continent was under a foreign coach and don’t ever try to call it “luck” because the coach worked hard for it! Nigerian coaches have brazenly refused to upgrade their technical know-how and since our clubs are not professionally managed inorder to attract foreign and better coaches, we keep recycling a bunch of know-nothing managers!
Unless foreign coaches are contracted to manage our clubs, Nigerian coaches won’t see the need for refresher courses. Unless they sit at home and see that foreigners have taken over their jobs, they won’t deem it right to leave their nauseating comfort zones.
I’m one who opposes the hiring of foreign coaches but with the delibrate let down of the NPFL by our coaches, I have decided to welcome the foreigners. Unless our clubs start being professional and hire better coaches, I will still come back here to write a similar article.