For a lot of you it is Happy New year and welcome to our new football season. I pray that this will be a great year for everyone of us.
Finally, The D day is here! The Super -4 Tournament kicks off today.
We have so anxiously waited for the chance to see our darling team again. Since that beautiful afternoon at the Teslim Balogun where we taught Dolphins an unforgettable lesson, a lot has happened albeit off the pitch but some real footballing action kicks off today.
We come into this one as the holders having won it last year. Abdulrahman Bashri, was the hero who netted 4 times in 3 games including a hattrick and we proved how good we are in the country again. However, unlike last year where we had four teams participating, we have the Flying Eagles and the Dream Team joining us. So it’s Pillars, Enyimba, Warri Wolves, Dolphins and the two junior teams.
I like the idea of having these teams join us as it makes the tourney even more fun, more football to watch and more time to really access the readiness of the teams.
Despite the fact that a lot of people are making it look like the World Cup, this tournament is nothing more than an opportunity for competitive fixtures for the teams before the embark on their Continental assignments. The CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cups start in about two weeks and playing against teams who are well and truly in their league season could see our Contingents stutter due to a lack of match fitness.
To be honest, we have prepared for this tournament in the worst way possible. The 30 players who made the trip have not been able to train as training began last week, a lot of them reported to camp one day before the trip. I don’t want to dabble into the grievances of the players and all- the right heads are looking into that.
We have a number of new signings who we will see at the ten day event. In defence we have Idris Aloma, Chima Uluocha, ex Abia Warriors captain, Ifeanyi Anaemena who we signed from Giwa FC and Goalkeeper Moses Ocheje. We signed two strikers in Peter Onyekachi from Abia Warriors and Okikimusampa Onomuefe from Nembe City. I also saw Ezekiel Bassey, some lad from Akwa United who apparently is with us despite going for a trial at Abia Warriors (Interpret that however you like).
Two notable absentees however are Mfon Udoh and Rasheed Olabiyi. Two of our best players. The former is said to be looking for a move outside the country while for Olabiyi, well, no one has not seen him yet.
I don’t expect us to win the Super-4 and according to Nzube Anaezemba in an interview here he said the chairman told them they are not going there to win the tournament. So let us deflate any hopes of winning the tournament. However that should not make us the whipping boys. Let the guys get some competitive minutes under their belt as we ready ourselves for a very long season.
For those of you who are unable to make it to Abuja, the matches are live on SuperSport. If you are not in Abuja and don’t have a SuperSport decoder, then follow the LMC handle @LMCNPFL for live tweets.
In Today’s fixtures Pillars will play Dolphins at 1pm while we play Flying Eagles at 3pm and then Warri Wolves play Samson Siasia’s Under-23 team at 5pm.
Enjoy yourselves wherever you are watching it.