Maikaba highlights why Nigerian clubs don't perform well in CAF competitions

Published in local Written by  April 08 2020 font size decrease font size increase font size 0
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By Reliance Udoenyin

Head coach of Plateau United, Abdul Maikaba has disagreed with the opinion held by some that clubs who represent Nigeria on the continent from an incomplete NPFL season fail to perform due to playing less matches.


Nigerian clubs in recent years have recorded dwindling performances at continental level with Enyimba's semi-final finish at the CAF confederation cup 2018 being the height of success recorded since Sunshine stars CAF Champions League semi final finish in 2012.


Speaking in an exclusive interview with Today Sportlive of Today FM, Maikaba highlighted three reasons among others-including overhauling of players once a team secures continental ticket-that account for the poor performance of NPFL clubs in any CAF competition.


He said, "After a club in Nigeria qualifies for a continental Championship. That club will go for a total overhaul thinking that the players that qualify that team for the continent cannot even do that job. So they start thinking of bringing in players instead of identifying the gray areas they need to reenforce and do it as quick as possible and then go straight into preparation. I can remember in 2008. Kano Pillars were the Champions of the league. Immediately, after the league, they went on tour to South Africa to prepare the team and they did not change most of the players. That took them to up to the semifinal stage of the CAF Champions League."



Before the corona Virus inevitable break; all four of Enyimba and Kano Pillars; Rangers international of Enugu and Niger Tornadoes  crashed out of the yet to be completed 2019/2020 CAF champions league and Confederation cup respectively.



While Pillars were eliminated at the preliminary rounds of the Champions League, Enyimba who were relegated to the confederation cup could only manage a quarter final finish at the second tier of African club football. 



The Plateau United boss whose team currently sit atop the NPFL league table with 49 points, 4 points above second place Rivers united after 25 Match-days noted that exodus of best legs from the league each season in search for greener pastures also account.


"The second factor I can say [is that] most of our players [move] from Nigerian league to European leagues for greener pastures. As a coach you will make your plans with some players but during the competition or midway into continental Championship you see them moving out for greener pastures which will spoil your plan as a coach"



Niger Tornadoes qualified to the continent as finalist of the Nigerian Aiteo cup but were sent packing from the confederation cup at the first round before they could even taste the competition, losing 4-5 on aggregate to Santoba FC of Guinea whereas Rangers International saw the end of their sojourn at the group stage.



Maikaba who led Akwa United to win the inaugural Aiteo cup trophy in 2017 added that poor travelling arrangement for Nigerian clubs when going to prosecute CAF competitions is a factor that shouldn't be over looked.


"Most of the North African clubs come with chartered flight. That will give them more time to come and rest and observe their opponent with energy in them but Nigerian clubs will sometimes transit in another country for more than eight hours, ten hours sometimes a day before you link up with your venue of the match. When you go, maybe you don't have another ten hours to prepare to play the game. So, you will see most of the clubs in Nigeria lose their games away from home because of the way they travel. You find out that they lose woefully and they find it very difficult to recover when they come back home" he observed.


On the idea that Nigerian clubs leading on the league table don't record successes on the continent anytime and for any reason the NPFL is declared inconclusive, Maikaba argued; 


"I don't think so. It depends on the club on top of the log at that point. Does that club show any sign of consistency? Do they make good plans to represent the country after given that ticket?". 


Before the sudden break, 25 matches out of 38 have been played in the NPFL and Maikaba's team has maintained top of the league in 21 Match-days. 


The NFF will consider a review of the situation of the  corona virus outbreak in the country to decide when football activities will return. This review the NFF said will be after four weeks, starting from the 18th of last month.


Read 241 times Last modified on Last modified on April 09 2020

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