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2014/2015 NPFL Pre-Season Super 4 Invitational Featured

Sunday, 01 February 2015 00:00 Written by  Published in Sportsvibe Read 857 times

Current development in the nation's football has received a boost with the ongoing Super Four tournament in Abuja. More so with the injection of two national teams namely; the dream team-Nigeria's U-23 team and the U-20 team. These two national teams in addition to the four clubs that topped the just concluded Premier League season have no doubt given a new dimension to the tournament. The clubs include; Kano Pillars which won the league back to back, Enyimba FC, Dolphins and Warri Wolves.

Kano Pillars FC players

The implication of this arrangement is that while Kano Pillars and Enyimba FC will represent Nigeria in the CAF championship League, Dolphins and Warri Wolves will fly Nigeria's flag in the CAF Confederation Cup this year.

Therefore, determined to improve the performances of the six teams in the various assignments ahead, the football authorities, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), and the League Management Company (LMC) strongly feel that the Super Four will be an opportunity to prepare the Samson Siasia led U-23 team for the All Africa Games qualifiers as well as for the Olympic games scheduled for 2016 in the city of Rio, Brazil. In the same vein, it will further enhance the performance of the U-20 team tutored by Coach Manu Garba who is equally preparing his side for the world youth championship in Chile this year.

Hence, both coaches and other stakeholders view the Super Four as a strong platform for their teams to face stiffer challenge and opposition which is widely seen as a chance to improve, overcome and eventually dominate the global stage. For the U-23, Samson Siasia and his technical crew led by Fatai Amao, know full well that there are no minnows in African football, more so that Nigerians will not expect less than an outright representation given our disappointing show and eventual exit from the AFCON competition currently going on in Equatorial Guinea.

On his part, coach Manu Garba must not take anything for granted given that the boys currently in the U-20 camp were his boys back then in the victorious U-17 squad. He must therefore leverage on the smooth transition of some heroes of the team. Again, pride and laxity must not be seen to be an obstacle to the success of the team which are already losing confidence in the eyes of their fans following the ousting of the Super Eagles from the AFCON tournament in Malabo.

In the quest to see to all of these, they have been paired with the four best clubs in the nation's Premier League. In the first set of matches played on Saturday the 27th of January, results recorded Kano Pillars defeating Dolphins 2-0, while the U-20 team washed Enyimba FC 2-0. Also, the fraction of the dream team led by Fatai Amao defeated Warri Wolves 3-1, while the other unit of the U-23 team that went to Tunisia for a full legged friendly with their Tunisian U-23 counterpart defeated their Nigerian counterpart 5-3.

Although, the traditional set up of the Super Four is to pair the four teams that topped the league with the four teams that got promoted from the lower division, some have always believed that it is a waste of time and effort. With this year's mundial making an inclusion of the two national teams, Nigerians are beginning to see the possibilities and probabilities of glory and failure in future permutations. Moreso, it makes a lot of sense to see that the four clubs representing Nigeria in the CAF clubs' games will have enhanced preparations given that the league season of 2014/2015 will not resume until March this year.

By implication therefore, the Super Four has provided a platform for both technical and tactical upgrade, better opportunity to meet up opponents from other countries whose leagues may have kicked up already. In addition, coaches of the participating clubs such as Okey Emordi of Kano Pillars, Kadiri Ikanna of Enyimba FC, Paul Aigbogun of Warri Wolves and Veteran coach Stanley Eguma will no doubt leverage on the challenges of the Super Four to edge out their opponents when the chips are down in the CAF showdown.

On a larger scale, the beauty of this tournament for the clubs is that some players in the game have been drawn from the senior national team. Players like Kano Pillars safe hands, Theophilus Afelokai and Warri Wolves goal keeper, Daniel Akpeyi. These all went to Dubai to do their nation proud in the friendly played against Ivory Coast and Yemen. More surprising is the displeasure and dissatisfaction expressed by coach Manu Garba in the 2-0 defeat of Enyimba FC by his boys in the ongoing Super Four.

As at press time, match day one recorded a total of 7 goals, with Nigerians waiting for the big one between the two national teams. This excitement in football is offered only by the Super Four organised by the Nigeria professional League (NPL) with the League Management Company (LMC).

Last modified on Monday, 27 July 2015 15:45
Kasali Obanoyen

Obanoyen is at the National Professional Football League (NPFL), managed by the League Management Company (LMC).