There seems to be an uneasy calm in barely 48 hours to the kick-off of long overdue 2018/2019 following alleged showdown in waiting between the Club Owners and the league managers – League Management Company (LMC).
Blueprint weekend sports crew understand that Club owners are seriously spoiling for war as at the time of filling this report ahead of proposed Annual General meeting between Friday night and Saturday morning.
A club owner who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “we are going to Abuja to ask questions and we demand answers. Are we playing a professional league or a Fun League he asked? If it is truly professional, then we seek a professional approach.
“We don’t want the mistakes of last season to continue this season. We want a league that will end and end well. We need them to clearly spell out the format of the abridge league. We want to know if the end of season super 4 will decide the league champions and also what the prize money will be and how it will be shared.
“We want to know too if there is any take-off grant for clubs ahead of the new season? Are we going to play another hopeless season he asked rather rhetorically.
We will also ask them if the abridged league format will be sustained or they intend to go back to the former format next season.
“Do we have a new title sponsor for the league? Will the league be live on TV? these are two very key questions and we hope answers will be provided. Who is the new chairman of the NFF referees appointment committee, are there new rules we need to know, any workshops for players and fans ahead of the new season?
“It is only after we are convinced, that we can say another football season is here. My brother, if these questions are not answered and agreements reached, then forget it! we will start the season with crisis that will drag on till the very end he concluded”.
Meanwhile, Plateau United coach, Abdu Maikaba has disclosed that abridged league format adopted by the LMC for the 2018/19 NOFL season will be very difficult adding that one of the greatest disadvantages of abridged league is that it encourages match fixing.
Maikaba who spoke exclusively in an interview added that abridged league does not produce a worthy champion for the league.
“It is a difficult format because if you make mistakes, it will be very difficult to recover due to no time. But we will try our best to make sure we had a good take off. It will help us in the beginning of the league to be on top of the log and we can be able to finish in the top position. It will qualify us from the group to contest for the champions.
“The disadvantage is that if you make mistakes, you will not recover because there is no time. Secondly, it is better to be a champion when you meet all the teams, you will rank better as a champion. In abridged format, you can come from an easy group and become the champion; you might not be the best. Not like when you play 38 matches.
“For instance, we picked Lobi Stars to represent us because they have been leading the twenty-team league table and the choice was justified because they are making us proud in the continent. That shows that the choice was good.
“In the years passed, we played abridged league and there were so many issues after the league in deciding the winner and the teams that will go on relegation. Abridged league format gives room for match fixing. I remember there was a league where Insurance and Kano Pillars were winning. Insurance needed seven goals to be on top of Kano Pillars and at the end of the match, they won by 7-0. We will not forget that. Abridged league gives room for that,” he concluded.
The 2018/19 NPFL season will kickoff on Sunday, January 13 with 24 teams divided into two groups or “A” and “B” with the bottom four teams in each group going on relegation at the end of the season.
The groupings are:
Wikki Tourists, Bender Insurance, Rivers United Remo Stars, Rangers Int’l, Niger Tornadoes, Lobi Stars, Katsina United,
Kwara United, Sunshine Stars, Enyimba FC and MFM FC
Yobe Desert Stars, Gombe United, Go Round, Kada City, Nasarawa United, Abia Warriors, Plateau United FC Ifeanyiubah, Kano Pillars, Heartland, Akwa United and El-Kanemi Warriors