It was an ambience moment in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday evening after Ekiti United 2-1 over Dynamite FC of Iyahmo to book a place in the Nigeria National League play offs.
The duo of Isiaka Olawale and Kamoru Adebari put smiles on the faces of the fans with their respective goal. Although it looked impossible but thanks to Osun United 2-1 over Go-Round of Omoku to end the Rivers-based club hopes of any chances of finishing ahead of the JFK boys for a place in the NNL Super 8 play offs.
Nobody would have imagine Ekiti United earning such feat in the NNL, especially breaking a 25-year jinx of qualifying to play in the Super 8.
Ayodeji Ayeni started the job, Omiponle completed it. Excellent! A similarity of “Paul planted, Apollo watered”. But the success wouldn’t have been completed without the players and everyone who were involved directly in one way or the other.
After the moment of joy and excitement over the long awaited victory, some things still look puzzled about the teams ability to survive the next stage “Super 8” which will produce four teams that will make it to the Nigeria elite football league.
Super 8 is quite different from the NNL”. That is, what works (worked) for you in the NNL may not be potent enough to see you through this stage.
Two seasons ago 3sc (Oluyole Warriors) got eliminated at that stage. You can’t compare Ekiti United to 3sc in terms of team structure and others.
So the fans have been trying to live about feeling and see if the recent joy won’t be short lived when their darling team play’s in the Super 8.
That made me remember my lecturer, an astute Sunderland fan for over a decade felt sad when the old lady failed to earn promotion during play offs to the second teir of the league.
I can imagine the feelings when other Journalists mock my state team and there absence to grace home matches especially when it will be broadcasted live on Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) media spaces.
The one million dollar question is does the team and management have all it takes to fight in the super 8?
Eventually they fought and won, can they survive in the NPFL?
These and many more rows into the hearts of people about Ekiti united.
About 70% of clubs in the Nigerian league are owned by the Government, this category Ekiti united solemnly falls in. Amidst the 70% very few can boast of proper welfare packages.
The ability of a team to sustain in the league is synonymous to the money power of that team.
Club like 3sc have been tipped to earn promotion to the NPFL just because their is funds readily available by the Government. The club has gotten a new look since the recent administration.
Back to Ekiti United, the team without a bus, how do they intend to travel to wherever the Super 8 will hold? Not to talk of other welfare packages.
Can the wages given to any players facilitate any to join the team?
Paradventure, the team promotes to the NPFL, can the government solely sponsor the team to “world class” like Enyimba or Akwa united?
I remembered when the commissoner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Micheal Awopetu asked Indigenes to supoort the State owned team.
What calibre of players can the team parade next season?
Hope Super 8 isn’t a means to expose the team?
What about the stadium? I wouldn’t say the pitch is or isn’t the NPFL standard because I haven’t seen all clubs that play in league pitches.
For a club to thrive in the league it is expedient for them to have a well dugged hole filled with funds. After money comes good management to manage the resources available.
The Super 8 is tough while the league is tougher, to sustain in the league is the toughest.
I would love Ekiti United to surprise folks during Super 8 but my fear is “what the team has and what they need”.