NPFL: How have newly appointed managers fared?


A change in managerial role for a club side is one thing and then plausible upturn in fortunes and other things – results first and foremost is yet another.

Of course, much of modern management are made to look like a high-rise circus act where coaches are meant to majorly evince efficient tactical dispositions which would lend itself favourably in markedly improving the team, or at least improve it all the same. There is even that luminous degree of brainstorming therein such in the sense that an inefficient managerial change is outrightly a wrong one whilst that enviable belter of rampant success, irrespective of how it is achieved, gives away the notion of the right one.

Some of these could seem sphinx-like but what is of imperative necessity as we take a brief look at how the new managers this campaign has fared with their club sides in the NPFL is that results are ultimately important in the rapid forming of public opinions.

Before the 2017/2018 NPFL rendezvous flagged off, the topflight saw at least eight major managerial changes which bore the inscrutable subtlety of bubble or burst embedded within.

Paul Aigbogun was reappointed by Enyimba for a third stint with the People’s Elephant, Gbenga Ogunbote moved to Enugu Rangers, El-Kanemi Warriors swooped for Imama Amapakabo after narrowly missing out of qualification for a CAF competition, Wikki Tourists plumped for Bala Nikyu, Ladan Bosso formerly of El-Kanemi teamed up with FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Cameroonian Emmanuel Deutsch was handed the reigns at Abia Warriors, Mohammed Babaganaru replaced Aminu Musa as newly promoted Yobe Deserts Stars coach while Katsina United jettisoned Baldwin Bazuaye for Abdullahi Usman Biffo.

These aforementioned clubs have enjoyed varying degrees of fortunes as their managers bid to prove their mettle for their respective employees.

Enyimba has so far reaped the best of dividends if these managerial themes are anything to go by and with the Aba-based side currently perched on fourth spot, level on points with second-placed Kano Pillars and trail leaders, Plateau United by just a solitary point, it is no secret that Aigbogun’s pragmatism is swiftly working wonders for the most successful side in Nigerian club football yet again. Katsina United and Enugu Rangers complete the quartet of these revolving clubs who are currently in the top half of the table after ten rounds of games( United are in an impressive eighth and are three points shy of second while Rangers have accrued 14 points but just below the Chanji Boys) and are looking to have had the best of supervisory recruitments.

Perharps, the most remarkable of them is none other than the seventh-placed Yobe Desert Stars who continue to defy daunting odds since joining the ‘big boys’ in the top-tier, having now made their Damaturu Township Stadium a fortress. Put up a tad more resilience on the road and they are title contenders? That could be asking for more.

FC Ifeanyi Ubah bring up the chasing queue in 11th and are talent-wise, well stocked to string together a phenomenal campaign for themselves. They have 13 points for the season so far and could provisionally move as high as sixth with a win next time out.

El-Kanemi Warriors who finished as high as sixth last campaign under the guidance of Bosso are having a torrid season and might have to make do with riding the waves of relegation this time as Amakpakabo’s team, alongside Abia Warriors lie just a point away from the foot of the division table in 17th and 16th respectively — both teams have won a combined six games from a possible twenty and with ten losses shared out between them, including all away fixtures yet is hardly a very good form-script. As for Bala’s Wikki Tourists, the Big Elephants are not in any way, pulling up trees though they are still in the mix of achieving a successful campaign after garnering 13 points from a possible 30 but even that can be improved on, and quickly if their season would not descend into full-scale discontent.

The 10-game old campaign has long seen the first managerial casualty fall aside: Niger Tornadoes were forced to cut ties with Erasmus Onuh on the back of some insipid results which had left the club bottom of the pile while John Obuh could be next in line going by his latest ultimatum as his out-of-sorts Kwara United side have lost twice at home and also all but one of their away matches this season. Many more enthralling caveats are still certain to follow with the unpredictability of the NPFL continuing to roll out its magic and the managers as well look to flex their managerial muscles and try to imbue their technical know-how on their teams.


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