By Amos Joseph
We are approaching mid-season, and teams are beginning to count their fortunes in the 2015/2016 Nigerian Professional League. The League table captured the performance of all the teams involved.
After a convincing win in their week 14 encounter against Heartland FC and a slim loss to Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, fans of Ikorodu United became optimistic of a turn around in the fortunes of the club.
In their last home game, Ikorodu hosted Plateau United at Onikan Stadium in a midweek encounter with the Lagos side looking really good from kickoff, in fact it seemed like it was going to be a party for Oga boys. The pressure paid off as the home team took the lead to throw the half empty Stadium into a jubilant mood, at least for the few who made their way to the stadium to enjoy and support the team. It really looked like a party! But the visitors were unperturbed.
Unfortunately, the party was disrupted as the visitors struck and drew level to cancel Ikorodu’s lead twice and celebrated their draw at the end of the day.
Although they didn’t get a full capacity, but the few Lagos fans who took time out to see the game gave their support, shouted and cheered the team. Unfortunately, the home team were left disappointed with a 2-2 draw. Some supporters of the club murmured, “Take us to Agege Stadium, we don’t want Onikan”. The question is, are we to blame it on the stadium now?
The newly promoted side was handed an opportunity to play inside Agege Stadium against visiting Heartland on their 13th league match which ended 3-1 in their favour. Come to think of it, it was their own choice (club management) to adopt Onikan stadium as home ground upon their arrival in the top division.
As it stands, the club is rooted to the bottom of the log with just 10 points from 17 league games (2 wins, 4 draws and 11 Losses ). If nothing changes in a short while, they may return to the NNL. It is also important to mention that they had an awful outing in the Nigeria National League (NNL) Super Four, although it is sometimes difficult to judge a team based on its performance in pre-season. But could this be the case for this team as their performance sometime is questionable as to whether they had a pre-season as a team?
It is no time for blame game though, but it would be nice to examine, to review the season so far and plan towards the second half to avoid the looming relegation. The fans have clamoured to be taken to Agege Stadium to prosecute league games. Is it really an issue of the ground or how the team has fared in their outings?
On technical grounds, the team changed handlers in week 7 as Sam Okpodu took over as head coach. For a breakdown, the club’s first 10 league matches (2 home losses, 2 home draws, 5 away losses and just 1 win at home) and the next seven (2 home draws, 4 away loses, and 1 famous home win at Agege. Imagine if the club had been able to secure wins in their home games on If only they could secure home wins at least, it would have boost and helped their campaign.
Frankly speaking, this side lacks depth to grind result when it mattered. A check on the games they drew and some of the losses on home soil shows they were not just convincing enough! Can we say it is a matter of experience? May be the team management needs to consider reshuffling the squad when the window opens in mid season, and if it also deems it fit to test another ground, I think the League Management Company is ever willing to assist teams who have cogent reasons to change home grounds. Do they have one?
Culled from pageone.ng