The Chairman of Enugu State Football Association, Chidi Offor-Okenwa, on Tuesday in Enugu described the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season as the toughest ever.
Offor-Okenwa said his submission was on the basis of the fact that as many as seven clubs were being threatened by relegation in the NPFL Championship this season.
He said it was unique that Rivers United, which are in the 13th place on 49 points, are as threatened as the 19th– placed Gombe United who have 43 points.
“We have just two matches to go, which is six points to fight for.
But having the team in the 13th position, which is about four places above the relegation zone, being threatened shows us that it is a tough contest.
He added that the fact that only one club of the league’s 20 clubs had been confirmed relegated after 36 matches has also helped to underline the quality of the competition.
“What I am seeing in the ongoing league contest is a photo-finish, because football is a respecter of nobody.
So, for a club to pull off a draw in any away match at this stage is not going to be easy,’’ Offor-Okenwa said.
Speaking on Rivers United’s inability to impress on the continent after a good start, the football official said it was all due to poor management syndrome.
“It is unfortunate that most of our clubs suffer poor management syndrome, because their participation in any continental competition ought to have been a surplus,’’ he said.
Offor-Okenwa said Nigerian clubs often neglected their responsibility of recruiting players that would serve them in the three competitions — CAF Champions League/CAF Confederation Cup, NPFL and Aiteo Cup.
“How can these clubs recruit just between 30 and 35 players, with only 16 being quality players who can play in competitions and the rest being fringe players?
“The human being is not an engine, because at a point those players will get tired and this will leave the club with the problem of lack of depth,’’ he said.
The Enugu State FA Chairman then urged clubs to start getting their priorities right to ensure good outings at both the continental and domestic levels.
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