In 2019 after the CHAN Eagles were walloped 4-1 by Togo in an Africa Championship qualifier, the head coach of the squad then, Imama Amapakapo told Brilla that most Nigerian-based players can’t interpret tactics.
Probably when Imama made this statement, many would have disagreed with the former Abia Warriors gaffer and two-time NPFL winner based on the position that his side lost to an underdog. But the string of things before 2019 and afterward especially in CAF games has shown that most NPFL sides have not only failed in the area of tactics but have also been guilty in terms of materials used in carrying out critical tasks.
The biggest shock in the Nigeria football ecosystem this week was the defeat Plateau United suffered in Libya against Al Akhdar that eventually denied the Peace Boys a possible group stage ticket in the CAF Confederations Cup. The Peace Boys bottled a three-goal lead in the second leg within 35 minutes of play after they had held their opponent for 58 minutes.
Meanwhile, what happened to Plateau isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last a club will suffer such a waterloo. But the area of concentration is the fact that “affliction occurred the second time” which shouldn’t have surfaced.
Two weeks earlier, Nigeria clubs experienced a disparage that ousted Kwara United and sent both Plateau United and Rivers from their choice competition to a lower one. It shows we didn’t learn from our past mistakes.
If you observe the NPFL runner-up performance last season on the road, you will notice that they aren’t a favorite to record an away win. Last Season, Plateau United was fourth behind Remo and Rangers who shared second and third respectively as the best sides on the road. Asides from that, the Peace Boys conceded less than half of what they scored on the road. They scored 11 goals while they conceded a total of 23 goals to equal 47.8%, 0.56 goals per game, and 1.21 concedes per match. However, a club like Abia Warriors despite their flounderness were more decent on the road than Plateau United.
More also, Plateau United’s only solace last season was their good home run where they scored over 40 goals and conceded just six.
Their game against Esperance and Al Akhdar witnessed a poor display of goal-scoring chances by the Peace Boys.
Therefore, their journey on the continent only suffered a hitch back in away games. The Esperance tussle and Al Akhdar incident will be memories that won’t be easily forgotten by Plateau United fans.
Notwithstanding, Plateau United’s defeat is likely to be Barcelona’s humiliation at Anfield in 2018 during the Champions League Semifinal.
According to China Acheru in a WhatsApp group shared how the Dolphins were eliminated by Ghanian Club, Asante Kotoko. The Nigerian club won 2-0 in the first leg only to suffer 4-1 in the reverse fixture with the four goals coming in the second half. This means Plateau United isn’t the first side to be shortsighted in the continent and definitely won’t be the last as more “shege” will be seen in subsequent seasons if we don’t get our tactics right and put men worthy of the task in play.