Nigerian social media space went wild on Wednesday when news made the rounds that former Super Eagles coach, Imama Amapakabo had joined Abia Warriors.
Why would that even be news? Well, love him or loathe him, Imama is one of the biggest draws as far as Nigerian coaching is concerned so if he sneezes, we would all catch a cold.
I let the whole day pass and then I decided to follow the news only to find out that Imama Amapakabo was not yet Abia Warriors coach, neither had he joined them in any capacity, so why the outpouring on social media?
Maybe, boredom on the part of the Nigerian football writers, michief, or ignorance on their part and I’ll explain.
At no time did Abia Warriors say Imama Amapakabo was now their coach. Neither did they ever suggest that he had signed the dotted lines for them.
The first paragraph of the Abia Warriors press statement went, “Abia Warriors of Umuahia and Coach Imama Amapakabo got the media space buzzing as news of both parties agreeing terms filtered the air”
Maybe the gentlemen of the media did not understand the difference between agreeing terms and signing a deal, but I will continue.
The last paragraph also said, “Coach Imama Amapakabo is expected to take over from Coach Willy Udube who had occupied the exalted position on an interim basis…”
So, these two paragraphs should have raised a red flag that Imama is not Abia Warriors coach yet because whoever crafted the statement was careful not to reveal much.
However, there was a contradictory paragraph in there that asks more questions than answer them.
Paragraph two said, “Abia Warriors teeming fans, journalists, pundits, and football enthusiasts held the Umuahia warlords management in high esteem for securing the services of one of the best coaches in the Nigeria Professional Football League.”
This certainly means they have secured him, No?
So, two paragraphs would not commit to signing him up and one paragraph says he has been secured so I did some digging and a source close to the club who should know, told me that Imama Amapakabo is yet to sign any deal whatsoever with Abia Warriors.
Then how did the media get the gist that he had joined the Umuahia based side? Because even the biggest of publications like Busybuddies.com, This Day and Complete Sports said there was a deal in place.
I will watch this space because my source in Umuahia tells me that there was indeed a meeting between the clubs and the Rivers born coach and no documents were signed, though there may have been a verbal agreement.
At Rangers FC Imama signed a proper contract and the same thing was done at El Kanemi. And there is no way, he would have signed for Abia Warriors without a contract but just word of mouth agreement.
So, has Imama Ampakabo signed for Abia Warriors? The answer a big, fat NO! Will he eventually sign for them? Maybe, maybe not, but right now he is still a free agent and could well be announced coach of Go Round FC soon if those at the NNL side have what it takes to drag him to Omoku.
I think the media feasted on that story out of boredom. There was really no story there except what it was that Imama Amapakabo and Abia Warriors had a meeting and made a verbal agreement. Like I could agree with you to meet at Mr. Biggs but until we are in the premises, it is what it is- Just a verbal agreement.
The NFF and the Nigerian CAF delegation
There is something happening in Nigerian football that makes me smile, knowing that European football is on and I do not have to bother about matters that cause more confusion than normalcy.
As hard as we have tried, we are yet to agree on who, from our league qualifies to play in Africa next season and this is not even the half of it.
First, the chairman of the League, Shehu Dikko announced four different options to end the season while he flew a kite (knowingly or not) that the 3rd option was the most feasible. At first glance, I thought it would be the 4th one though.
As usual, the Nigerian media, again either out of boredom or carelessness jumped on it and started discussing the 3rd option which was a Super 6 play-offs. They went as far as basically naming the venue as Benin and analysis bordered on how the Super 6 would work with the election crisis in the city and COVID 19.
It was mayhem on WhatsApp groups until the Club chairmen took matters into their hands to announce that they would stick with the 4th option which was to end the season via Points Per Game, PPG pattern. It was clear to all who sat down to think about it that there was no way that any more football would have been played in Nigeria this season but we love to live in a fool’s paradise. Maybe, that is the best place to live. Things are cheap and you get all you want, based on your imagination and nothing else.
But the crisis was just beginning as two clubs in particular kicked against it, Akwa United and Lobi Stars for obvious reasons until the League Management Company, LMC decided to go with Points Per Game which was even more confusing.
Some Points Per Game tables put Rivers United in 2nd place while others put them in 3rd, depending on if you go by Head to head or Goals Difference as tie breaker, but the NFF and LMC were silent on that until a few days ago when the Nigeria Football Federation came up with a press statement that may have done more damage.
The NFF statement on this issue simply read
– The league ends at current Matchday 25 and the Points Per Game (PPG) table will be used to rank the teams in order to ensure sporting merit and sporting fairness.
– The names of the Top 3 (three) clubs on the NPFL final PPG table as at Matchday 25 shall be submitted to CAF to represent Nigeria in the 2020/2021 CAF Inter – Club competitions (2 slots for CAF Champions League and 1 Slot for CAF Confederation Cup).
– There will be no promotion to, or relegation from, NPFL for the 2019/2020 season.
– The NPFL 2020/2021 season will start from September/October 2020 and end May 2021 subject to the full reopening of the country and the approval of the health authorities.
Did any one notice what I saw in this statement? The NFF cannot tell us the three clubs that will play on the continent, but will submit their names to CAF for registration?
How does my father register me in a Secondary School yet I do not know I am a secondary school student yet and neither do I know the school I will be attending?
Or were the three clubs told secretly? Then the question would be, why is that?
Let me guess, and this is because I am yet to have my morning cuppa so I am wont to think like a nerd.
There is an issue regarding who finishes in second place between Enyimba and Rivers United. They both tie on PPG, but Enyimba win the tie breaker via head to head while Rivers United win the tie breaker via Goal Difference, so which is it?
When there is no king, the people behave as they like
This is scriptural for those of you who go to church and I will explain.
Because, the NFF have not asserted themselves well on this, the clubs have decided to pick who they want in second place.
As soon as the NFF statement was made public, two Nigerian clubs reacted to it, Enugu Rangers and Lobi Stars. From their statements, it was clear to see what side of the divide they stood.
A statement posted personally by the Lobi Stars chairman, Mike Idoko read something like
LOBI STARS CONGRATULATES PLATEAU UNITED, RIVERS UNITED AND ENYIMBA FCs, ACCEPT NFF DECISION ON LEAGUE CANCELLATION..
The order of the names, Plateau, Rivers and Enyimba got me thinking and then I saw the one by Rangers
It said, Owumi congratulates Plateau Utd, Enyimba, Rivers Utd, Kano Pillars, Blasts NFF/LMC Over PPG
Rangers placed theirs in a different order. Does it mean any thing or is it just me over thinking this issue?
Note that Rangers did not issue a Press Statement, but Owumi allegedly spoke to a reporter on a Radio Station called, Jah Radio.
The point of all of these is that where there is no order then we will all behave the way we want and only the NFF can instil order right now.
Dear God! My 7 minutes are up!