Why NPFL Clubs Are Performing Poorly in CAF Competitions
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By Amaechi Agbo
Sixteen years after Enymba of Aba won the CAF Champions League back-to-back, no other Nigeria club has been able to achieve that feat with few reaching semi-finals once or twice in the past two decades.
For the past twenty years, Enyimba FC of Aba, Rangers International FC of Enugu has been consistent in the continent either playing in the Champions League of the Confederation Cup.
In 2017/18 season of the competitions, NPFL’s representatives, Enimba, Akwa United, Plateau United and MFM crashed out at the group stages with only Enyimba who was demoted from the Champions League to the Confederation Cup progress into the group stage.
Analysts have been wondering what had led to the fall in NPFL clubs fortunes in the continent which has been largely dominated by clubs from Northern and Southern regions of the continent.
Speaking in an interview, former Rangers FC Technical Adviser, Coach John Obuh said that the problem is not as a result of lack of quality players.
Coach Obuh who recently parted ways with NPFL side, Akwa United, said that several avoidable factors contribute to low show of performance my Nigerian clubs in CAF competitions.
He mentioned factors responsible for the poor performances to include sacking and recruitment of new players after the when a club wins the league or qualifies for the either of the competitions, sacking of coaches, lack of financial base or support or late release of same as well as poor preparations and unpredictable league calendar as being the bane of unenviable performances by NPFL clubs.
“You know very well that the beginning and end of our league has not always been palatable that will give adequate time for preparation for those clubs that qualified to represent us. It is one of the problems that could militate to not giving us a good performance.
“The exodus of players, in terms of recruitment whereby once a team wins the league, it goes into a refreshed shopping without having enough time to prepare them. It is one of the factors we are not doing well.
“The replacement of the coach who probably might have qualified them and may not be able to stay to work along with the players, is another factor.
“The sponsorship, that is the availability of fund for the preparation, (do not forget that it is a continental league and no more local) so nobody cares whether you are preparing or not. The other countries do not care whether money has been released for you or not, but once CAF has set aside the date and time of the match, it must hold accordingly. Nobody cares about anybody’s preparation.
“So we might not be doing well not because we do not have the qualities to make us do well but our calendar, method of recruitment, inconsistency of both coaches and players, financial support and period of preparation are the things that make it difficult for NPFL clubs to do well in the continent,” he concluded.