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Owolabi canvasses statistical support for Nigerian teams

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Enugu Rangers’ Bright Silas (middle) sandwiched by two Etoile du Sahel players during their CAF Confederation Cup match at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium…on Sunday. PHOTO: RANGERS MEDIA.

Former International, Felix Owolabi has decried the performances of the two clubs currently representing Nigeria at both the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup, attributing their not too impressive outings to lack of sufficient information of their opponents.

Enugu Rangers on Sunday lost 0-2 to Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, just as Lobi Stars were defeated 0-1 by Wydad Casablanca of Morocco last month in the CAF Champions League.

Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, a troubled Owolabi said his heart bled following Rangers’ loss, adding that if clubs representing the country at the continent had followed past history, they would have been better prepared to deal with their opponents.

“I remember in 1992 when I won my first CAF continental title after we beat the same Etoile du Sahel at the semifinal stage of the competition, we acclimatised at a neigbouring country before the match. If not, we would have been battered due to the cold weather in Tunisia and the result would have been worse. But at the end of the day, we lost 2-0; it could have been 5-0, 6-0.

“In the return leg, the match was fixed for 2.00 p.m. under a very hot weather condition. Under 20 minutes, we scored two quick goals, which I scored from corner kicks. Before they knew what was happening, a third goal had been scored through a penalty. They did not know what hit them and they got tired under the scorching sun. That is exactly what I think our club should do. But they have not made use of some of these important statistics,” he said.

The former IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan player added that most clubs today don’t seek for information of past engagements.

“Unfortunately, the case is not like that in Nigeria. But there is need for our teams to rely on past records of previous encounters so as to prepare better against their opponents because whether we like it or not it is helpful.

“A lot of other things like players unwinding by visiting their families to ease the tension in them. The need for a proper calendar that will produce a true winner of the league also needs to be addressed.

“In our country from January to December, everything is muddled up… there is always confusion everywhere. But we need to get it right and stop these embarrassments,” he stated.


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