Plateau United target continental glory, scout for experienced campaigners
Since Enyimba of Aba won two back-to-back CAF Champions League titles in 2003 and 2004 seasons, no Nigerian club have come close to winning Africa’s biggest inter-club trophy. But that would soon change, according to Plateau United Coach, Abdu Maikaba.
Plateau United and Enyimba will represent Nigeria in Africa’s elite inter-club championship having ended the COVID-19 interrupted season as first and second on the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) table.
Maikaba knows that winning the Champions League, which is currently dominated by North African teams, will require more than the efforts they put in last season hence he has moved to fortify Plateau United for the task.
Chief among his strategy is to ensure that Plateau United get experienced and battle-hardened players. Acknowledging that no two matches are the same, Maikaba also plans to study all Plateau United’s preliminary and group stage opponents to understand the best possible weapon to deploy against them.
He said the first step is to ensure that majority of the players in the team last season are retained to allow cohesion in the team.
“What we have planned to do to ensure success during the preliminaries and group stage qualifiers is first to ensure that we retain the bulk of our players from last season. We will then strengthen the squad with new players.
“With the support of the state government and all stakeholders, we hope to start preparations immediately to put the team in competitive mode for the competition. Already, our management team has gone ahead to organise a COVID-19 test for our players.
“As soon as they give us the go-ahead, we will begin close camping with the players to work on strategies away distractions. While in camp we will play friendlies with top teams in neigbouring countries to see how the players react in competitive situations.”
Maikaba said he is still studying why Nigerian clubs fail in international competitions to find means of ensuring Plateau United break the jinx. “This is a very big challenge for us because if things occur repeatedly for some years, it means there is a problem. What we are trying to do is to find out what is the problem and how to solve it. I believe the solution will not be far-fetched after taking the right measures,” he stated.