Four teams were promoted from the Nigeria National League (NNL) into the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) last season, they were ABS of Ilorin, Kastina United, Gombe United and Remo stars of Shagamu. Of all four, the Remo based team raised hopes of performing wonders in the NPFL having become the first team to secure promotion losing just one game throughout the abridged NNL season to emerge from group B1 as winners.
However, and somehow disappointing for their fans and neutrals alike, the Kunle Soname owned team are rooted to the bottom of the league after 21 games and are looking like a replica of last season’s Ikorodu United who finished the season in 20th position, securing an immediate return to the NNL where they have continued their disappointing run of form.
Comparing their performances with other promoted teams only ABS of Ilorin looks secured sitting in the 11th position while the other two teams such as Gombe and Kastina are both in the relegation battle. Kastina United, Shooting Stars, Wikki Tourist complete the bottom four, Gombe only sits above them in 16th by the virtue of goals scored. Three of the promoted four are not faring better as well but Remo stars look the disappointing of all.
The Sky Blue Stars practically started the season on a wrong foot losing at home on the opening day to current League leaders, Plateau United, and needing to wait till match day 3 to record their first win and points of the season after a slim 1-0 win over Abia Warriors, having lost away to fellow newcomers, Gombe United on matchday 2.
In a league where making most of away games and taking full advantage of home matches are crucial to the staying up and winning of the league, many would expect The Sky Blue Stars to gather enough points judging from their remarkable run in the NNL the previous season. It wasn’t going to be an easy ride in the NPFL, but the results at the midway point of the season suggest that perhaps the team wasn’t ready for the nitty gritty of the top flight.
The team added few players to their ranks in the offseason bringing in Fc Ifeanyi Ubah’s Solomon Enudi, Warri Wolves’ defender, Eyimofe Joseph , Plateau United’s Gideon Bewarang and Kaduna United’s Walbe David, as well as non-league duo of Diamond Stars’ Archibong Obo, Messiah FC’s Balogun Sodiq and Blue Liners’ Adekunle Tunde.
However, the Sagamu base team failed to bolster their squad with major signings who have reputations as experienced league players, signing a top striker like Jude Aneke before he moved to Ikorodu United in the NNL, that would have shown a bit of intent and ambitions in the league and added firepower to their game, the Oga Boys striker has hit 6 goals in just over 10 games in the NNL.
Remo Stars have relied majorly on players who helped the team promotion, like team skipper Victor Mbaoma, Oche Salefu, Obi Ekene all who are obviously talented players but lacked top flight experience. The skipper has scored 7 goals so far but has gone on a lengthy goal drought caused by a loss of form and injury which has affected the results of the team as no other player has been able to step up to the responsibility.
The team has already had three different Technical advisers which those not bode well for the development of a team. Former coach, Nduka Ugbade who led the team to promotion, had some promising results with the team before leaving the club at the end of his contract, leading the team to their first two wins in the top flight. However, Daniel Ogunmodede took over on a temporary basis before Fatai Osho returned to take charge of the team.
They have impressed with their performances but they have not done much to score the much-needed goals. Going into the mid-season break, Bright Ejike was bought on loan from Heartland Fc of Owerri and the 2nd highest goalscorer in the 2015/2016 league season has enough season to move the team forward, although it remains to be seen if he would make the much-desired impact.
On current form the team are on a 5-games winless run where they failed to score in any of the matches, losing by 1 goal in each of the last 5 games, having a poor 19 points from 21 games and sit 7 points adrift of safety, lost 3 home games this season and only gathered just 2 points on the road so far.
A return back to the National League beckons but it’s not too late to start a resurrection and with 17 games left to play, The Sky Blue Stars must start to take maximum points from their games either at home or away in order to retain their top-flight status.
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2 Potential Manager To Replace Hansi Flick
Hansi Flick awesome reign with the Bavarian giant is gradually winding down, as it’s looking likely that he may not further manage the Die Roten next season.
Bayern Munich’s quest to win the Champions League consecutively came to end on Tuesday night, via the UEFA’s away goal rules having lost the first leg at home to Paris Saint Germain in the quarter-finals despite being the better side at home.
The Bavarian giant will now focus on league duty and they’re no doubt the team in pole position to win the Bundesliga, as the 2020-21 campaign is gradually coasting home with fewer games left to be played. In that regard, there is a great need for Die Roten to start preparing for next season administration and coaching wise.
The friction relationship between Hansi Flick and the Sports Director has broken down to such as extent that the manager has decided to terminate his current contract.
Hansi Flick sent shock waves through German football on Saturday after a 3-2 win over Wolfburg which keeps the Bavarian in pole position to retain the league title. Hansi Flick issued a statement about his decision to exit when the current campaign draws to a close.
“I told the team today that I informed the club during the week, after the game in Paris, I would like to terminate my contract at the end of the season.
“It was important to me that the team learn this from me because there was already a lot of hallway rumours going around.
“We’ve done a great job together for almost two years. I’m absolutely impressed with this team, their quality and their attitude.”
He added: “I also want to thank the club that gave me the chance to manage this incredible team.
“This decision was not easy for me. I’m a fan of this club. Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge all were childhood idols for me.
“I’m eternally grateful to the club for the chance they gave me to become head coach here.”
It’s quite evident that a new manager would be appointed to pave way for a new rebuild of the team especially with the looming departure of David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez.
Two potential top managers that could succeed Hansi Flick, should he accept Die Mannschaft managerial position.
- Julien Nagelsmann – (RB Leipzig)
Nagelsmann has been rumoured as a possible replacement to succeed not one but many managers in Europe’s top-flight leagues whose future with their respective clubs are not guaranteed. This time around, the 33-year-old has been rumoured to be one of the possible potential managers to succeed Hansi Flick.
It could be argued that Nagelsmann is the tailor-made manager to take over the reins at the Allianz Arena, and there is no doubt RB Leipzig manager would certainly harbour the dream of managing one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Nagelsmann is presently focusing on the job at hand with RB Leipzig, plus the fact that he’s still under contract with his employers until the end of the 2022-23 season.
With RB Leipzig and Nagelsmann flying high in the Bundesliga in terms of team performances, with next season European football spot already secured, the club’s Executive Director Oliver Mintzlaff may consider letting him leave to join their rival.
However, it’s left to be seen how things would shape up at the end of the campaign.
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- Jurgen Klopp – (Liverpool)
The relationship the German tactician has achieved thus far with Liverpool started in 2015 when he joined the Kop from Borussia Dortmund, since then he has achieved quite an incredible success with the Reds winning their first league title after thirty years and a Champions League triumph.
Liverpool were eliminated early in both domestic cup competitions and failed to progress past the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and it’s quite impossible to say that the Kop will defend their title with their current epileptic form in the Premier League especially when it’s looking done and dusted that the cityzen would clinch the title.
Having used close to six years with Liverpool since he joined the Anfield side, this could be the perfect time for the former Borussia Dortmund manager to take up a new challenge. However, despite Liverpool’s unpalatable 2020-21 campaign, the German has often reiterated that he is in no way finished at Liverpool, despite been link to the Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft managerial position.
Given his incredible success with BVB, it’s quite evident that he would one day go on to manage either Die Roten or Die Mannschaft. Should Bayern secure the service of Klopp, he would certainly be the right and wise choice for the Bavarian giant.
At the end of the campaign, there would be a breath of fresh air in the Bavarian giant camp, with the new CEO Oliver Kahn taking the mantle of leadership from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. In that sense, it’s left to be seen if the incoming leader would sanction the appointment of a new manager or stick with Hansi Flick. Only time would tell.