El-Kanemi Warriors and Super Eagles defender, Jamiu Alimi, calls for an end to the abridged league adopted by the League Management Company (LMC) for the just concluded Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season. Excerpt:
Despite starting the season on a high, El-Kanemi Warriors failed to escape relegation, what really went wrong?
I can’t really say this or that was what happened. As at Match Day 17 or 18, the team was still doing well and poised for the top three positions, but suddenly everything changed and we found ourselves struggling.
The truth is that we had some internal crisis involving the management, the players and even the fans. That affected our performance leading to the team losing two home matches.
However, we just have to take it like that and find a way forward and also a quick return to the elite division.
I want to congratulate the teams that qualified for the playoff and those that will be playing on the continent. It is not easy to play the abridged league
It was a case of from Grace to Grass for your team and it all started after the home game against Go Round FC that ended 2-2, what actually were the issues?
I will say the abridged league added to our problems. In such a league, if you win, you will be at the top there and when you lose, then you will definitely go down on the table.
It was difficult for us especially losing our last two home matches. However, I want to congratulate the teams that qualified for the playoff and those that will be playing on the continent.
It is not easy to play the abridged league.
With 12 teams playing in each group and four going down to the lower division with only three going for the playoff, any mistake, you are down and that’s what happened to El-Kanemi Warriors.
So, will you say the abridged league was a good one or not?
Seriously I will not want the abridged league to continue, we would rather return to the normal regular season of 38 matches each season.
It was like a dream to all the clubs especially those that were relegated. Even as a big club, you just have to be very careful or else you see yourself fighting hard to stay afloat.
An example was Plateau United who waited till the final day of the campaign to secure their top flight status.
You have been part of the national team setup in the past, but in recent years you have been out of the team. Do you see yourself returning to the team as you still have age on your side?
For two years now, I have been moving from one club to another trying so hard to establish myself. I think if I can concentrate with a club for the whole season, then I can return to the national team.
I trust myself and what I can do as a player, so I am optimistic of returning to the Super Eagles very soon.
The truth is that all the other teams want to beat Nigeria and the players must give it their all so as to excel in Egypt
Will Alimi go down with El-Kanemi Warriors or we should expect a move?
For now I am still an El-Kanemi Warriors player, but we don’t know what tomorrow will be, so I am hopeful for the best.
What will you say about the Super Eagles going to Egypt for the AFCON?
The current team has a lot of young players in the team with the older ones bringing in their experience to support the team well.
Some of these old players are thriving on the strength of the younger ones to excel and that will be of good advantage for the team.
Super Eagles are one of the favourites for the championship but they have to work so hard to excel. The truth is that all the other teams want to beat Nigeria and the players must give it their all so as to excel in Egypt.