By Adeniyi Olugbemi
For obvious reasons, I restrained myself from penning this earlier, not to be tagged doom sayer by fanatical, die-in-the-wool followers of Adamawa United FC, but now, the chicken has come to roost. I advise the club fans and supporters to prepare their heart for the worst season ever in the history of the club. Adamawa United FC is doomed for relegation, despite it survival by stroke of luck, in the abrupt ending of last season due to the rampaging Coronavirus epidemic.
The ominous signs were glaring, even to a blind man from the onset, no thanks to the team lack lustre recruitment exercise populated by untested and inexperienced players that can compete favourably with the best in the NPFL league, not to talk of the haphazard preparations devoid of pre-season friendlies and tune up matches. Without any gainsaying, Adamawa United FC current crop of technical crew not only posses the least pedigree in the NPFL, they also lack the wherewithal to attract quality players to the team.
Imagine a club with a substantial monthly allocation to prosecute matches and pay salaries could not raise money to conduct screening and selection of players despite not playing a single match from March to November, 2020.
Weep not for Adamawa United FC, that the team is playing it home matches in Gombe, is not a tenable excuse for it permanent, rock-bottom position on the league table. Kano Pillars, Jigawa Golden Stars and Abia Warriors are also playing home, away from home and none is in a helpless and hopeless condition.
The opportunity for adequate preparations was frittered away as those entrusted with the affairs of the club dissipated their energies on needless distrust and infighting. History will not be kind to those that connived and shoved Emmanuel Zira aside for minnows, mediocres and misfits, who lack character, competence, compassion and commitment, to pilot the affairs of Adamawa United FC to relegation.
Hate him or like him, posterity will judge Zira rightly on the two occasions Adamawa United FC gained promotion and tasted action in the Nigeria elite league. Zira has carved a niche for himself. He is a big brand, an enigma in Nigeria football fraternity, whose almost two decades experience in club management and administration, should not be wished away on the altar of political ego, greed and selfishness.
The distrust between the state commissioner of youth and sports, Honourable Farouk Jauro and the club chairman, Emmanuel Zira, put a clog in the wheel of the club preparations towards the 2020/2021 NPFL season, thus, leading to the club precarious and helpless situation.
It would be recalled that since the state governor, Rt. Honourable Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri reinstated Emmanuel Zira, as the club chairman, in a statement signed by his press secretary, Humwashi Wonosikou, a simmering ego-trip had stalled the smooth running of the club affairs.
Governor Fintiri, not unaware of salient bureaucratic bottlenecks affecting the smooth runnings of the club, through the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, expressly granted Emmanuel Zira, verbal autonomy to take over the affairs of the club, unfortunately, without perfecting the paper work.
Armed with the governor’s verbal directive, Zira, hit the ground running, opened a corporate office as the club secretariat, in fulfilment of club licensing procedures, away from the ministry of youth and sports section at the state Secretariat. He contracted Ladan Bosso, immediate past U-20 national team head coach as Technical Adviser, to be assisted by Justin Madugu, former national female team coach and coach Joshua Stephen, for Adamawa Queens FC.
Not done yet, he had gone farther in convincing the state government on the need to increase the club monthly subvention from twelve million, eight hundred thousand naira to thirty two million naira, for players/officials salary enhancement and smooth running of both Adamawa United FC and Adamawa Queens FC.
Zira, in conjunction with the new technical crew had windowshoped and pencilled down tested, quality and experienced players to strengthen the club for a successful campaign in the NPFL. Negotiation had also reached advanced stage to procure brand new buses for the two teams, a bus for the technical crew and a vehicle, befitting the status of the club chairman.
Jolted by the governor decision, granting Zira verbal autonomy, Honourable Farouk and his egg-heads at the ministry labelled Zira, a betrayal, who is out to ‘take chop from us,’ thus, setting the epic battle for the soul of Adamawa United and Adamawa Queens Football Clubs.
In the ensuing battle, the commissioner baring his fangs through the ministry, issued Emmanuel Zira query, allegedly slashed his salary, refused to recognize the engagement of Ladan Bosso and others, kept aside Zira’s proposal on screening, recruitment and preparations for the new season in his drawer.
Honourable Farouk’s deft punch was the composition and swift inauguration of other members of the Adamawa United FC management committee, who at their inaugural meeting, suspended Emmanuel Zira, even in absential.
The governor boxed himself into a corner. He brought Zira to save the club from impending doom, and still not want to hurt the commissioner, his long time political ally because, Adamawa United is the cash cow of the ministry of youth and sports.
It is crystal clear that the undertakers clueless and helpless disposition, early as week three into the season, condemned Adamawa United FC to relegation, basking comfortably and permanently in the rock-bottom position on the league table.
Sadly, same undertakers killed Adamawa Queens, borne out of myself and like -minded sweat because of their inability to meet up with the NWFL registration procedures. They now want to superintend over it burial by recommending the display of the carcass of the club on the shelf for sale. May this not be the fate of Adamawa United FC.
Adeniyi, can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org