The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) 2016/2017 Season ended last weekend with Plateau United lifting the trophy for the very first time.
It was a scintillating season with a record 763 goals scored (for and against), an average of 20.13 goals per Match Day.
Here are the reactions from some top coaches regarding the season:
We saw the good, the bad, and the ugly
Lobi Stars of Makurdi Coach, Gbenga Ogungbote, said that his team saw the good, the bad and the ugly in the just concluded NPFL season.
According to him, his team gave a very good fight to the other teams, and showed strong resilience away in their away matches.
The Enyimba Coach told AOIFootball.com exclusively that his team finishing third at the end of the season wasn’t bad from all ramifications, because they didn’t start the season on an impressive note.
“I thank God for the just concluded season and I am happy it ended well. We saw the good, the bad, and the ugly.
“Haven played 38 games and picked some points away from home and I must say that it’s a good one for the team. After everything we finished third, and I must say that finishing third is not bad at all.”
I am not disappointed, says MFM Coach, Ilechukwu
Head coach of MFM FC of Lagos Fidelis Ilechukwu told AOIFootball.com that he is not disappointed that his team lost the NPFL title to champions Plateau United.
The Anambra state-born tactician said that he took it as one of the events that occur in football, and that he is taking solace in the fact that his team got a continental ticket to show for their efforts.
Fidelis added that new NPFL champions, Plateau United were deserving winners because they had a strong team and mentality. He also said he was not surprised his team were title contenders because they had good players that would represent Nigeria in the continent next season.
“We tried our best and gave our best shot. I am not disappointed we didn’t end up the title winners. Plateau United were a strong team and had a strong mentality. In the game of football, anything can happen- you either win or lose.
“We did our best and we are not disappointed because we got a continental ticket. From the start of the season, I knew that MFM were a continental team and we prepared very well for it. There is no surprise in the fact that we finished second because MFM are a big team and we have very good players.”
Abia Warriors have learnt a big lesson
Abia Warriors Coach, Abdullahi Usman Biffo disclosed that his team has learnt a big lesson from the just concluded NPFL season. According to him, they struggled at the middle of the season and did not start well after winning just one out of their first four matches.
Biffo told AOIfootball.com that his team has learnt lessons on the caliber of players the team should look up and also learnt not to take the league lightly at any stage. He also said that the outgone season was tougher than the previous one as teams with 50 points barely escaped relegation.
“It is true we ended up 12th on the log and some might want to criticize this, but we have to know that last season, teams that finished with 48 points escaped relegation but teams relegated this season with 49 points.
“The point gap between the team that is 12th and the team placed 5th is not more than two to three. I will say unequivocally that it was a very close contest between the teams, and clubs rose to the occasion.
“We leant a very big lesson in this season; we started very slow after winning our first game; we drew two matches at home and even lost another that led to our struggle at the middle of the season. We also learnt big lessons in knowing the calibre of player to sign and how to take the league serious.”
We didn’t meet our target, says Nasarawa Coach
Nasarawa United Coach, Kabiru Suleiman Dogo, has said that his side didn’t meet his personal target with their 5th place finish in league.
Dogo also stated that it was unfortunate that his team didn’t win any title alongside a continental slot like he projected at the beginning of the season.
He told Aoifootball.com that the mass exodus that hit the team at beginning of the season slowed them down, whilst also blaming his team’s early season poor.
“5th place was not what I wanted; we didn’t achieve our target at the end of the season. I wanted to win at least a trophy with the team and get a continental slot. But unfortunately, we have not achieved that.
“We started slowly due to the loss of about ten players and the new players could adjust to the club’s style of play on time.”
We’ve a foundation to build upon, says Ogbeide
On his part, Lobi Stars of Makurdi Coach, Solomon Ogbeide said his team now have a foundation to build upon next season after finishing seventh in the just concluded NPFL season.
Ogbeide told AOIFootball.com that his team now know what it takes to succeed in the NPFL and will fully do that next season. He also added that he is happy his team was not relegated but he isn’t happy they didn’t get a ticket to play in the continent.
“As the season ended, some teams accumulated points and got the continental ticket, while some got relegated.
“We are happy we are not among the teams that were relegated, and we are also not happy that we didn’t get a continental ticket. But all the same, we have a platform that we can build upon next season.
“We will try and maintain continuity next season; we now know what it takes and from the first game, we will give it our best.”