Will Ikorodu United Survive The Drop? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Will Ikorodu United Survive The Drop?

Ikorodu United
Posted: Apr 2, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chibuike Chukwu LAGOS
Unless there is change of fortune, there is every possibility that new boys in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Ikorodu United, may be relegated at the end of the season. This is not entirely unexpected because this is the first time the club will be competing with the ‘big boys’.
Contrastingly, neighbours, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM), which was promoted alongside it last season, is among the front runners in the nine-month old league. The Odukoya Boys have even topped the league on three different occasions, even though it presently placed fourth behind leaders, Rangers, IfeanyiUba and Kano Pillars.
Ikorodu United has seeing its form dipped since the beginning of the league season culminating in a 2-3 home loss to Rivers United in one of the week nine matches on Sunday. The result leaves the Lagos based side with five points after nine rounds of matches and also languishing in the 19th place on the table.
The 2-3 loss to Rivers United led to the sacking of its coach, Edema Benson, and replaced him with Sam Okpodu, who has been charged to ensure that the new boys do not return to the lower rung of the league. Benson has now been asked to serve under Okpodu.
The new coach has, however, attributed the slide in the team’s form to inexperience, saying that has been a huge set back on the club’s performances this season.
“The NPFL demands more than just talent, a mix of experience, talent, individual brilliance and sound technical input are ingredients needed to succeed in the NPFL,” Okpodu said.
“Inexperience is a major setback in the team but if you saw our team’s match against Rivers United (referring to the match that led to the sack of Benson), you’ll agree that there has been some level of improvement in terms of awareness.
“We shall continue to work on the team as the league progresses. It was unfortunate that we conceded those goals against Rivers United due to carelessness but the second half performance was better.”
However, the former Warri Wolves coach believes that Ikorodu United’s expected turn around will be a gradual process.
“The turnaround is a process which has started already. We saw an improved Ikorodu United fought for the ball and kept procession in our last match but a whole lot will still go into the tea,” he added.
But a player of the club, who spoke to Independent and declined to be named, blamed the decline on less motivation. He said that the players were doing enough but that they were not motivated like others in the league.
“We are not short of talents in this club, but the players are not truly motivated to give in their best. I know we will not go down because the season is still fresh. We the players are not happy that we are struggling in the league, but that will soon be over,” he assured.
The challenge facing Okpodu will be how to reverse the slide in the fortunes of Ikorodu United. This will start with an away tie on Sunday against Shooting Stars, a team still smarting from its 0-1 defeat to Enyimba in one of the rescheduled games played on Wednesday.
Apart from facing Shooting Stars, there is this confrontation between the two veteran coaches in Kadiri Ikhana and Sam Okpodu, who will be coming head-to-head on Sunday. A defeat in Ibadan will most likely confine the Lagos side to the base of the table as bottom-placed Nasarawa United will be at home to Heartland.
According to assistant coach of Ikorodu United, Benson, “We are going to Ibadan to get a result and halt the decline. It is not as if the boys are playing badly; at times you cannot rule out luck on some of these matches,” he said.
A possible relegation of Ikorodu United will likely mean having only MFM as the only side in Lagos if it survives the drop.