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Ikhana points to carelessness for Pillars crash in Umuahia

By Anthony Ademodi

Kadiri Ikhana is a man of many record when it comes to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). He, it was who led Kano Pillars to a back to back win of the NPFL title and at Enyimba he became the first coach to lead a Nigerian club to win the CAF Champions League.

Ikhana is also known to have been among the few coaches who have won the NPFL with different clubs and last Sunday, he created another minor first; being the first coach to lead Kano Pillars to a defeat by Abia Warriors.

What shocked pundits perhaps was the margin of defeat which was a huge as 3-0 score line with chairman of Abia Warriors, Chief Emeka Inyama gloating that it would have been higher but for squandered opportunities.

But Ikhana was forthright in admitting that his side had themselves to blame for the thrashing and attributed that defeat to carelessness on the side his players.

Ikanna spoke to www.npfl.ng and also suggested that his players may have underrated Abia Warriors going into the game.

"We lost to carelessness from my players. We should have got a result here (in Umuahia) but my players, felt Abia Warriors were not going to hurt them. Maybe for some of them, they felt because previous trips to Umuahia have seen Pillars getting good results. You could see the manner we conceded the goals, we played well, but I think it was the second goal that killed the game after a defensive blunder. Abia Warriors took their chances when it came, and scored three goals past us," were the summations Ikhana who departed from the usual style of coaches looking to match officials to blame for their defeats.

Interestingly, many coaches and their players point to the Umuahia Township Stadium ground as not good for good football and often heap the blame for their defeat on the playing surface. That too was dismissed by Ikhana as he insisted that any good side can win on any turf.

"I cannot attribute the loss to the playing turf in Umuahia. Yes the pitch may not be that good, but we've seen teams get results in Umuahia this season. The football league is a game played home and away, so a team can win anywhere. If we had converted the chances that came our way, who would have been talking about the playing turf?"

An own goal from Pillars Cameroonian defender Joel Djondang, and goals from Abia Warriors pair of Bashir Sherif and Sunday Adetunji saw off the former champions in the Matchday 15 fixture in Umuahia and lifted Abia Warriors to 6th spot on the log.

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