- Published on Friday, 19 May 2017 12:52
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By Clement Nwankpa Jnr
Plateau United ended the first stanza of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) 2016/17 season two points clear at the top of the log and the club’s manager, Kennedy Boboye is confident they will sustain the run of good form to clinch their first-ever title.
In a buoyant light-hearted mood, Boboye declared to those expecting the club to slip up to keep waiting.
“I know many are not expecting us to remain there (on top) but all I will say is ‘we will see.’ I don’t make predictions. I don’t brag. All I will say is keep watching," he said.
Only a few would have predicted Plateau United leading at the halfway mark but their steady run which saw them off the top spot only on twice or thrice is a pointer to the steel in the team to achieve success.
The pre-season favourites were Kano Pillars, Enyimba, Rivers United and defending champions Rangers. But these teams trail Plateau United.
Despite the consistency of Plateau United, there may still be pundits who would wager that the leaders will give way to any of the more fancied teams.
But looking over his shoulders, Boboye do not seem to be fazed by the predictions of possible threats to the club’s title ambitions which incidentally will also be his first as a coach.
“I am not focusing on what other teams are doing but working to perfect our game.
“While we were on break, I knew every other team would be fortifying their squad towards a better performance in the second stanza, but that is not supposed to be my focus.
“My concern is Plateau United and I don’t like to think about what others are doing. If they are focusing on me, that is their business,” the former Abia Warriors coach told npfl.ng.
Unlike some other managers in the NPFL, Boboye’s recruitment approach does not encourage making wholesome changes to a squad in mid-season and he said he has always been wary of altering team spirit with mid-season recruitments.
His words: “I brought in only two players from outside, Stanley Okoro and Bature Yaro. Others were players who were originally with the team but were out on loan. So they were more or less, members of the team.
“I did this because I didn’t want to have problems of blending the old and new during this time of the season.”
After Stanley Okoro’s injury-plagued stint at Abia Warriors, Boboye is optimistic he will come good at Plateau United.
“We just finished training now and Stanley was there. He didn’t appear injured. He did what everybody did and is in good physical condition.
“The boy was sharp in training. I have no doubt at all about his fitness. I brought him here because I believe he can help a team fighting to remain on top.
“If I didn’t have confidence in him, I won’t go for him. Like I told you, I don’t focus on what others think. I do what I am convinced is right,” the former Nigerian international added.
As the season turns the tough bend, Boboye is confident in his players’ ability to weather the storms.
"I have always focused on my team and if you have noticed, I am not usually comfortable discussing other teams because I don't know what they are doing on their side. However, I have a team that will not be easy to push out. Just keep watching," he said.
Plateau United made their intentions known with an away victory over Remo Stars on opening day. They begin the second stanza with a trip to Katsina United.
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