Adamawa United will fight till the end, says Bariki
By Fisayo Dairo
Basement side Adamawa United were within five added minutes of achieving their first away result of the season at the Umuahia Township Stadium on Sunday.
The Yola based side have taken the Pantani Stadium, Gombe as home ground in their inaugural Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season and although they have dropped points at home more than any team in the division, it is their failings on the road that has done them in the most.
After taking a shock lead through prized asset John-Paul Chinedu on the dot of half time, they conceded an equaliser to Yakub Hammed’s header at the start of the second half before cracking at the death to Fatai Abdullahi’s 95th minute penalty.
Incumbent head coach of Adamawa United Ibrahim Bariki cut a sad, lonely figure at the end of the game as defeat ensured they slipped eight points adrift of safety.
“Of course I have to be disappointed,” Bariki told www.npfl.ng after the game.
“If you can be able to hold on to this far and then you lose the game, you have to be disappointed. That is the nature of the game.
“I’m satisfied with the performance of the players but it is sad that we could not hold on till the end and the controversial nature of the penalty too,” he added.
In fairness, goalkeeper Victor Philemon was the one that stood between Abia Warriors and victory for larger spells in the game but the goalkeeper went off with a serious injury with just under ten minutes left to play.
Bariki is not going to attribute the loss to Philemon’s injury, insisting that his replacement Ikechukwu Obilo is a good goalkeeper too.
“It’s another strategy from the opponents since they have been hitting him from the first half all along. We just have to take it like that.
“The substitute that replaced him is equally good, he has not had enough playing time, you could have seen how he is able to play too.”
Adamawa United have remained firm favourites to return to the second tier Nigeria National League (NNL) and Sunday’s loss sees their odds slashed further by bookmakers.
Bariki, himself a former footballer knows the mantra of the game being “it is not over until it is over”. He insists that his side will continue to fight until they can no longer fight.
“The result surely piles more pressure on us in as much as in our position as a club, we know how we got here.
“It is not over. It is a marathon race, you can see that nobody expected the way we fought in this match so it’s a marathon race and we will do it until the last match,” he concluded.