Plateau United head coach Abdu Maikaba says the club’s stellar recruitment in the offseason and a gruelling preseason programme are contributory factors to his side’s impressive start to the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Plateau United walloped Lobi Stars 3-1 in Sunday’s opener with Nerot Silas and Amos Gyang scoring either side of a Solomon Kwambe own goal at the New Zaria Road Stadium to put them on top the log.
United’s strong start contrasts markedly with their start to last season when they were held to a goalless draw by FC Ifeanyiubah in a fixture marred by horrible fan violence which led to a fine and banishment from Jos and cast a pall over the rest of their season from which they never really recovered.
It was a decidedly different atmosphere and result this time around and Maikaba said having players who fit into his philosophy has helped.
“We recruited players that will fit the philosophy, that was the first step, and we worked so hard during the pre-season and I believe that is the result we are seeing now,” he told newsmen after the game.
Maikaba joined the Jos side last season from Akwa United with whom he won the 2017 Aiteo Cup and was handed an expensively assembled squad with the remit to challenge for the title.
What ensued instead was a disaster with United escaping relegation by the skin of their teeth finishing level on 30 points with Gombe United but surviving because of a superior goals difference.
That experience Maikaba says is done and dusted with their target for this season firmly set on finishing “on the top”.
“As I always say, the target is to finish on the top. We want to compete at the top and that is the target. The boys know about that, the management knows it and we are all in line with that thinking.”
Plateau United are away at Jigawa Golden Stars on Match Day two on 10 November.