NPFL: Imama Explains El Kanemi Warriors’ Poor Campaign, Laughs Off Relegation Talks (AUDIO)

Fatigue, national team distraction and inexperience are some of the reasons given by Technical Adviser of El Kanemi Warriors Imama Amapakabo for the poor outing of his side so far in the ongoing 2017/18 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.

The Maiduguri-based outfit are on 17th spot on the NPFL standings, languishing in the relegation zone with 23 points from 20 matches (with a game in hand).

Despite their unimpressive placement on the log, Amapakabo, who won the NPFL title with Rangers after a 32-year wait in 2016, told he is pleased with the performance of his team so far.

“A team rebuilding always have challenges,” he said. “You know I came into this team, let’s not forget that I tried to come in with a whole lot of new players. Players that will play my kind of football; the way I want my philosophy, you know.

“It’s been tough most times when I have to go out for the national assignment and all. It’s been challenging. But then you know as a team, they play my kind of football. That’s a thing of excitement for me.

“Most importantly, the league is still on. Most of these boys are very young. They are playing the league for the first time, and having put up this kind of show they have been putting on, I think I’m very impressed with what they are doing.”

The Super Eagles assistant coach also dismissed suggestions that El Kanemi Warriors will be relegated, while blaming their poor results away from home on fatigue.

“The league takes 38 weeks, and anybody that says ‘El Kanemi is going to be going down’, it’s a laugh you know because, actually, we have an outstanding game. Once we play (and win) that game, we will be about 12th or 11th on the log, and we are out of it (relegation). And we just have to keep our heads cool.

“The team has not been good travelers in the sense that we’ve not managed most of our trips well. Let’s not forget that this is a team that does the longest trip whenever they travel. So I think it is a big challenge, most of the times, the players get there fatigued.

“We have also tried to change the orientation, the mentality of the players in games outside Maiduguri. When all that is done, I think the team is going to be better.”

El Kanemi Warriors came from behind to draw 1-1 with Rivers United in Maiduguri on Sunday in a Match Day 21 fixture, for their 4th home draw of the campaign.

Amapakabo’s men will host Akwa United in a rescheduled Match Day 15 encounter on Thursday, with a win good enough to push them up to 14th on the NPFL table.