In six days time, the new Jos stadium will host the most important game to be played in it since it came into existence. Plateau United will come up against Tunisian giants, Etoile Du Sahel in the reverse fixture of a CAF champions league double header which will decide the team that will make it to the money spinning group stage of the competition while the other side will crash into the second tier of CAF’s football competition – The CAF confederations cup. The Sousse side has the advantage after a 4-2 victory at home but a 2-0, 3-1 or 4-1 loss to Plateau United in Jos will dash any hopes of getting to the group stages.
With this in mind, Plateau United fans who spoke with www.busybuddies.ng were assured their team would live up to expectation by doing all that is needed to qualify. After seeing the club he has supported for the past 19 years of his life make it to the champions league for the first time, Stephen Samuel who was wearing his Plateau United replica jersey and even had a well fitted cap still with the name of his most loved club on it was convinced the team won’t disappoint himself and other fans on Sunday. “Plateau United is the best team in the whole world, I believe in the team and I know they have the zeal and capacity to beat Etoile du sahel 2-0”, he said. With a huge smile on his face he went one step further by predicting the player that will score the goals which will break the hearts of the Tunisians. “Our star man Tosin will score the goals”, he stated. Despite predicting a victory and even picking the name of the player he thinks will do damage to the visiting side’s defence, Samuel went on to declare that his team won’t concede a goal. “I promise you we won’t concede, we have not lost a single game at home this season neither have we conceded a goal too. I, my family and all my friends will surely be in the stadium on Sunday”, he concluded.
Another fan, Raymond Wummen who has been a lover of Plateau United for 15 years feels the Jos based club is better than their Tunisian opposition and victory is assured on Sunday. “We scored two goals against them last week, that’s no easy thing to do, we will definitely win the coming fixture here in Jos to qualify to the group stages”, he declared. Wummen was of the opinion that any player fielded by Coach Kennedy Boboye could get the goals for Plateau United. “Anybody can get the goals for us, we have seen this a lot this season, I am assured they will win”, he said.
Both sides will be going into the crucial encounter on the back of 1-0 defeats in their domestic league matches last weekend. While Etoile lost to Club Africain at home despite the away side getting a red card, Plateau United lost to Niger Tornadoes in Minna. They both conceded penalties in those games. Although, Coach Kennedy Boboye rested influential players Raphael Ayagwa and Salomon Junior were both rested for the upcoming CAF champions league encounter.
A sports analyst/presenter with local radio station, Jayfm 101.9, Deji Ogeyinbo towed the line with Plateau United fans by saying he expected the team to win but he was unsure of their qualification. “Honestly speaking, I’m confident of a win but not of them qualifying ”, he said. However, he felt an extra man in the middle to frustrate Etoile du sahel and a very sharp Tosin Omoyele could help the team make the group stages. “Aside Jimmy Ambrose and Raphael Ayagwa, an extra man should be brought into the midfield to frustrate the Tunisians and Solomon Junior should keep a calm head while Tosin Omoyele should come to the pitch with his scoring boots” , he stated.
In another development, reports have it that Etoile du sahel have asked CAF to ban the New Jos stadium tagging it unfit to host an international game. Last week, officials of CAF came to Jos to inspect the stadium and check the hotels the visiting team was going to lodge. At the moment, reports say NFF President, Amaju Pinnick and other top individuals of the Nigerian football body are working hard to ensure Plateau United play on their home ground in front of their numerous supporters.
Writer: Segun Odunayo