Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Ikhana To Decide Future After FA Cup

With Sharks Football Club now savouring the opportunity of winning a trophy this season after reaching the final of the Federation Cup (formerly known as the FA Cup), its head coach, Kadiri Ikhana, is believed to be considering his future at the club.
It is not the first time that Ikhana has decided to leave a club after just a season in charge, as he had done same in his last three immediate jobs at Enyimba, Kwara United and Kano Pillars.
But a close associate to the coach told our correspondent that after the episode in which he was unceremoniously sacked by an official of the Port Harcourt-based club before the Rivers State government intervened, Ikhana could well refuse to extend his contract at the club for another season.
But his decision, it was learnt, may depend on the outcome of the final match of the Federation Cup against Enyimba on Sunday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
“Kadiri Ikhana is not really happy with the incident that led to one of the club officials announcing his sack last month. Remember that it took the Rivers State government to intervene when they told the official to go back and reverse the decision to sack Ikhana. But he does not want that to bother him now because he has his mind set on winning a trophy for Sharks in the FA Cup. Ikhana promised that his coming to Sharks is meant to win a trophy for them this season and the season is not yet over for Sharks because they are in the FA Cup final. So, it is likely that Ikhana might decide to stay or go after the FA Cup final,” our source hinted.
It was also learnt that Ikhana signed a one-year deal with Sharks FC without any option attached to it, which leaves him as a free agent at the end of Sunday’s Federation Cup final.
Reacting to the speculation that he could be heading for the exit door at Sharks FC, Ikhana told our correspondent that he is still an employee of the club and cannot comment on reports saying that he is planning to leave.
But the former African Coach of the Year award winner left the door ajar when he disclosed that he would be making his decision after the final of the Federation Cup on Sunday in Lagos.
“I never told anybody that I have a plan to leave Sharks now. I don’t know where people get those kind of reports from. I am still with Sharks and I will be with Sharks. My concern now is to guide the team to win the FA Cup. May be after the FA Cup I will make my decision then,” he said.
Ikhana, however, refused to comment on the overall performance of his team in the recently-concluded season in which Sharks FC finished in a disappointing ninth position and missed out of a continental ticket.
Sharks FC has never won a domestic title in Nigeria whether the Premier League or the FA Cup now known as the Federation Cup.
The club has come close to winning the FA Cup on two occasions in 1979 and 2003 when it reached the final.
In 1979, it lost to Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) by 0-2 while Lobi Stars also inflicted a 2-0 win on Sharks in 2003.

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