Monday, July 27, 2009

Why JUTH Couldn’t Survive Relegation - Coach

Head coach at relegated Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) Football Club, Joshua Stephen, has said that a number of factors led to the failure of the side to retain its Premier League status.
According to Stephen, the 18th place finish of the club in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) log was disappointing for the officials and players of the Jos outfit.
The JUTH coach pointed out that the failure of the club to survive relegation was due to the kind of players he inherited, poor officiating in some of their matches as well as his side’s inconsistency throughout the season before he was saddled with the job after Bernard Ogbe left.
Stephen did not forget to add that the death of his wife during last season’s campaign also disrupted the fight of JUTH FC in securing its place in the top-flight of the Nigerian league.
“Last season, we had so many challenges in our campaign for the Premier League, which led to our relegation. We had a number of issues that really affected the club from retaining its Premier League place ahead of the coming season. Personally, I am disappointed that we are going to play in the lower division next season, which is not good for us. But in life, you have to go back to become stronger.
“Before I became coach of the club, some of the players I inherited were not the kind that would have been able to challenge the so-called big clubs for the title and at that time, we could not register any new players since the transfer window was closed. Apart from that the referees in some of our matches were not fair to us especially in our away games and that of course was why we were very inconsistent in our away games, as we did not even win a single game away.
“Also, last season I lost my wife. It was a very unfortunate incident because it really weighed me down and up till now I must say that I still miss her so much. During that time, I had to stay away for sometime because the management gave me some days to mourn her but I decided to return to the club because we had a battle on our hands. Sincerely I am really pained that after all of what happened to us last season that we ended up being relegated,” he said.
Stephen said he would want to put behind him the dismal performance of the Jos-based club in order to focus on the coming season so as to help the side win immediate promotion to the Premier League at the end of next season.
In a related development, the media officer of the club, Olusola Alao, disclosed that the club has set August 3 as the opening of JUTH’s camp for its pre-season training, as it begins life in the Nigeria National League (NNL) also called the National Division I League.
“Our camp for the preparation of the 2009/2010 season would open on August 3 in Jos. We are also waiting on the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) to make official pronouncement of our relegation to the National Division I League, where we expect to play in too,” he told our correspondent during the week.

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