Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Super Four Gets Underway In Ijebu-Ode

This year’s edition of the Super Four begins today in the town of Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State with last season’s top four finishers – Enyimba, Kano Pillars, Sunshine Stars and Kwara United – set to battle for the pre-season tournament.
Last year’s champion of the tournament, Heartland Football Club, finished out of the top four for the first time in three seasons thereby missing the chance to defend its title.
The Super Four for this year should have commenced on Monday, but Nigeria Premier League (NPL) Acting Executive Secretary, Tunji Babalola, told that Enyimba’s participation in the CAF Confederation Cup led to the adjustment of the fixtures.
“The competition was scheduled to kick off for August 2. But it had to be moved to Wednesday, August 4 because of the game involving Enyimba and Zanaco,” Babalola began in a telephone interview at the weekend. “We had to take into consideration the fact that their game will be played on Sunday (August 1 against Zanaco). So we concluded that Wednesday will be better to kick off the competition since it will give them two days opportunity to catch up for the Super Four.”
The Premier League champion, Enyimba, is already out of the CAF Confederation Cup after failing to upturn a 0 – 4 loss in Lusaka a fortnight ago, and will start its campaign in the pre-season tournament against Sunshine Stars.
Enyimba head coach, Okey Emordi, said the side is ready to feature in the tournament after its ouster from Africa’s second-tier club competition.
“We have lost the chance of competing in the group stage of the (CAF) Confederation Cup. Now we will focus on the Super Four, as we plan ahead for the new season as champions,” the former Enugu Rangers and Heartland man said.
Sunshine Stars’ general manager, Mike Idoko, said ahead of the Super Four that the Akure-based club will be heading into the competition for the first time byy sticking to the bulk of players from last season’s campaign.
“We have not brought in any new players,” he said. “Most of the players from last season will still be part of the Super Four and we are keen on keeping them for the coming season, as we will also be competing on the continent as well.”
The other Day One game of the Super Four will be between Kwara United and former league champion, Kano Pillars.
Kano Pillars, which pushed the Peoples Elephant till the last day of the championship in the past season, will be without record marksman, Ahmed Musa, and its head coach, Salisu Yusuf, is still optimistic that his side will get over the loss of the player.
“He was a very big player for us last season, but now he is moving on. There is nothing we can do about that. We will cope without him I believe because we have very good players here,” said Yusuf, formerly with Lobi Stars.
However, it is unclear if Kadiri Ikhana will be on the bench for Kwara United against Kano Pillars when the Super Four begins in Ijebu-Ode.

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