Friday, March 02, 2012

NPL coaches in the hot seat

Erasmus Onuh of ABS FC became the second coach to be dropped from the technical bench of a club in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) this term after Warri Wolves announced the 'temporary' departure of Paul Aigbogun last month.

Onuh was told by ABS management to step down after going four games without a win including last weekend's home loss to Enugu Rangers. Now peeks at the men whose jobs are in line with the snap of the fingers and juxtaposes them with those above the secured line considering their last five games in charge.

The Men Under Threat:

Gbenga Ogunbote (Sunshine Stars)
Last season he did so well by guiding the side to second place in the top flight and a semifinal finish in the Caf Confederation Cup. But this term his men have struggled and if their last five games is to determine their season, the Akure Gunners would have been relegated as they lie fourth from bottom.

Patience among fans of the club is wearing thin after Ogunbote's men posted a goalless draw at home to Enyimba last weekend to put the coach under pressure, as they face Kwara United away in Ilorin this weekend. A loss in Ilorin could lead to the alarm bells ringing.

Femi Allen (3SC)
The former ABS FC man escaped being handed an ultimatum following 3SC's 1-1 draw at Niger Tornadoes. But Allen will have to improve his side's stats after they have notched up just a win in their last five games.

Allen has this Saturday's home clash with Warri Wolves to further endear himself to the critical Ibadan fans.

Samson Unuanel (Ocean Boys)
Since the start of this term, Ocean Boys have not climbed out of the bottom five and this has been a source of worry for the club. Unuanel's men in spite of the poor start to this season have posted decent results in their last five matches by winning two, drawing one and losing two.

But Unuanel is one coach under pressure to improve his team's stocks.

Abdul Pele (Jigawa Golden Stars)
Jigawa Stars under Pele has struggled for consistency and now have the odds heavily against them as the newcomers set for immediate return to the lower division. The Golden Stars have managed just a win in their last five games and have taken just eight points from 30 so far.

It might not come as a surprise if Pele is shown the exit door, as his minimum requirement to secure his job is to keep the club in the Premier League.

The Men Secured For Now:

Okey Emordi (Enugu Rangers)
He has led the Flying Antelopes to a superb run of no losses in their last five games, which has put them in pole position in the standings and also tipped the scales in his favour.

Emordi could become a cult hero if he succeeds in ending a 27-year-old hoodoo at Rangers without a trophy.

Stanley Eguma (Dolphins)
In spite of the match-fixing allegation on him, Eguma has turned Dolphins to one of the most consistent sides this term by posting big results on all fronts including the Caf Champions League.

His side has been within touching distance at the top of the NPL log and that has impressed his employers.

Lodewijk de Kruif (Heartland)
If this season is to be judged by the last five games, Heartland would have ran away with the title. The Dutchman in spite of having most of his key men away on international assignments for most matchdays has ensured his side are six points behind leaders, Rangers.

Not even the upcoming test at Gombe United this Sunday will rob him his job at the Naze Millionaires.

Bernard Ogbe (Gombe United)
Ogbe has stunned his rivals in the top flight by unleashing youngsters, Mustapha Babadidi and Sanusi Sani on them. His side are in the top four despite finishing bottom in the round of last five games compared to the other 19 teams.

Ogbe looks primed to stay another season with Gombe United.

Tunde Sanni (Kwara United)
Sanni has crossed the first hurdle of a 10-match ultimatum handed him by Kwara United, as he has led the side to a top three place so far and he looks set to continue in his post.

Maurice Cooreman (Warri Wolves)
The experienced Belgian coach starts his tenure with Wolves this Saturday at 3SC. He will be judged by Wolves' performance in the league and the Caf Confederation.

Solomon Ogbeide (Akwa United)
Akwa United remain the best promoted side so far and Ogbeide is the man behind it all. His men have raked in extraordinary display on the road and gritty shows at home this term. It's difficult to see him in harm's way for now.

Ladan Bosso (Wikki Tourists)
The former Under20 coach has the minimum requirement of keeping the Tourists in the top flight but has not ruled out a continental place. His side have won three in their last five games and Bosso is not under pressure, as he is in a familiar terrain, where he was previously head coach for more than three seasons.

As for John Obuh (Sharks), Justin Tenger (Niger Tornadoes), Sunday Erelesusi (Rising Stars), John Zaki (Lobi Stars), Baba Ganaru (Kano Pillars) and Kabir Sulaiman Dogo (ABS FC) their jobs do not have huge demands attached to them at the moment other than decent finish to the campaign.

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