By; SAMSON YAKI, Lafia
Nasarawa State Commissioner of Youth and Sports Development, Amb. Lucky Isaac Yargwa has disclosed his target for state owned football club, Nasarawa United ahead of the new Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Yargwa said winning the league or picking one of the continental tickets should be team’s minimum benchmark for the 2022/2023 season.
He made this known on Tuesday in Lafia, during a scheduled meeting with the players and management of the Lafia-based football club.
“Let’s be disciplined, cooperate with all that matter in the team, be responsible, work hard and smart to reward the kind gesture of the Governor and the people of Nasarawa State with, at least, a trophy this new season.
“Additionally, your welfare is our primary priority, and we will never renege from doing the needful to boost your morale,” Yargwa assured.
The commissioner also assured that the team would soon return to their traditional home ground, the Lafia City Stadium, as the contractor handling the renovation work has promised to complete it before the end of the first week of February, 2023.
“No one is happy that our teams (Nasarawa United and Nasarawa Amazons are playing their home games away from home. But I can assure you that we have concluded all necessary modalities with the contractor to have the works completed as soon as possible so that you can enjoy the benefits of playing before your home fans,” he said.
Responding, Technical Adviser of Nasarawa United, Bala Nikyu, appreciated the state government for its constant support to the team.
Nikyu said the visit was a huge encouragement as it would strengthen them to improve on their performance beginning with their first tie this coming weekend.
“I want to thank you for coming to boost our morale ahead of the assignment before us.
“Suffice to state that if we get results, it will take us to places. Our market values too will improve.
“So, as far as we are here for Nasarawa United and the State, we are equally doing so for ourselves.
“By the grace of God, we shall make everybody, including the Governor, proud of Nasarawa United this season,” he said
Coach Bala Nikyu’s position was corroborated by King Osanga who spoke on behalf of his play mates.
The former junior international and 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup Winner said they are aware of the format of the new league and its challenges, saying they would approach it with all the energy and experience to reward the confidence reposed in them by the sponsors and fans of the team.
Osanga opined that the lofty packages that accompany the league this term should encourage any player or team to give more than ever before in order to benefit from them.
Speaking earlier, Chairman of Nasarawa United, Chief Barr. Isaac Danladi, expressed the readiness of the Team to participate in the Abridged League.
“Gentlemen, we are good to go. Though there were discrepancies regarding the format of the League earlier, but at the end of the day, we all agreed that we should go with the current format, and football is the winner.
“Officially, the league kicked off last weekend, and you all saw what happened between Akwa United versus Bendel Insurance in Uyo.
“We have to learn our lessons from the outcome of that match as we begin our campaign at home to Enyimba FC of Aba this weekend.
“That match is a litmus test match for us, especially some of our new players. Even though we are sure of picking up the maximum points against them, you should know that the Abridged League is the most difficult kind of League ever as it comes with a cluster of fixtures but fewer too.
“We have to begin on a good note and maintain that till the end of the season, if we must compete for the trophy.
“However, we are all impressed by what we have seen.
“Our make-shift venue is not strange to us. We must go there and make our sponsors and supporters proud before our original home ground will be fixed.
“Unlike previous seasons, this season comes with many reward benefits. We have the prize money for the eventual winners and so on and so forth.
“So, we must work hard to lay our hands on those packages, more so that we are not underdogs,” he said.
The Solid Miners are in Group ‘A’ alongside Akwa United, Bendel Insurance, Kwara United, Plateau United, Enyimba FC, El-Kanemi Warriors, Remo Stars, Gombe United and Shooting Stars.
On Saturday, 14th January, Nasarawa United will face Enyimba FC at the Jos International Stadium by 4pm, before embarking on a long trip to Maiduguri, Borno State, for a mid-week clash against elite league returnees, El-Kanemi Warriors FC, on 18th January, with their second home game and third league game versus 2020/21 league champions, Akwa United, in Jos, on Saturday, 21st January, 2023.
Nasarawa United finished 6th on the table in the 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League Season, and got to the last eight of the Aiteo Federation Cup before the competition was aborted.