The Technical Adviser of Nasarawa United, Coach Bala Nikyu has blamed his team’s recent poor results on ill luck which he said made it impossible for his boys to take their chances. In this interview with Trust Sports, the former Super Falcons assistant coach said there is revival in the club after their last victory over Akwa United. Nikyu also maintained that despite the dip in form, Nasarawa United are still title contenders.
After three consecutive losses, your team won against Akwa United. How important is the victory for Nasarawa United?
Well, the truth is that the three matches we lost were as a result of ill luck. We played very well but failed to take our chances. Unfortunately for us, our opponents took theirs and that was how we ended up with the losses. You see when you play well but lose, it is said you lost gallantry. That was exactly our story. It wasn’t as if we weren’t playing well. We are all happy that we won against Akwa United. The victory has brought back our confidence.
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What did you tell your boys before they took on Akwa United?
Nothing much, the boys themselves were not happy with the downward movement of the team. Definitely, they wanted our revival to start against Akwa United and by the special grace of God, it happened and we are all excited. It will propel us moving forwards.
How much pressure did you and your players face during the losing streak?
The pressure wasn’t much. As a matter of fact, it was the players themselves who were beginning to feel uncomfortable because they didn’t like what had become of the team. We started strongly but all of a sudden, we dropped down and it was a big concern for all of us. The management of the club didn’t put us under any form of pressure because they know what is called football. They know that in football, you either win, draw or lose. They knew we were not playing badly so there was no need to put us under undue pressure.
What are you expecting from your next away match at Jigawa Golden Stars?
We want to build on the 2-1 victory over Akwa United. But like I normally say, football is not mathematics whereby, if you wake up someone from sleep and say 2+2, he or she will tell you 4. Football is not something you can discuss outside. What you do is to prepare for the 90 minutes on the field of play. And most times, it is God who decides what becomes of our efforts. He decides if you will win or lose. We shall try to get it right but if victory does not come, then we take it that way.
Last season Nasarawa United struggled to survive so what did you do to make the team more competitive this time around?
Those close to me know my preference for young players. I have much younger players this time. The older ones among them are very few. I prefer to deal with young and hungry players who want to succeed. Secondly, I have so many quality players in the team and there is serious competition for shirts. I think this is what is helping us to keep the fight going.
Nasarawa United are currently down the ladder. Are you still aiming at the league title?.
At this moment, if anybody tells you who is going to win the league, he will be making a mistake. We all have to wait till the league gets to at least week 25. It is only then that we would begin to have a clearer picture of what is to happen. The league is a marathon so we are not losing sleep over what has happened. Our concern is to win more matches and be able to climb up the ladder again. So it will not be right to write off Nasarawa United’s chances of picking at least as continental ticket.
Do you have any plans to strengthen your team when the transfer window opens?
Well, I think this area is personal. However, let me say I am happy with the players I have in my team. There are some areas that I have up to four good players. I can say I am spoilt for choice. So I am not thinking of going for new players for the sake of it. However, when the time comes, we shall take another look at the team and see if there will be need to strengthen some departments. If there is no need, then we continue.
How much support is your club getting from the government of Nasarawa State?
The government is not supporting only Nasarawa United. The government of Nasarawa State is supporting sports generally. Everything that has to do with sports is given due attention. Nasarawa Amazons are also enjoying the necessary attention. Before our match with Akwa United, two luxurious buses were given to us as a morale booster. The government is ready to encourage sports development in the state.
How satisfied are you with officiating in the NPFL this season?
It is said if wishes were horses, even beggars would ride. So my wish is that officiating should continue the way it is. It should continue to the end of the league. This is why I started by saying, if wishes were horses, even beggars would ride. For now, there is no problem and I pray it continues so that we can have something to celebrate.
Out of the matches you have lost so far, which of them pained you the most?
If you lose a match, you don’t mourn forever. There is no need crying over spilt milk. When you lose a match, you take the positives from it and move on. If one has his way, he wouldn’t lose any match but it is impossible to play 30 matches and win all. So if you lose a match and continue to lament, then you have a long way to go. I don’t dwell too much on any match that I have lost.