Kadiri Ikhana

Ikhana: Enyimba Can Win Champions League, Salisu Not Oliseh Should Handle Home Eagles

Former Africa coach of the year and present coach of Enyimba International FC of Aba, Kadiri Ikhana, has said that Super Eagles head coach Sunday Oliseh must be at peace with old and new players of the team in order to succeed. Ikhana who recaptured the Nigeria league title from Pillars after four years spoke with RICHARD JIDEAKA on Olympic Eagles, CHAN and his club's chances on the continent…

 Congratulations on winning the Glo Premier League title for Enyimba FC


IKHANA: Thanks. It was not easy at all but I give God the  glory.


 How did you manage to dethrone Kano Pillars FC who had won the title thrice in a row?

 Like I said earlier, it was God and the collective will of the players, officials, management and owners of the club. We fought from the beginning to the end.

 Which clubs gave you the fright and you felt might deny you the title at some point during the season?

Every club at the start was dangerous but we always knew we would be contesting for the title at the end so we took our chances. Sunshine Stars were the initial threats until Warri Wolves came into the fray and ran us to the finish line.

So what next after the you regained the NPFL title?

We'll want to retain our title and do very well in the CAF Champions League

 Do you see Enyimba FC winning the CAF Champions League with the talents at your disposal?

 Yes we can. We have the players to go all the way but the attitude of the owners must change in managing the club. Players should not be owed, they should be well paid to stop exodus abroad. And the funding must improve drastically. Last season we crashed out of Champions League due to poor welfare and inadequate preparation.

What is your take on the standard and quality of the league in Nigeria?

There is room for improvement. The LMC tried but they can do better. The quality is there but the standard is a far cry from where we ought to be.

Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh invited 30 players for CHAN, what are the chances of the team in Rwanda next month?

The team will do well if Salisu Yusuf is allowed to handle the team. He knows the players in the domestic league very well and only him can get the best from them. Being a league coach, he knows the capability of all the players. Oliseh may make them jittery because of their trying to impress him. I think it will be good if Oliseh plays only a supervisory role. I cannot stick out my neck that they will win in Rwanda.

Nigeria U-23s managed to reach the last four of the final qualifier for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, do you see the team being among the three qualifiers?

 I am not happy with the way our team have played so far. No cohesion, poor in defence and attack. I think Samson Siasia made a mistake by dropping the trio of Sokari, Etor and Nzube of Enyimba and players who had been with the team for long. You don't blend a team in a short time. However, I think they can make it to the Olympics but I doubt if they can stop Senegal in the semi-final. Senegal are favourites to win the trophy.

What is your take on Super Eagles being ranked 66th in the world by FIFA?

That is a correct measure of the standard of the game in the country. We have to start playing top football countries during the FIFA window and show no mercy to lowly ranked teams. We have to target top 20 next year.

How would rank Oliseh so far as Super Eagles coach?
Oliseh has not done badly with Super Eagles but he needs to improve on his man management. He must work in harmony and peace with old and new players. He should realise that you don't overhaul a team overnight and get results. It should be a gradual process. He would fail if he does not exercise patience in dealing with his players. He should not be an island. Oliseh will be better off if he consults with other coaches in the country.

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