Mountain of Fire And Miracles FC coach Fidelis Ilechukwu in this exclusive interview with Completesportsnigeria.com's IZUCHUKWU OKOSI speaks on the Lagos club, their objectives, transfer rumours on star players Steven Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun, his love for Jose Mourinho, as well as how some top NPFL clubs are keen to sign him…
Does the transfer interest in your key players like Steven Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun give you cause for concern, will that distract the players or motivate them to help MFM achieve your ambitions?
To me Odey's and Sikiru's transfer interest is a big motivation to our team and the other players. I am very happy about the development. It shows we are doing something right at the club and it has shown on match days.
Before the start of this season, what were the areas that gave you cause for worry: was it fair officiating, crowd trouble or any other, and what has been your assessment of these factors so far?
Hmm…Officiating? Believe me the League Management Company (LMC) have done their best but some officials can never change and I don'tt like talking about officiating. The crowd trouble is still there though it has reduced unlike in the past.
You have one game in hand to overtake Plateau United at the top of the table. Are the teams on top of the table the ones you expect to be there? Are you surprised the likes of Enyimba, Kano pillars are not the ones you are fighting with at the top?
No I am not surprised because the league title is still open. It's just the first half of the season. Any team can come up and overtake those at the top. Rangers won it last year. Any team can win it.
Which matches have been your most difficult this season?
Plateau United honestly. They were the league leaders as at the time and played good football despite our 2-1 win. They have an experienced coach in Kennedy Boboye and quality players. We were lucky to have defeated them because that motivated us in subsequent matches.
You have so many fans who watch you on television and in the stadiums. Why are you so animated on the touchline? You are now called the Antonio Conte of Nigerian league…
(Laughs) I appreciate the love and support of the fans. I love Conte's actions and goal celebration on the touchline but I am a huge fan of Jose Mourinho. The thing is that I love so many coaches but I like Conte's celebrations I must confess and I'm crazy about Mourinho drama, he makes the Premier league very interesting to follow.
Will MFM sign players before the second stanza of the league or you will make do with your players?
Yes, we will sign four or five players and get two or three from grassroots clubs
And some of your players will be heading to the exit door?
Yes. Some of our players will be leaving us but I will not want to say anything about it further for now. We shall make it public next week (players leaving MFM).
Finally, any approaches from other clubs who appreciate your work this season? Which clubs if indeed there are clubs knocking on the door?
I have top clubs in the NPFL who want me with good money, I must say. But for me, MFM is the best club in NPFL. I'm happy at MFM, so why leave. I am happy where I am now.