The match against Plateau United FC at the New Jos Stadium on December 27th, 2020 was Kwara United FC’s first game of the current season, a season which has much at stake for the players, officials, and most importantly, the management and Kwarans at large.
Just like every other season before now, objectives have been drawn, targets set, aspirations held, and hopes hinged on many variables, which importantly have to do with the caliber of players engaged, the welfare packages, conducive atmosphere, and above all, the support of all.
All these might not be unconnected with the experiences of the previous season, and the need to raise the bar in the general status of the team.
Last season, in a bid to raise the status of the team, the management, with the support of the government bought over a slot of Delta Force, to return to the apex league, from Week 10, and the team struggled for balance all through.
The season was terminated at Week 24, Plateau United FC, which was then leading the table declared winner, and most importantly, no team was relegated at the end of it.
The management and the technical crew, headed by Coach Abdullahi Biffo responded by bolstering the squad, bringing in about 15 players, including two foreigners, Lucas Ribiero Alves, a Brazillian, and Ibrahim Kone from Cote D’Ivoire.
Also among the new recruits are the former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Dele Aiyenugba, former Sunshine Stars FC, Jide Fatokun, former MFM FC Striker, Lateef Abiola with Micheal Ohanu, as well as Afeez Nosiru.
The influx of top rated players into the team has also raised expectations, obviously to justify government’s support and commitment.
Going by history, the club has never won the league or the FA Cup, now renamed Aiteo Cup, despite the huge investment on the team. This has to do with environmental factors.
This is not the first time that Kwara United FC is having a serious preparation ahead of any season, and this goes to show that all have to do with factors beyond just the assemblage of players, but should be part of it, and even, the foundation.
It’s absolutely beyond ordinary.
The history of football and formation of football clubs in Kwara state began from the colonial days, and precisely began proper from the 1940s. This is not to say that soccer was not being played all around before then.
And Kwara United Football Club came into being owing to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Kwara State government and Exide Battery Company Limited in 1997, on Exide
Sparkers Football Club, then a Division II club based in Ibadan, Oyo state, and owned by the motor battery manufacturing company.
Kwara state government, then under the administration of Col. Peter Asam Mbu Ogar, aM MilitaryAdministrator, bought over Exide Sparkers, as a replacement for the defunctK KwaraBombers, which then got relegated to the third cadre of the nation’s league system then, Division III.
The state’s ownership of a league club actually had its root in 1974, with Kwara Water Corporation Football Club. Then, it was supposed to be an in-house club for the staffers of the Water Corporation.
And due to the results and depth of talents in the club, the scope was opened, and by 1979, the club qualified to play in the National League second Division.
That same year, the club got to the quarter-final stage of the Football Association Cup (now known as Aiteo Cup).
In 1985, due to the change in the name of the parent corporation to Kwara Utility Board, the club changed its name to Kwara Utility Bombers of Ilorin. With the disengagement of the parent corporation from financing the club in 1990, the club changed its name to Kwara Bombers Football Club. it suffered financial stress, which in its relegation to Division III in 1996.
And after 30 years of the creation of the state, and about 17 years of Nigeria football league, a Kwara team, Kwara United Football Club stepped out, for the first time in the Professional League Division I, through the supportive efforts of Col. Peter Asam Mbu Ogar.
The new team then, was a child of desperation, born out of frustration, with the failure of its fore-bearer, Kwara Bombers Football Club, which got relegated to Division III.
From 1996/1997 season up till date, Kwara United Football Club may have been fulfilling the yearnings of its numerous followers and that of the financier, Kwara state government, especially as a public relations wing of the government, and the engagement of a larger percentage of followers, but not in raking in titles and winning laurels.
The club has no doubt, continued to contribute immensely to the development and promotion of the round leather game since coming into being.
The team has represented Nigeria three times in the continental championship, first, the CAF Cup in 1999/2000 season, when they reached the quarter-finals, losing to Zamalek FC of Egypt.
The team also reached the quarter-final round robin stage of the 2006/2007 CAF Confederation Cup. It lost out at the same stage of the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Cup competition to Rangers International, in 2011.
The club has also produced top class players, some of whom played for the national teams. Some of its players are also plying their trade abroad.
But this time around, the trajectory needs to change, and that can only come through with the change in mentality and support in and around the team. The team needs total support of all, for the management to achieve the set objectives.
It’s absolutely beyond ordinary.
The players are ready to roar, and they have started showing it. The management is fully prepared, and they have demonstrated it. The government has continued to show tremendous support, but all these must be complemented with the right atmosphere and support from all and sundry, irrespective of our affiliations.
It’s absolutely beyond ordinary.
With Kwara United, the atmosphere in and around it is not a new problem that just cropped up all of a sudden. Kwara United FC is not just being made to look ordinary, but because of pervasive refusal to put our intellect and affluence to positive use so as to improve our personal and collective standard in sports, generally.
Kwara United FC is has been under focus because, despite our pronounced love lost for the club, our common love for the club is not founded on unalloyed passion but coated with selfishness.
One of the negative phenomenon been pursued by those that pray for the failure of the club is the concept of failure for whoever is at the helm of affairs. This is done in an ingenious way through which they always promote anything negative about the club in a way to promoting themselves and companions in the business of demolishing the club for selfish reasons.
Now is the time that it should actually be Kwara United, a unifying name for all of us. Let’s all come together, to make it count, for all of us.
And that was why the Technical Adviser of the team, Coach Abdullahi Biffo enjoins Kwarans to continue supporting the team so that the team can go places this season in the League.
This is not a personal entity. It’s not the personal property of the Chairman, Kumbi Titiloye, or that of the General Manager, Bashir Badawiy or anyone elsewhere. It’s the property of the government of the state which each and everyone from the state has a stake. We have had numerous personalities coming on as Chairmen, General Managers, Secretaries or Board members of this team at intervals, all displaying their skills to move the club forward.
This present set of managers will also go, when the appointed time comes, but the team will always remain.
We need to therefore, think beyond personality, but always think about the team. And not until we do that, our targets would always remain unachieved.
The management also need to adopt a ‘let’s stoop to conquer attitude’, by considering the importance and roles of everybody, including the stakeholders.
We can do it, but, we must look beyond ordinary in our support.