Newly promoted Sporting Lagos FC chairman, Godwin Enakhena has bemoaned his team’s inability to emerge as winners of the recently ended NNL Super 8 at Asaba, Delta state, describing it as heartbreaking. He spoke to RAYMOND NWADUBA on that and many other interesting issues bothering on the league generally. Enjoy it…..
Congrats over your team’s promotion to the NPL.
1. How does it feel to gain promotion into Nigeria’s elite division in just two years of asking?
I’m elated and it’s still like a dream that I don’t want to wake up from. That feeling you have when you put in the work and God crowns your effort. We just want to thank our proprietor, the entire management team, our coaching staff, the players, our ever present fans and indeed all that supported us in one way or the other. This is to you all. We did it together.
2. What exactly was the secret, particularly considering that teams that goes down to the lower division often takes time before they can make a return but for Sporting Lagos to be in NPL in just two years after it’s formation is a massive achievement which is made so easy?
The secret is God, good coaching, quality playing personnel, hard-work and motivation from the management. With these, the sky was going to be the limit and we’re delighted with what we’ve achieved as a collective.
3. How can you describe the journey so far?
Rough and tough but this is a road I’ve traveled many times before in the past, so it was a familiar terrain that I was prepared.
4. Would you say you have achieved all the targets set for yourselves?
No. We’re just starting and we’ve just achieved the first target which is to get into the Nigeria Premier League. We will take it a step at a time in meeting other targets that includes staying in the top division and playing on the continent.
5. How easy or difficult has it been managing Sporting Lagos as chairman particularly compared to running MFM?
The difference is that while Sporting Lagos was set up for purely business Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Football Club on the other hand was for empowering the youths through football. Dr Olukoya gave me total support and fortunately I’m enjoying same at Sporting Lagos.
6. What do you think of the league now, do you think there have been some improvements and are you satisfied with organization of the leagues generally?
Based on what the IMC has done and what you and I saw last season, there’s no denying the fact that we’ve moved away from where we used to be, although we’re still not where we’re supposed to be. It’s a gradual process and we will get there, how soon is what I can’t say.
7. What do you think can be done to further improve or advance the league?
Put the league on television, let’s have live games, the IMC should stay firm and very fast in decision taken against those bent on dragging the league down. Also important is the issue of payment of salaries to players and officials by the clubs and gradual disengagement of Government from running football clubs.
8. What has been your greatest constraint as chairman Sporting Lagos?
Biggest challenge is the club’s inability to get good playing surfaces to train adequately as we would’ve loved to. Aside this, everything is fine.
9. Are you satisfied with the team as it is now or would you push for changes to be carried out?
We will definitely get the team reinforced to face the big boys in the NPFL and meet the expectations of our fans; and the target set for ourselves which I talked about earlier.
10. Which departments would you want your coaches to work on going into the NPL?
This is a coaching forte and wouldn’t want to talk about this. What is certain is that we will have to strengthen the team.
11. What should Nigerians expect from Sporting Lagos in their first season in the NPL?
Good and exciting football, super-match day hospitality like no other and a very conducive atmosphere for them to enjoy value for their time and money.
12. Should we expect another Bendel Insurance Cinderella kind of run?
That’s the last thing on our mind. We’re Sporting Lagos and not Bendel Insurance. We just want to compete, win fair and give fans and investors value for money each time we’re on the pitch.
13. Were you disappointed that your team failed to make it to the final of the NNL Super 8?
Yes I was. Our target was to come back to Lagos as champions of the NNL, and our little way of saying thank you to the founder Shola Akinlade and his team for the unbelievable support they’ve given the club since it was founded. But it didn’t happen, we just have to learn from the experience and move on.
14. What do you think went wrong because they were already poised for the final?
It’s football, sometimes you can’t explain what happened. You win some and lose some, but it’s always up to the next thing.
15. Do you think they underestimated Heartland or it was just mere complacency having been in the driver’s seat at first but just couldn’t manage the game to the finish?
We lost and that’s it. Congratulations to Heartland for qualifying for the NPFL, just a season after they were relegated, that’s no mean feat.
16. What could your team have done differently if you were to have a replay of the game?
Nothing. Same approach but like we say in football, no two games are same.
Thank you sir fir availing us your time.
You are welcome.
Thank you sir and God bless.