The 2019 abridged version of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) will pass as one of the most keenly-contested ever.
Week after week, the fortunes of teams fluctuated, from vying to qualify for the season-ending playoffs to battling with relegation.
At the end of 22 match days, eight teams were relegated from the NPFL to the Nigeria National League, NNL.
One of the casualties was Remo Stars who just recently got promoted to NPFL after they held sway in the NNL early this year.
Just four days to their season-opener in the NPFL, Coach Fatai Osho, who helped the sky blue stars secure promotion back to the NPFL, resigned from his position.
Osho announced his resignation on his Facebook page. “I have resigned my position as the technical adviser of Remo Stars FC. I wish the team the very best in NPFL,” he said.
It was gathered that Osho opted to throw in the towel having been told he would be working under another coach.
With Osho’s exit, the management of Remo Stars swiftly announced and unveiled former NPFL winner, Kennedy Boboye, as their new technical adviser and Daniel Ogunmodede as the head coach.
After Boboye’s first match, the coach waxed lyrical, claiming that he has quality players that can even pick a continental ticket.
He said: “My players are good, we have to work with them to get to where we want to get to and I can’t say they are bad players because who I took over from has done a very good job.
“This is just the first game, we need to push it possible for us to pick continental ticket we just need to work hard.”
Unfortunately, just after their first home game, the League Management Company fined Remo Stars N6 million and banned them from playing three matches on home soil after fans attacked match officials in their Match Day three fixture against Bendel Insurance.
Remo Stars were banished to Oshogbo to play three home matches.
Remo Stars picked six points out of the nine maximum points in Oshogbo township stadium, MFM defeated Remo stars 1-0, while the sky blue boys defeated Kwara united and Katsina united.
The team recorded her first win in the league at the gateway international stadium, Sagamu, by defeating Wikki Tourist 2-1 in a rescheduled match day two fixtures.
After matchday 11 encounter against Enugu Rangers, Boboye blasted his players saying they were average players.
Rangers thrashed Remo 5-2 and Remo would have needed to respond with a big win in the return leg. But Rangers were unfortunate not to have won as Bright Silas goal was ruled for an offside. Both teams settle for a draw.
He said further that the players deceived him with their performance against Enyimba in Aba and blamed the pitches for not allowing the team to play with their tactics.
“They are just average players because experienced players will never blow away the chances we blew away today against Enugu Rangers,” Boboye said.
“I met players on ground when I came and I was told to bring in some new players, but when I saw what they played against Enyimba in Aba I was impressed not knowing that it was just a flash in the pan and there is little to nothing I can do with the bad pitch too as we are unable to play the way we are best known to play.
“Our playing pattern is never effective enough to get us the results we deserve, we will have to rally together to get the results we desire.”
Reacting to the poor season, football lovers and fans of Remo Stars who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES blamed the management for the misfortune, expressing dissatisfaction with how Fatai Osho was left in the cold.
The manager of Ablaze Football Academy, Osho Samuel, said bringing a new coach affected the team’s style of play.
He said: “Why would you lose someone who fought through thick and thin, understands the team and how they think, he knows what he uses to psych the team up and get results, there is a chemistry, you decide to demote to assistant…who does that?”
“Then you have Daniel Ogunmodede who has been in the system for a long time. He knows the philosophy and all, you decided not to give him the job, then you look for big names and yes that’s where big names have gotten them once again: relegation,” he said.
An ardent follower of NPFL follower, Olayemi Idris, also added his thought to the discourse.
He said, “They failed to manage the Osho Fatai saga well knowing full well that a new coach would like to come with new tactics.”
A sports journalist, Boluwaji Jegede, believed that the resignation of Fatai Osho affected Remo Stars’ performance in the top flight league a great deal.
“I think the management should be blamed for Remo Stars relegation. Fatai Osho’s plans were clear that he wanted explore with the team returning back to the NPFL.
“If they can’t get him back into the team, then they need to recycle the whole management team, get a new manager, start afresh to get everything working again,” he said.
Another Remo Stars fan, Shola Ridwan, stressed that the technical Adviser should be sacked and blamed the management for hiring him.
He said: “Remo Stars has one of the best management in the league because of the type of sponsors that are involved. But their mistake is that they allowed their former coach to depart. Fatai Osho understood the team a lot because not all managers can be able to shape up a team very well after relegation.”