The Athletic Daily

NPFL: Who will replace Dakkada FC?

Dakkada FC

Good morning and welcome back to my daily blog (hahaha). Daily indeed! The last time I wrote here was over a month ago, on that day and period, it appears nothing will ever happen in Nigeria with the coronavirus pandemic ravaging as we’ve never seen in our lifetime. There was nothing in terms of newsworthy, no information, no whispers and even the birds were afraid of the virus and dare not to whisper. But in the last few weeks, things have started to unfold and looks like football will finally return even when we actually don’t know when. It is that hope that will kill us.

The world is returning to normalcy with football and other activities almost at full swing. The French Ligue 1 started two weeks ago, the English Premier League will start in three days, other leagues in Africa are on, the transfer window is very active with lots of movement involving big name players, if your club hasn’t signed anybody, you’ll have to wait and see, maybe they have a surprise for you.

Talking of transfers, it takes me back to the human shopping window of football in Nigeria. Transfer stories are always shredded in secrecy in the Nigeria Professional Football League, but this time around, we are having a little bit of transparency with clubs learning from the well-appreciated practice of top clubs in Europe. NPFL clubs are fond of issuing a press release that the club has acquired the services of 25 players without even pictures of these players. Last season, Akwa United unveiled all their players in one day, it was a glamorous event which took away the excitement of having transfer news in the league.

It was a good event, but where else have you seen such practice? Another thing to note which has changed positively is signing players to two or three years contract, this has not been happening, but with Abia Warriors setting the pace, it will help to change the narrative, hopefully.

I know you are beginning to wonder why I gave that caption and completely write about something else. Sometimes, people do funny things like watching Nickelodeon with your kid or getting glued to your tv set watching Baby TV or Toonami or whatever the kids love to watch. That’s me, leaving what I am supposed to write and doing something else. Let’s get back to Dakkada FC, shall we?

Dakkada FC has so far let eight first-team players go to other NPFL clubs, the same players they issued a release few weeks ago that outstanding salaries and bonuses of 10 months have been cleared. When you read that between lines, it is easy to connect the dot and pieces that something big might be going on behind the scene.

These are the players who have joined other clubs: Goalkeeper Vincent Edafe and defender Harrison Ibukun (Abia Warriors); Somiari Alalibo (Enyimba); Moses Effiong (Plateau United); Esor Archibong (Enugu Rangers); Femi Ajayi (Wikki Tourist); Imo Obot and Ibrahim Abiola (unknown).

Add head coach Caleb Esu in the mix whose contract has not been renewed and he is linked to other clubs in the country, it becomes a worry for the supporters of Dakkada FC. They had a good debut campaign last season in the NPFL and they looked like a top-flight team, fast forward to the end of the season, the club is now struggling with off the pitch issues. Some of the players whispered to the media throughout last season that they have been owed salaries, even coach Esu spoke about this.

The perceived problem with the club is funding. The government of Akwa Ibom State has struggled to finance two clubs in the top flight with high demand for salaries and other financial obligations in a league that is not profitable. It will not be out of place if the government put their NPFL status for sale. The federal government has made it clear that football league will now be run as a business, that sounds good to the ear, if we want to see improvement in the league, the management must ensure they give room for private investors to come in.

At the end of last season, it was rumoured that Vandrezzer FC who is playing in the Nigeria National League had approached the Akwa Ibom State Government with a proposal to take over the team, which they turned down, but with the handwritings on the wall, Vandrezzer FC might have their wish.

Will Vandrezzer sense this opportunity with a new bid which the government and management may not be able to resist? Only time will tell.

Alright folks. That’s that for today.

Sincere apologies we’ve not been able to record the podcast for your listening pleasure, but fingers crossed, we might bring it this Friday. But until then, have a good Wednesday.


Download the latest episode of The Athletic NG NPFL podcast. Links below.


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