With the Sunday’s top of the table clash in Rwang Pam Stadium, Jos, done and dusted, Lagos-based MFM FC Coach, Fidelis Illechukwu, says he is graceful in defeat and described his players as champions in the making.
The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Match Day 34 clash of the titans between Plateau United and MFM ended 1-0 in favour of the Peace Boys.
The match was decided early courtesy of a lone strike from Plateau United’s Ibeh Johnson.
While MFM might have missed the services of their skillful midfielder, Sikiru Olatunbosun and effervescent Stephen Odey, who are away on national assignment, Illechukwu banked on the bench to fill the gap.
The diminutive midfielder, Chukwuma Onuwa, was called upon by MFM tactician, Illechukwu to maintain the balance in the midfield together with Adebayo Waheed and wonder midfielder, Adekunle Adegboyega.
Although MFM played their usual trademark of high possession play; they were effectively repulsed by Plateau United staunch defensive line.
It was the Kennedy Boboye-tutored team that had their script decreed with a well-defended early lone strike from Johnson in the first half of the tension-soaked match.
The win for the Peace Boys have, however, moved them six points away from MFM and a step closer to clinching the much coveted league shield won by Mighty Jests 45 years ago.
For MFM, the title is not won yet as there are other matches to be played though odds may be against them with a six-point deficit to pay.
The Olukoya Boys will have to play their hearts out in order to catch up with the table toppers who are cruising on the crest of the league if they win their next two matches.
For Plateau United, their efforts as title challengers have got off with a mark with no foreseen untoward circumstances ahead. They are now thick on the league shield and thin on missing out.
It won’t be an impossible mission for the Jos-based team as they face their next opponents as the league title is for them to lose.
However, for the Church Boys, a continental ticket won’t be a bad finish for a modest club that has just spent two seasons in the elite division but with a tall ambition.
MFM gaffer, Illechukwu, in his post-match interview said he was “graceful in defeat’’ even as he described his punching team as “champions in the making’’.
“I am happy with the squad, they played like champions. In fact they deserve to win the match only that luck was against them.
“Also, I am not happy with the loss, but I am proud of my boys. If they can replicate the performance against Plateau United in other away games we can still pick some maximum points.
“If we then pick those points, that means that the title race is not over yet as winning our games means pressure for the league leaders,’’ he told NAN.
MFM spokesman, Olawale Quadri said the team had performed the way it was expected of them, adding that the club would continue to push for the league title till the last match.
“We really played well by all standards, losing the game is not the end of the title race; we can still match up with the league leaders.
“Plateau United are known for their ruthless win at home but they are unable to do that against us on Sunday, so we still have our chances to take.
“The league matches are not over yet, they may lose and we win; until the last game of the season, no one knows what may eventually happen.
“We are hoping to pick some away points to reduce the gap in-between us and we if are able to do that, we can have a last gasp contest to determine the eventual winners,’’ he said.
Plateau United still tops the table with 61 points from 34 matches.
MFM on the other hand, occupies the second slot with 55 points from same number of matches.