December 17, 2019

Dakkada’s Caleb Esu raves about team’s big game mentality

Caleb Esu, manager of Dakkada FC

They are just into their first eight matches in the top flight but unheralded Dakkada FC have already made their presence felt among Nigeria’s elite clubs with some scintillating returns.

Not only are they placed second on the 20-team log after Matchday 8 games, the Uyo based side have along the line claimed the scalp of some glamorous oppositions, including two of the past three official winners of the league – Rangers and Enyimba FC.

Coached by a fatherly Caleb Esu, Dakkada (previously referred to as Akwa Starlets) had Rangers for a big name breakfast at the Cathedral in Enugu and although Kano Pillars took them for lunch in Uyo, they got themselves a perfect dinner with the defeat of reigning champions Enyimba on Sunday.

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Never at any point in those three games did the newbies look overawed by the presence of their illustrious oppositions and were indeed unlucky to have lost to a rejuvenated Pillars side in a rescheduled Match Day 2 game.

Esu told after the game that his team are one for the big occasions.

“I think we’ve been trying our best to see to it that we give our best each time we play a “bigger” team,” began the former UNICEM Rovers coach.

“When we faced Shooting Stars during our NNL Playoff, you saw what happened. We went to Enugu to play against Rangers, you know what happened. This team is always doing the very best when they get to the big stage and I am happy for that because they will never disappoint me.

“These boys are young, strong and good to go. They are ambitious, they want to make it and that’s why you’re seeing what you’re seeing

“The celebration (at full time) actually is as a result of comparing us (with Enyimba). Nobody gave us a chance so for us to do this brings about joy,” said Esu.

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One of the most visible attributes of Esu is his calm demeanor on the sideline even when things are not going fine on the pitch; a trait which has permeated through the membranes of his team.

Dakkada’s players maintained their utmost composure throughout Sunday’s win, even when they were rattled by the People’s Elephant late on. Their calmness made way for Utibe Arit’s 93rd minute winner.

Esu explains that: “You must know that I am an experienced coach, I’ve been in football for a long time so I know what to do. If I am not calm and putting shivers down the spines of these players, they will mess up.

“So, what you need do is to compose yourself, give them the confidence that they need and let them execute their art or playing football.

“That is what you see whenever I am on the bench. I don’t rush, I don’t shout on my players, I want them to calm down and play their own game according to my instruction.”

Dakkada are no doubt having a dream debut season in the top flight, currently two points behind table toppers Plateau United in second position. Although they have reiterated that their main focus is to remain among the big guns at the end of the season, just any feat is achievable for the composed mind.


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