NPFL, Maikaba, Title race
Mathematics’ is a popular cliché often chorused by followers of the round leather game; but to Abdu Maikaba, a Mathematician by training, there is plenty of mathematics in the game.

Not only does the Plateau United head coach fascinates one with his team’s easy-on-the-eye style of football, his sincerity and openness during press conferences endears him to pen pushers who get more than enough solutions to their curiosity.

Maikaba went all out to attack in Saturday’s game against Dakkada FC, starting strikers Tosin Omoyele and Ibrahim Mustapha together for the first time this season but his side had to settle for a 0-0 draw which saw them drop below Lobi Stars at the summit of the table.

Satisfaction in the point

For someone whose side could ultimately not get maximum points in spite of the well-worked out plan, Maikaba surprisingly expressed absolute satisfaction in the point secured by his side against Dakkada.

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The former Akwa United coach was full of praises for his opponents; describing them as a very good side despite not featuring any known names in the league.

“Actually, we had some problems particularly in our journey (to Uyo),” began Maikaba to npfl.ng after the game.

“We wanted to survive the first 30 minutes and it was difficult because we met a very good side. A very good side indeed, full of energy.

“We were lucky to survive that first 30 minutes and that was what gave myself and players the confidence that we can carry on and win the game.
“We were not lucky to have that chance to win but we are happy with one point. Against a good team like this, one point is okay. I am very happy to see a team like this, with rookies, players that you can’t name anyone in any team in Nigeria,” he remarked.

Mathematical projection on Lobi’s likely slip

Up till the midway point of the league, most coaches whose sides are within the top-four bracket would always play down their title push but Maikaba is not one of such.

He was on the trail of Lobi Stars while in charge of Akwa United in 2018 (before the league was called off after Matchday 24) and knows he is up against Lobi Stars once again this term and has already been doing his calculation on possible ways to steer clear of United’s north-central rivals.

He continued: “You know I’m a mathematics teacher and I always look at it from that dimension. They say football is no Mathematics but I believe there is Mathematics in football.

“Lobi have drawn two games at home, we have drawn two games at home also. But Lobi are facing most of the bigwigs at home in the second round and likely, they will still have some upsets.

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“Enyimba will go there, Kano Pillars will go there, we will go there, Akwa United will go there; all their games are difficult. It is very, very important for us and teams aspiring for the title because I believe if Rangers could go there to hold them, Enyimba will think the same way, Pillars will think the same way and we’re also thinking the same way.

“So, our matches at home are a little bit easier – no match is easy – but teams with no aspirations to win the title are most of the teams that will come to our place in the second round,” analysed Maikaba.

The second half of the league commences this weekend with the corresponding fixture of Saturday’s game, against Dakkada. Maikaba and his Plateau United troops must however be wary of the giant-killers who have proved to be one of the best away sides in the league this term.

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