The 2016 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) winning head coach with Rangers International, Imama Amapakabo has called on the governor of Enugu state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to fulfill his pledge towards the team after ending 32 years of title drought for the flying Antelope.
The former Abia warriors gaffer in an exclusive interview with sports journalist, wondered why the state government under Ugwuanyi choose not to reward the coaches.
“It’s funny when you try to separate a team, Because in football when you talk about a team, you are talking about a full contingents, it involves officials, coaches, management and also involves the players, so you can’t separate one for the other” said Imama
“I believe that the promises that was made by his excellency, was for the team and not for a particular section (Players). In his speech on that day it was not mentioned that the promises was for some setting person.
“I don’t know but I think in the wisdom of the governor and the Enugu state government, they know why they choose to leave us out” he continued.
The Rivers State born coach when asked if the Technical crew made an appeal to the Enugu State government, said, the governor in his own capacity knows that he needed to fulfil the pledge he made to the team and not for a setting of persons.
“When you said we make appeal, I think that he is well educated enough to redeem his pledge, I believe that men should be held responsible for their words.
“He made this pronouncement clear to the world, and after about six years, he was able to make good to his promises half way, I think it has to be a whole something. But like I said, it is his choice and the choice of his cabinet’s wisdom for whatever it is that they choose to do”.
Imama Amapakabo, whose Rangers played one of the best brand of football, during the NPFL 2015/2016 winning Season admitted that he wouldn’t have spoken about the issue but said, it is honorable when men keeps to their words.
“No, it is because ordinarily I won’t have spoken out about these issues, because it being seven years and we have moved on with our lives.
“Who files the players, who picks the players, who tell the players what to do on the field of play, who is responsible for the day to day running of the players, who drives the players, who takes the players to point A to B”.
“Infact, there are a lot of people that do a lot of things for the players to be able to succeed, football in its totality is not just about what happen on the field of play.
“I think in this time of football, it is on record that the government of Enugu State have being the one that has been able to reward players without coaches and officials of the team, “ Imama concluded.
Imama who has coached multiple clubs including Enyimba and El-kanemi warrior’s, has been without a club after his contract expired last season as the head coach of NPFL outfit, Abia Warriors.
Also speaking, the direct Assistant to Imama, Coach Tony Bolus and one time MFM gaffer said the team under his superior fared well but wondered how a government will exempt a team technical crew from it’s players. He admitted that, it has never been done anywhere.
“It is funny to know such decision was taken, I have never seen that practice in a any part of the world. The players never recruited themselves, train them self or selected themselves on game days, it is the coaches that do that”.
“it is funny and strange to me, Rivers United won the league last season, and both the coaches and players were rewarded accordingly” Bolus was quoted.
“Am sorry, But, there are some players who did not play more than two matches that season but where rewarded ahead of the coach who was there from the beginning, it’s absolutely wrong. Let the government come out and do the right thing and give us our own land. Imagine if my house is built in Enugu and am living there, I will have more impact in the team (Rangers) than staying away” Bolus added.
Recall that, In fulfillment of his pledge after the team triumph in 2016, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in November last year (2022) approved each, the immediate allocation of a plot of land to the 36 winning players of Rangers.
The governor’s approval was contained in a statement by the Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh who disclosed that, the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development, in compliance with the directive, has consequently allocated 36 plots of land to players at the Golf Annex II, Enugu.