Uneasy times on the Plateau
12/15/2010 2:18:00 PM
Ajibade Omolade © Shengolpixs
Top flight football has returned to the city of Jos, but SuperSport.com’s Ojeikere Aikhoje reports that there’s nothing to celebrate as the duo of Juth and Plateau United are struggling to cope after six weeks of action.

Chelsea star, John Obi Mikel, remains one of the best players discovered in the Plateau state capital, Jos.

As a rookie, he excelled at Plateau United, which is owned by the state government.

Another famous product of the city is VVV Venlo youngster, Ahmed Musa.

Although Musa hit stardom at Kano Pillars with 18 goals to set a new all-time goal record in the Nigerian league, the foundation for his success was laid at Jos based Aminchi football academy and later Jos university teaching hospital, fondly called Juth.

Nigerian stars like Baba Otu Mohammed, Yakubu Mabo, Ismaila Mabo, the Atuegbu brothers, Segun Odegbami, Stephen Musa and Sam Pam amongst others learnt their football trade in Jos, a city which boosts of passionate supporters for its local teams.

CELEBRATION

The duo of Juth and Plateau United made history in the lower division last season as both sides secured promotion to the elite class in style. It was the first time in many years that two teams from the same city would gain promotion together.

In fact, Jos most supported team, Mighty Jets, narrowly missed promotion too.

Juth emerged champions, while Plateau United was first runner-up. The fortune of both teams was widely celebrated by football fans in the tin city. However, their fortune has since nose-dived in the elite class.

Both teams have landed in a difficult terrain.

NIGERIA PREMIER LEAGUE

It’s already match day six in the Nigeria Premier League and the Jos teams have entered the history books with two defeats in front of their fans.

Plateau United made history first after consecutive home defeats to Dolphins on match day one and Sunshine Stars on match day three respectively.

Despite the fact that the club was able attract some of the best legs in the land; the results have refused to come.

This has made former Enyimba captain and Sudan based defender, Ajibade Omolade a troubled man.

“It’s strange that we’ve lost twice at home,” Omolade told SuperSport.com.

“We deserve something better. This team is not a bad team. I’m convinced we have a decent side,” he added. p> Supporters of Plateau United had to wait till match day five before their drums came alive to celebrate the first victory in the elite class. Before the victory, the lads put up a spirited performance on the road at Zamfara United.

After a two-goal advantage in the first half, the team returned from recess to surrender their lead. At the end of the referees whistle, the Jos side conceded three cheeky goals to throw away the points.

If the experienced Omolade is troubled, then Juth without a win in six weeks appears to be in a more precarious state.

“I think it’s just a bad phase for us, but my prayer is that we must come out in the days ahead,” was the reaction of Juth’s first-choice goalkeeper, Eze Fidelis.

“We’ve played well in all our matches. In fact, we kept Kwara United under pressure, but the goals refused to come. I’ve never experienced that before,” the former Benin republic based goalkeeper said.

Ghanaian import, James Amankwei, insists the players must show more commitment.

“This is the time for us to bounce back,” he said to SuperSport.com.

To compound their woes, both Jos based teams are at the bottom of the 20-team log. Plateau is placed 19th, while Juth is 20th.

MATCH DAY SEVEN

The league enters match day seven this weekend and the clubs must begin their revival.

In spite of their heroic outing at Shooting Stars, Plateau United was unable to get a point. The Nduka Ndubuisi side welcome Enyimba on Saturday while Juth travel to another newly-promoted side, Crown.

CHRISTMAS BREAK

The clubs must re-strategise if they want to retain their Premier League status at the end of the current campaign.

At a time their colleagues would be on the Christmas break, it’s obvious that players of both teams would do without the break to plot their way out of relegation waters.

2011

If both teams fail to raise their game when the league resumes in January, then they should begin to think about life in the lower division.

The battle for survival begins in January for Plateau United and Juth.