Umuahia based club Abia Warriors will be campaigning in Nigeria’s elite division for the fifth consecutive season in the 2017/18 Football League season.
Since Ladan Bosso handled the team in their first two seasons in the top flight, the team seem to have lost some sort of stability in their coaching department. It is instructive to note that head coaches who started the past two seasons in charge of Abia Warriors did not finish each season with them.
Coming into the forthcoming season, Warriors have appointed a much loved Brazilian, Rafael Everton as head of their technical crew. He comes with an FA Cup medal which he won in 2016 with Ifeanyiubah and meets on ground, a large chunk of players who played for Warriors last season.
As part of our random visits to camps of Nigeria Professional Football League teams ahead of the upcoming season, our Chief Football Writer FISAYO DAIRO was at the Umuahia Township Stadium to peep into what Warriors are doing.
A possible 3-4-3 formation for Warriors
Firstly, it was such a well planned trip for me as I got to the Stadium to find out that Warriors were involved in a tune-up game against the famous Diamond Football Academy (remember Samuel Chukwueze of the 2015 Under-17 set? Yeah he came from this academy).
The game availed me the chance to see, in a match-atmosphere, what Everton had done so far which had attracted some noise around the camp. One new player was quoted as saying the young Brazilian coach is ‘World Class’.
Warriors lost the game by a lone goal to the Academy boys courtesy of a penalty conceded by Kabiru Ayinde after his back pass was caught by the pitch (I’m coming to that pitch matter in a jiffy).
Warriors played in a 3-4-2-1 system with emphasis on passing and passing out from the back. It was interesting to see though but good to see players already adapting to that style.
I spoke with Everton after the game and one thing he kept emphasizing was his “philosophy” which is to make fans enjoy the game. It must however be said that for any good thing that Everton might be planning, the surface with which it is carried out is very important. The Umuahia Township Stadium needs to introduction or more adjectives than those already used to qualify it.
With that turf, I believe it is only a matter of time before either Everton or Abia Warriors change philosophy.
Who is this Adeoti?
This was the question asked by few of the spectators that saw Thursday’s friendly. The player in question was Muiz Adeoti, one of at least two players to have joined Warriors from relegated ABS.
For Rafael Everton’s philosophy, Warriors are blessed with good passers in the midfield. The trio of Emeka Isaac, Shedrack Asiegbu and the tidy Arinze Nwangwu are fantastic ball users. To now add Muiz Adeoti to the mix is a sumptuous prospect of a team attempting to “pass to scorn”.
The lanky midfielder was elegant in his touches and extremely tidy in possession when he came on for the final twenty minutes. This might just prove to be Rafael Everton’s ‘Ilkay Gundogan’.
The buildup is shaping up the way Everton wants it and if his philosophy is anything to go by, Abia Warriors will be playing football in ways not dissimilar to the likes of MFM, Akwa United and Rangers next season but will they be able to do so at home?