When the management of Plateau United appointed the former SV Straelen of Germany striker Kennedy Boboye as their new coach, replacing Zachary Bareje, they were not expecting an instant rise in stock for their consortium.
Kennedy Boboye handed the Jos based outfit their first ever league title in his maiden season at the club. Boboye, who started his managerial career at Sunshine Queens of Akure before having stints with Sunshine Stars and later Abia Warriors; has carried along a winning disposition everywhere he goes.
Having excelled with Sunshine Queens, the Ondo state born gaffer was then saddled with the responsibility of redeeming the image of Sunshine Stars in 2014. Boboye and Sunshine Stars made a blistering start to the 2014/2015 league campaign, with the coach turning the Akure based outfit into a free scoring side (especially at home). Under his tutelage, Sunshine Stars saw a record breaking number of players from the team invited to the senior national team.
The likes of Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Paul Onobi, Seun Olunlayo, Stephen Eze, Tunde Adeniji, Dayo Ojo and Prince Aggreh were invited to the Super Eagles having excelled under the mentoring of Boboye at Sunshine.
Sunshine Stars finished the season in sixth position to the disappointment of many, and Boboye resigned shortly afterwards.
Abia Warriors waded in to hand the ex Sunshine Queens manager another opportunity to show everyone the stuff he is made of. Boboye yet again got the Umuahia based outfit to an explosive start, before fading away in the second half of the season, leading to his resignation after spending just eight months at the helm.
During his stint with Abia Warriors, the club emerged first team in the Nigerian topflight to go ten matches unbeaten from the beginning of the season. Kennedy Boboye has proven to be a rare breed in the local terrain – with his coaching philosophy; and the manner in which he brings out the best in his players.
When he arrived at Plateau United, the players on ground weren’t the best of players in the league. But, he managed to cultivate and develop them into giant beaters – and they eventually turned out champions in just a year!
Though, Boboye is a manager that loves his team to play expansive and jaw-dropping brand of football – as shown with Sunshine Stars and Abia Warriors, at Plateau United, he met a squad that wasn’t suited to that credo. He then intelligently got the best out of players like Daniel Itodo with an astonishing long-throwing ability, helping the likes of Emeka Umeh, Kabiru Umar and Anayo Ogbonna with the heights and great aerial ability to scoring a plethora of goals from those long throws.
Away from home, Boboye’s Plateau United are always very compact; catching their opponents on the break – with their swift counter attacking style. While they made good use of those set pieces that came their way.
Boboye made Plateau United a ‘no man’s team’, thereby making it difficult for opposing managers to neutralise his team tactically. Even defenders were racking in goals for the Jos based outfit. Elisha Golbe a central defender and Emma James a rightback were scoring goals left, right and center from free kicks and spot kicks respectively.
A lot of young players were brought in from the feeder team at Plateau United to compliment the experienced players in the main team, and only few managers in the history of the NPFL have entrusted much faith into young players like Kennedy Boboye.
Coach Kennedy Boboye has shown with Plateau United that if he’s given the free hand to work, he is well capable of turning the fortunes of a club around (regardless of their status).
Many will still question his ability and nous as a coach; considering the manner in which he ended stints with the likes of Sunshine Stars and Abia Warriors. But in sincerity, no other club gave Boboye a more enabling environment to work: in terms of satisfying his financial demands and letting him the freehand to work the way Plateau United did.
Without an iota of doubt, Boboye will flourish at clubs like Enyimba and Pillars with unlimited resources. As he only needs that enabling environment to prove his mettle.
Already in this campaign, Plateau United have gotten their title defense off to a flyer; winning five of their first seven league matches so far, and are just a point adrift of Akwa United occupying top spot on the log.
Boboye has also gotten Plateau United to a blistering start in the CAF Champions League, with his side demolishing Ending Sports of Cameroon 3-0 in the first leg of the preliminary round in Jos on Sunday.
Coach Kennedy Boboye was also appointed this week by the NFF as part of Coach Salisu Yusuf’s assistants in the Olympic team.
But, Boboye does deserve a bigger and a better job going forward, having proved a sizeable amount of doubters wrong with his successes at Plateau United of all clubs.
By Godwin Odiko. Twitter @OdikoGodwin