MFM FC head coach Fidelis Ilechukwu has praised his players after a remarkable comeback win against Niger Tornadoes at the Agege Soccer Temple on Sunday evening.
The Olukoya boys were put under pressure early on by the visitors conceding two quick goals in less than 15mins into the game but staged a brilliant comeback to take all three points in added time as Tornadoes left the Temple devastated after such a promising start.
Speaking after the game on what went wrong and how his team conceded two quick fire goals Ilechukwu said: “Our central defensive midfielder was not in position for the two goals and the centre backs were slow to react to the balls. But as you can see we’ve done a good job in the second half to win this game.
“It was a great game and good win and I really want to commend the boys for their effort. I told them in the dressing room at 2-1 down that there is no need to be under pressure, you’re playing well all you just need to do is settle down and score goals because I believed the goals will come.
Coming into the second half, the late first half goal from Abisoye Olawale gave the Olukoya boys who have never lost an NPFL game at the Agege Stadium some belief. And in the 55th minute it was the much maligned Micheal Ohanu who scored the crucial equaliser to make it 2-2.
“As a football coach you have to take responsibility and not always listen to what the fans are saying; if you do, you will make mistakes,” Ilechukwu said on Ohanu’s performance.
“You need to sit down and look at things. At half time I told him (Ohanu) he’s playing under pressure that he should just calm down and score and it was a fantastic goal from him. Since he came he hasn’t been at his best but I know what he is capable of and I know he is still going to pick,” he added.
Admitting that it would be the first time his team has ever overturned a two goal deficit to win a game, Ilechukwu said he foresaw a difficult game and warned his boys ahead of time. “People were saying Tornadoes are not good and I said it’s not true because they have a new coach so you would expect a new mentality and reaction from the players. So I told the boys but they didn’t believe.
“They thought they could defeat them easily and there is no team you can just beat easily in the NPFL. But coming back from two goals down to win you have to give it to the boys.”
Finally on his projection for the season “This is a young team and there is no need putting the players and everyone under pressure,” the MFM coach said. “What we are trying to do is ensure MFM FC doesn’t relegate. No team in the world loses 8 of their starting players and still remain but only MFM will do it,” he concluded.