My mission is to rescue Nasarawa United from relegation – Isaac Danladi 

Although they are at the bottom of the table in the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season, the re-appointed Chairman of Nasarawa United Football Club, Barrister Isaac Danladi, is confident the club will be rescued from relegation. In this interview with Esther Egbe, Danladi, who is also Chairman of NPFL Club Owners Association, promises to bring his team back to the top.

What does your re-appointment as chairman of Nasarawa United mean to you?

Well, I want to thank God for an opportunity like this. I want to thank our sports-loving governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, for finding it fit and proper to reappoint me as the chairman of Nasarawa United. Indeed, this is my third missionary journey in the club. I was once the secretary of the club, then, chairman; now, I have been re-appointed to the same position. Looking at my wealth of experience and the present position of the club, my appointment didn’t come to me as a surprise. Our appointment into the board is a big challenge but we have to see how we can salvage the bad situation.

Did you lobby for the re-appointment?

Lobbing is not a crime. It is allowed in politics. But honestly, I didn’t lobby for the job. The government in its wisdom felt that I still have something to offer to the club. They felt I am the right man to go on this rescue mission. The government declared a state of emergency and they believe I am the man to lead the operation.

What specific mandate did the governor give to the new management?

It is just one and it’s like a marching order. We are to go and rescue Nasarawa United from relegation. We are on a rescue mission that is why you can see that even the composition of the management is a compact one. It is made up of people who are versatile and who know their onions. The instruction is go on a rescue mission and salvage the bad situation so that Nasarawa United are not relegated at the end of the 2019/2020 season.

Would you say this mission is achievable?

Well, if you look at the table, it is a herculean task, but it is not practically impossible. Yes, we are the last team on the log at the moment but that is not to say with the help of God and the much-needed support from the government, the situation won’t be turned around. With hard work, it is going to be surmountable. We have promised as management to put all hands on deck. And with the support of all critical stakeholders in Nasarawa State football, I believe there is nothing impossible. There is no wrong without a remedy.

What is the state government doing to support your committee in carrying out this assignment?

What we found on the ground is quite encouraging as far as support from the state government is concerned. The present ordeal of Nasarawa United has nothing to do with the state government. However, whether we like it or not, this is an emergency, so it requires adequate financial support to get things done. I think the support has always been wonderful just that the desired results were not coming. Since we came on board, we have been able to identify the issues that got Nasarawa United into this precarious situation. We are tackling same. Some are urgent and we are proffering short term solutions; some are not quite urgent, so, we would address them as soon as we find ourselves comfortable and in a safe position.

What level of confidence do you have on other members of the management committee in handling this assignment?

The management committee is a compact one made up of tested and experienced football administrators. I am not the only one who was re-appointed. I returned along with the Team Manager, Solomon Babanjah. He is vastly experienced. His position in the team is critical. He is the link between the players and team officials. I also have other three committed and competent members making us five. So, I believe that with our wealth of experience, we would be able to deliver.

What are you doing to motivate key players in the club?

When we returned, we discovered that some issues needed to be addressed urgently, particularly, the issue of welfare of the players. Not long ago, I was with the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State and the General Overseer of the club, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe. We had useful discussion. As we speak, we are expecting him to visit us in our training ground. Our governor, Engineer Sule himself was a sportsman in his days in Jos and he knows the value of motivation and welfare for athletes. So, players’ motivation is a thing of priority.

Do you think there  are quality players who can do the job for Nasarawa United in the remaining matches?

Yeah, we have to make the best out of the worst situation. However, the players we have on ground are not bad. For a team like Nasarawa United to beat Dakkada 3-0 in Uyo, draw with Akwa United and MFM away from home, which are all big teams, means that Nasarawa United are not lacking in terms of quality players. All that was needed was a little bit of proper organisation, putting round pegs in round holes.

Do you still have the support of the club fans?

Hausa people say a good Friday is known from Thursday. Honestly, from what I have seen, the support has been tremendous. A lot of people are excited that we are back. They have assessed us and also assessed the immediate past management of the club and they have seen the difference. They are ready to give us maximum support.

Besides saving Nasarawa United from relegation, is there any other target, like picking a continental ticket?

Well, it is still possible but not from the league. I have to be honest and realistic because I am not a magician and members of my management committee are not magicians. So, our number one priority is to make sure that we leave the relegation zone and move far away from it. And if in the end, something happens, that will be fine. However, I am expecting us to play well in the Federation Cup. We are Federation Cup specialists and who knows we may be lucky to make some impact and qualify for continental competition.

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