Sports Personality: Era of win at all costs is gone in Nigerian Premier League – Kwara Utd Secretary

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With Mike Adeyemi

Bako Ibrahim is the Executive Secretary, Kwara United Football Club of Ilorin, in this interview with MIKE ADEYEMI, he speaks about the performance of Kwara United at the abridge league as well as mechanism put in place to curb hooliganism at match venue. Excerpts:

How did you come into football?

I came into football at a tender age when I was in the primary school. I played for my school team, up to the secondary school and even to my masters level.

I also played for the NIPOST football club of Jos as a professional career before I left football.

What are your antecedents in football management?

My antecedents in football management is at the grassroots. I am the secretary, Ilorin west local government YSFON.

And at that level, we have won so many trophies to the credits of the local government council.

Also, I was a game master for Barakat community secondary school for 16 years. Then at Barakat, I won Lubcon cup, shell cup and I have represented the state in so many competitions.

When did you join Kwara United management board as a secretary?

I started in 2013 as liaison officer representing the Kwara State Ministry of Sports and Youth Development. It was in 2016 that I was made the secretary, Kwara United Football Club.

How would you rate Kwara United team of yesterday and today?

Kwara United today are playing in the premier league. So it is  always difficult to compare the team today to that of yesterday because players remunerations now is different from what was obtainable yesterday.

Players at professional level now, the least they expected to take home is about N150,000, while a player can earn as much as N1, 000,000 a month.

Unlike before when players who are at the premier league collect N60, 000 to N70, 000 as salary.

So, that is why when we talk of remuneration this time, it’s different from that of the past years.

But in all, the team is not doing bad.

How would you adjudge Kwara United’s performance so far in the on going abridge league ?

Abridge league is the most difficult league in Nigeria. The reason is that fear factor will be at the back of the players, because a draw or loss at home has a lot of meaning.

If you loose or draw that means you can be relegated. That is why the abridge league is one of the most difficult leagues.

However, our boys are not performing badly. Presently we are in the 5th position, having played 9 matches. We have an outstanding match against Rangers International of Enugu, and we have another away outstanding against Katsina United.

So far so good, their performance is not bad since we are 5th on the table today as I’m talking to you.

What are the challenges facing  Kwara United?

Presently, I would like to commend the Executive Governor of Kwara State  Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed for his support to the team.

Like I told you earlier on, it’s not easy to play at the Premier league based on the remuneration of the players.

If a player can be collecting as much as N300,000 to N500,000 per month, you know what that means compared with the economy of the state.

That is why we have to commend the state government. Ever since last year that we are in the premier league, the governor has increased our allocation.

So far so good, when we talk of money, payment of salaries or outstanding bonuses, the club is not owing any player.

So on challenges, I don’t think we have much when we talk about finance. The Kwara State government is trying.

How do you think hooliganism can be curbed  in the Nigerian league?

Presently, you will see and based on the rules of the game, any act of hooliganism now is barred with stiffer punishment, part of which your club can be taken to a neutral ground to play 3 matches before you will be returned home.

Moreover, the referee too now are doing well, unlike before when there is a syndrome of win at all costs.

So, all these has been eliminated. Too, the fans are getting to know more about the game. When they loose, they take it in good faith and also when they win they rejoice.

I think, act of hooliganism has drastically reduced in comparison with what is was before.

What legacy would you love to be remembered for after your office?

The legacy I would like to be known for is leaving the club at the premier league. We brought the team back from relegation to the premier league.

The best legacy I would love is for the the team to remain at the premier league.

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