By Diegwu Nwankwor
After an improvement of form immediately after sacking Henry Makinwa and the return of Emmanuel Deutch that led to Abia Warriors avoiding relegation, many fans were wondering what direction the Umuahia club will take as regards the 2019-2020 Nigeria Proffesional Football League season.
As we gradually approach the beginning of the 2019-2020 season of the NPFL, we take a look of how the team is looking as well as what the fans can expect from their team.
After lengthy negociations, a deal was finally agreed between the Abia Warriors and coach Emmanuel Deutch who will be in charge for the season. Deutch was brought back towards the end of the 2019 season after the sacking of Henry Makinwa and the club languishing in the relegation zone. Abia Warriors ended the season in 4th position in Group, five points from a championship playoff spot.
Coach Deutch who was previously in charge of Abia Warriors for the 2018 season before leaving after his contract was not reviewed believes that his 1st objective is bring in consistency in results.
Speaking DiegwuSports , Deutch believes that getting a continental ticket totally achievable.
“I am happy that the whole contract situation has been resolved and we are looking towards achieving better results in the coming season. In my 1st full season in charge you remember we went on an unbeaten run unfortunately the season ended abruptly but it’s that sought of consistency that we plan to bring back this season.
“If we can be consistent in our performance and also with a little bit of luck on our side, I don’t see why we cannot pick up a continental ticket come the end of the 2020 season” Deutch told DiegwuSports
Another significant addition to the Abia Warriors coaching staff is Willy Udube as assistant coach. Udube who was in charge of Go Round FC in the just concluded 2019 season has been reunited with Emmanuel Deutch who he worked with at FC Ifeanyi Ubah. One thing is certain, with these two experienced coaches, Abia Warriors will definitely be no push overs and above all are outsiders to push for a continental season.
Another key aspect which Abia Warriors seems to have been very busy in is the transfer market.
Abia Warriors’ transfer policy seems to be bringing in young and exciting players and this has been seen through the players they have brought in for the upcoming 2019-2020 NPFL season. One of the young exciting talents that has been drafted to the team is Emmanuel Ugwuka. The former FC Ifeanyi Ubah player who was instrumental last season as the Anambra Warriors reached the championship playoffs believes that the youthful nature of the side could be an advantage for Abia Warriors going into the season.
“We are not bothered of the fact that the team is youthful. In fact it could turn out to be in our favor because we will be difficult to handle. We are going to do our best to repay the trust given to us by the coaching staff by doing well this season” Ugwuka told DiegwuSports
Another player who is eager to make an impact this season for Abia Warriors is Ivorian striker and NPFL returnee Guy Kuiman. Kuiman who was a success in the NPFL in his 1st spell with Rivers United disclosed that his objective is to lift the club into continental football.
“I am happy to be back to the NPFL especially with Abia Warriors. They are a side I have always admired while I was with Rivers United. I will do my best to help the club get a continental ticket. I am confident we can archive that because the players are very gifted and with determination we will achieve it.” Kuiman told DiegwuSports.
1. Charles Tambe (Lobi)-
2. Auta Phillip (Yobe)-
3. James Odey ( Yobe) –
4. Parfait Jean ( Delta Force)
5. Bell Sylvester – (Delta Force)
6. Samuel Christian – (Gateway)
7. Udeh Zinte (Nasarawa)
8. Guy Kuiman (ASEC) –
9. Ikedinachi Nwakanma (Sunshine )
10. Promise James (FCIU)
11.Emmanuel Ugwuka (FCIU) –
12. Nonso Paul (Udens)
13. Ogenetega Ebetomame (FCIU) –
14. Adekunle Adeleke (Go Round)
_Source: Abia Warriors_
*Some Players Have to Go*
It definitely is a new dawn for Abia Warriors with the club agreeing to let go of some regular faces that have been part of the team for a while now. Players such as emblematic midfielder Chinedu Efugh, Samson Obi and Amis Umaru have been shown the exit door so as to give a chance to the new guard.
1. Chinedu Efugh
2. Abiodun Adebayo
3. Arinze Nwangwu
4. Durable Nwuju
6. Amos Umaru
7. Samson Obi
8. Mohammed Garba
9. Chidera Friday
_*Source: Abia Warriors*_