The title we lost

​Good morning all.

Lovely Sunday morning. The day that the Lord made. Over in Enugu, there is a horde waiting to descend on the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, to rejoice and be glad in it. The Scripture admonishes that we rejoice with those who rejoice. So, we rejoice with Rangers.

What a season it has been for them. I watched their opening game of the season, away at Kano Pillars. What a way to start the season, eh? Frankly, I worried about them. Oh, they outplayed their hosts for long periods, carved out the better chances, only to get stung late on. 

If you know coach Imama, you know that playing good football is something that would always come naturally. What remained to be seen, though, was whether this team knew how to win games. Whether Rangers had the raw aggression needed to take a game by the scruff of the neck and bend it to their will. It is a concern i had even last season. I wondered if anything had really changed.

To their credit, that did not get them down. Far from it. They did not wilt. Did not shrivel up. The finish line is in sight now, and the Flying Antelopes have bounded past everyone on their trail in one of the closest title races in recent history. Congratulations to them.

Unsurprisingly, in continuation of last year’s theme, the team with the best away record will be champions. Says a lot though that last season, we won the league by picking up a whopping 23 points on the road. Rangers have only amassed 15. In spite of that we only won the title by four points. Mind, we did not lose a game at home all season.

What does this tell us? Well, it’s clear that the league was competitive this year, not because the quality was greater across the board, but the opposite. Granted, there are two games less, but if you take Rangers points-per-game total and apply them over 19 home and away games, rather than 18, they only come up to 65 points. That haul would have got them third place last season.

Of course, this is not to knock their achievement. Just to point out that our place in the league, our throne, is still there, waiting for us to do the right thing and return to our perch. If we can get right next season all that we got wrong in this, we still have enough to blow everyone away. It was a title we lost.

Let me off to the gathering of believers. Have a splendid day, and do catch the celebrations on TV this afternoon. I am sure they will be massive. Try not to bite your index finger. Back tomorrow.



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