A few days ago, I saw an interesting news item. It seemed to indicate that midfielder Dare Ojo would be joining Lobi Stars. We have been fixated on the Mfon Udoh situation, but Dare is another whose contract with the club is up.
Everyone remembers that goal vs Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016. A scorcher, if ever i saw one. At that point, it seemed like the world was at the beck and call of this all-action, bustling midfielder.
Now, I have no idea if this news is true. But if it is, it would be the latest episode in the running drama that is Enyimba transfer failures, and should be taught in business schools as a ‘How Not To’.
Just like Mfon, two years ago, Dare’s stock could not be higher. There was interest from all over the place (including Europe) for him, and not speculation. Serious bids, to the point of talking with the management and discussing figures.
And yet, nothing came of it in the end. We have once again let a great asset wither in our hands, because we are horrible at knowing when to sell a player.
It is no secret that, where foreign clubs and agents are concerned, the name “Enyimba” is a turn-off. We are considered too difficult to do business with, too unreasonable in our valuation of players, and wanting to extract too much. And so they give us a wide berth. If you’re wondering why we never seem to sell players abroad, there’s your answer.
It’s a shame because selling players is one of the prime ways a club makes money. Especially in Nigeria, where clubs are funded by government and depend on what side of the bed the Governor woke up on, this is one way for you to earn good income. ABS got relegated two seasons ago, but sold a good number of players for good money. We snapped up a few, if I remember correctly. So why can’t we do it?
Also, knowing when to sell is important. It’s easy to identify if you know how much, in terms of development, you have imparted to a player. This is where having competent coaches and performance analysts come in. There is a point a player gets to, you should be able to tell whether he will ever hit such heights again. If no, then you have to sell and make a profit while you can.
It is a skill we have to learn, and take on board. This is not the 2000s, when we had Orji Uzor Kalu throwing money at the club in a bid to win the CAF Champions League. We are not building a squad to win it right now. So there is little point to stockpiling players, especially when they can be major assets.
By next year, the U-20 World Cup will take place. If we qualify, and if we excel, then we will see how well we have learned our lessons with players like Ikouwem Utin and Valentine Ozonwafor
PS: Dare Ojo has left the club. It is confirmed.