NLO Playoff: “I took my time to study their last two games” – Igbajo United Coach Omoniyi Muideen says after Defeating FC Ebeide

“I took my time to study their last two games” Igbajo United Coach Omoniyi Muideen says after Defeating FC Ebeide To Secure Promotion to the NNL

Igbajo United Head Coach Omoniyi Muideen Yemite ‘Onile’

Igbajo United Football Club from Osun State has triumphantly secured promotion to the Nigeria National League (NNL), the second-highest tier in the Nigerian football league system after the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). The promotion came after a dramatic 5-4 penalty shootout victory over FC Ebedei, following a 1-1 draw in the final playoff game of the New Year Mega Lottery Nationwide League One (NLO) at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, Edo State on Sunday.

The Osun-based team took the lead through a goal by Adebayo Suraj, while Rasaq Taiwo equalized for FC Ebedei from the penalty spot. After an intense encounter, Igbajo United’s head coach, Omoniyi Muideen, popularly known as Onile, attributed the victory to God Almighty. He noted that careful analysis of FC Ebedei’s last two matches had helped in planning their strategy.

Speaking to Futball Naija correspondence after the match, Coach Omoniyi expressed his joy and gratitude: “I was very happy at the end of the final whistle because the game was not easy at all. But at the end of the day, I return all the glory back to Almighty God.”

NLO Playoff

He revealed that he had thoroughly studied FC Ebedei’s recent matches, including their previous NLO playoff game and a friendly encounter. This intel, he explained, played a crucial role in his game plan. Coach Muideen said, “This is not the first time I’m playing against FC Ebedei. I played against them when I was coaching Olansile Football Academy; I also played against them in the round of 32 of last season’s Federation Cup. I took my time to study their last two games, including their first New Year Mega Lottery Nationwide League (NLO) playoff game against Ottasolo FC and their last friendly match at their home ground before we played against them today. After studying those games, I thought to myself, we have a 50:50 chance of beating them.”

Coach Muideen emphasized the importance of disrupting FC Ebedei’s style of play. “I told my boys, each time an FC Ebedei player receives the ball, I want 2 of you to quickly go and mark that player,” he explained. He recognized the threat FC Ebedei posed with ball possession and instructed his team to deny them that freedom.

He continued; “This is because if you allow FC Ebedei to do what they want with the ball, your team will lose. So we tracked them down quickly and did not allow them too much freedom with the ball.”

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Coach Omoniyi further emphasized the importance of discipline and focus: “I told my players to always focus on the ball all the time, no matter the condition of the game. I also told my boys before the start of the match not to see the referee as their enemy and not to contest any decisions of the referees. Additionally, I instructed them not to do any rough marking inside our eighteen-yard box to avoid giving the referee an excuse to award a penalty against us.”

NLO Playoff

Coach Omoniyi Muideen joined Igbajo United in September 2020, but his first appearance with the team in Nationwide League One (NLO) was in 2023. His team finished third in the Osun Center table, behind Osun United Football Club and Hammola FC. He also led Igbajo United to the round of 32 in the Federation Cup in the same year, where they were knocked out by FC Ebedei at Adamasingba Stadium, Ibadan. This is both his and Igbajo United’s second appearance in the New Year Mega Lottery Nationwide League (NLO), and he has successfully led the team to the Nigerian National League (NNL).

Speaking further on his team’s achievement, Coach Omoniyi expressed his gratitude: “I need to appreciate all my fans throughout Nigeria and particularly my Osun people. I also want to appreciate all the sports journalists in Osun State, all the sports forums like FUBF, NAIJA SPORTS GIG ARENA, and others; and most importantly, the Osun State Sports Council for their support.”

In conclusion, Coach Omoniyi Muideen praised the efforts of his players and expressed confidence in their abilities: “With the caliber of victorious players that I have right now, we can successfully play in the Nigerian National League (NNL). We just need to add a few experienced players to them, and we’re good.”