Sports News of Saturday, 18 February 2017
FC Ifeanyi Ubah coach Yaw Preko has said the tight NPFL fixtures is affecting the clubs as they are already tired.
All sides is the country’s top flight have played four matches in ten days and Preko says the strains and physical demands are too much for the players to cope with.
The former Ghana international striker explained that the peculiar geographical terrain of Nigeria makes it even more demanding for footballers with two games scheduled for every week in the opening two weeks of the season.
“(On Wednesday), we did not really settle early on and it was the same for Rivers United and this was because both sets of players were fatigued,” he said.
“The long travels and the time (required to recover and recuperate is so short) that it is killing everybody.
“Even though they (Rivers United) got a point, it was clear they did not play to their usual standard because of fatigue.”
FCIU and Rivers United are two of Nigeria’s four representatives in Caf’s inter-club competitions this year and Preko says the scheduling of domestic games may negatively affect both sides in the Champions League and Confederation Cup.
“It is very hectic travelling (by road) for over ten hours and I am talking from the point of view of a former footballer.
“Nigeria is very big; it is very different when compared to other countries.
“In Ghana for instance, when you travel (by road) for five or six hours, you would have (covered a lot of ground),” he said.
“Every coach wants to parade his best so it is very difficult to rest players.
“You are forced to take your best players along because you don’t want to underrate any team.
“Even if a player sits on the bench, he will still be fatigued because he has embarked on a long journey.
“I believe we will get time (or the fixtures to be spaced out) before we play on the continent to slow things down.
“The teams have to prepare themselves if not, I believe it will take a toll on the teams representing Nigeria on the continent.”.
FCIU will next travel to Bauchi (a trip of approximately 622 kilometres) to face Wikki Tourists in their next league game on Sunday.