By Gbenga Adeleye
With one day to the kick-off of the 2021 Nigeria National League, NNL Super 8 play off in Enugu, Ekiti United chances of ending their wait for Nigeria’s top flight action since existence 25 years ago may have finally arrived.
The only hurdle before the JFK boys is that they have to bolt past seven other teams also jostling for the four available slots to the elite league, the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL.
Nineteen months ago, Dr. Kayode Fayemi had declared confidently that Ekiti United will gain promotionto the NPFL and today the team is on the verge of making that a reality after finishing second in the Southern Conference Group B1 with 33 points from 20 games played.
At the start of the NNL regular season, nobody would have thought the JFK boys will get to the play off stage owing to their early poor run of results on the road but former coach Ayodeji Ayeni opined that things will get better in subsequent games.
“Am very sure my boys will get it right come Saturday against Nnewi United. We have to give our home fans something to cheer about by getting the three maximum points.
“When you look at the rationale behind us conceding two goals in our last two away games and look at the tactical approach of the team, you will understand that the team is doing perfectly well but (Ekiti United) is still a team in progress.
He further stated that Nnewi United game will afford his team the opportunity to improve on techniques and tactics because it will serve as a lunch pad to getting three maximum points on the road.
“The level at which the team has progressed is remarkable and I am very sure we will get it right before week 5 starting with a win at home against Nnewi United,” Ayeni told FreekickNaija.com.ng in March. Since then, the team never looked back and continued to improved on the results.
Ekiti United had never had it smooth like this in history but since the return of Kayode Fayemi to power in 2018, sports has taken a new dimension in the State with football benefitting most, thanks to his support to grassroots football development.
Many football observers in the State said football under the administration of Fayemi has taken a new direction from what it used to be in the past.
The Super 8 play off is a different ball game than the rigorous regular season. If Governor Kayode Fayemi dreams of Ekiti United playing in the NPFL next season is to come to fruition then this is not the time to rest because the team needs him now than ever in every area of support.
Governor Fayemi told Goal.com in February 2020 that he will not relent until he sees a team from the State feature in Nigeria’s elite division.
“Our main vision is to ensure Ekiti United gets to the Nigeria Professional Football League. “They would have been there long ago if we remained in office, but the minute we left office in 2014, things went pear-sheaped.
“But as soon as we got back, Ekiti United have been back. I’m confident that in next year’s (Nigeria Pro-league) season, we would top the league and move to the (NPFL),” Fayemi to Goal.com in February 2020.
Will Dr. Kayode Fayemi confidence on Ekiti United’s promotion to the NPFL like he mentioned in 2020 come to reality?
Will Shooting Stars, Remo Stars, Bendel Insurance, DMD, Gombe United, Niger Tornadoes and El Kanemi Warriors deny Ekiti United United this dream?
Will Ekiti United give a parting gift to Governor Fayemi who will bow out of office next year by clinching one of the tickets into the NPFL?
In a matter of days, all these questions will be answered.