Eguma Eyes Another NPL Title With Dolphins

Three seasons ago, Stanley Eguma rode Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt to the pole position on the log of the Glo Premier League and seasons in between have seen the Club post some inconsistent performances leading to an 11th and 9th positions finish in the intervening seasons. But Eguma says the drought is over.
Dolphins start their campaign for the 2013/14 Glo Premier League in Owerri against Heartland, a club Eguma took to the third position in the league and FA Cup in 2006.
The coach, a graduate of University of Port Harcourt looks to the encounter with assured confidence to come out good.
“Matches between Heartland and Dolphins have always been a cracker and this season’s opener will not be any different. Both Clubs are rivals of a sort and Dolphins are good to take maximum points because we have prepared real good and the players have responded well to the drills”, declared Eguma.
Eguma has been one of the poster men of domestic league Coaches, riding a success that saw him called up by the Federation to be part of the National U-23 Olympics team that campaigned for the 2012 London Olympics Games which Nigeria failed secure a ticket.
He has won the FA Cup and the League severally but the glory hasn’t been replicated since the 2010/11 season when Dolphins won the League and were richly rewarded by Governor Rotimi Amechi. He admits the seasons haven’t been fantastic but declared that the dry run is over.
“We haven’t played to our full potentials these past two seasons and it is not for lack of quality but just that we haven’t been able to string our acts together. This will no longer be the case because we have enjoyed a long stint of preparation, playing quality and tough friendly games including the eight-team Lotto Tournament in Lagos that featured four Premier League sides, Sharks, Nembe City and Warri Wolves”.
In one of the pre-season activities to prime the squad for the 38 weeks long campaign, Dolphins drew away to Warri Wolves but returned to Port Harcourt to win 2-0. According to Eguma, “preparations have been good as we played a number of tough friendly games some of which were against Abia Warriors, draw away and 2-0 at home, drew home and away to Nembe City and Rangers International but lost to Akwa United 2-0 in Ikot Abasi. These games afforded us the opportunity to try out match plans, players’ positioning and also amend tactical errors observed”.
Eguma believes the club have recruited well in the pre-season and will be counting on a number of these new players including a Senegalese and an Ivorian to achieve their target of continental ticket.
He says of the new recruits, “the players we recruited may not be stars that ring a bell in the League but we trust that these are young talented players that will contribute positively to the overall target of returning to the continent next season”.
Some of the players are Mendi Xavier, a member of the Senegalese U-20 team that is making a return to Dolphins after a stint in the Norwegian league, Alhassan Dosu from Ivory Coast and El-Kanemi’s Ezekiel Daniel who netted eight goals last season.
The others are Ebube Ekpoku, also from El-Kanemi and from Sunshine are the duo of Onoh Emmanuel, a midfielder and goalkeeper Moses Ocheje. Dolphins also shopped from ABS FC where it hooked midfielder, Tony Egwere.
“I have assessed the squad we assembled and believe they can compete well though the league this season is going to be a very tough contest with many clubs equally positioned to win going by how every one of the 20 teams have been preparing well ahead of the season. Teams are doing everything possible to emerge tops and it will only be at any Manager’s peril to try to under estimate any side this season”, Eguma warned.
Asked to name possible candidates for the title this season, Eguma retorted, “I will repeat that no team should be underestimated but then the traditional teams are still very much favoured and I am talking of the likes of Warri Wolves that have recruited so well, Enyimba International, though having difficulties on the continent, Kano Pillars, Sharks and you cannot discount Rangers with the presence of John Obuh. It’s going to be tough but Dolphins can do it”.

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