By Onukogu Kanayochuqu Jubal,
As the 2016/2017 season of the Nigeria Professional Football League reaches its climax, with just a game to spare, Plateau United has found itself on the cusp of history, with a game left against defending champions Rangers International of Enugu on the final match-day at the Rwang Pam Stadium, Jos.
Few gave Kennedy Boboye and his wards a chance at the start of the season but after putting in the leg work, the Jos-based side is unarguably the stand-out team of the season and are set to give its fans something to smile about after about two decades.
No major title has come to the North-central state since the 1999 Federation Cup (now Aiteo Cup) when Donatus Iloka’s solitary goal crowned Plateau United winners of the cup.
Npfl.ng went around Jos to feel the pulse of the fans as the final game of the season looms on the horizon. The frenzy and ‘noise’ decibels have stepped a notch as a lot of fans are already in a celebratory mood.
Plangkat Milaham, Pharmacist
It was exhilarating to see Plateau United promoted to Nigeria’s top-flight league in 2015.
Fans were also elated that there were great strides towards improving the club. The appointment of Coach Zachary Baraje particularly brought me great joy. At that moment, I knew the club was ready to play ball and it wouldn’t be long before we clinched the League title.
The 2016 season was a great one. Our home record was amazing, it was beautiful seeing Plateau United trounce visitors on home ground. We didn’t make the top four as we finished sixth but we were excited.
Life as a Plateau fan even got more exciting when Coach Kennedy Boboye took over. We expected more from the team this season and the boys didn’t fail to deliver. Soon we will make history and be crowned champions of Nigeria.
Shuaibu Umoru, Financial Expert
Watching Plateau United surge to the top of the table and at the cusp of victory is a feeling I can’t explain. Personally, I wasn’t sure we were going to be one of the top-three teams this season but the team has done quite well to get to this level.
I grew up playing football for local teams and we all had dreams to play for either Highlanders (as Plateau United was called then) or Mighty Jets and win titles with them.
That didn’t happen for me but I’m still overjoyed that, by God’s grace, the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) will be coming to Jos.
I watched Plateau United defeat Iwuanyanwu Nationale to win the FA Cup in 1999 and I thank God that I will see another title triumph. I want to plead with the government to invest more in sports and youth development, because that is the future of any state or country.
For me and my friends, we will be in at the stadium in Jos where hopefully we beat Rangers International to win the title. I’m very excited right now.
Mary Dalyop, Student, Plateau State Polytechnic
My joy is so much that I cannot express it right now. I’m very sure the team will do us proud and win the league. I’m a student but I always make out time to go and watch the team play. I have been a fan of the team for the past four years now and the journey has been remarkable, I must admit.
One thing that has really made me happy is that there is little or no rivalry now between Plateau United and Mighty Jets. Everyone has come to support the team, unlike last season and a few seasons back when fans of Mighty Jets came to the stadium to cheer away teams.
We do not see that again and I believe that is one of the reasons why the team has been successful this season. I’m very happy and I hope the government will continue to support the club when the CAF Champions League starts.
Yohanna Ibrahim, Businessman, Jos
I was happy when Plateau United appointed Kennedy Boboye as the coach but I never thought we will be in this position right now.
To be candid, I will be lying if I said I knew the league title will be heading to Jos. We only need to draw the last game to win the title but I never saw it coming.
Kudos to the management of the team, the players and the governor for supporting and motivating the team. You just need to go into town to see how people are excited about the prospect of a first ever title for Plateau State.
One thing that is happening without many people knowing is this success is generating a lot of interest among the youths. If you go to many football fields in Jos, you see young kids wanting to be Elisha Golbe or a Benjamin Turba.
Our impending victory has made more young people take football and training more serious.
Hopefully, the government will key into this. I can’t wait for the final game of the season.
Sunday Longbap, Chairman, State FA
It has been a very tough season for the team but I’m glad we are in a position to celebrate and say we have done well for ourselves.
I must give kudos to the management of Plateau United for all they have done to get the team to this level and top of the league.
The players too have given their all and I must commend them for making Plateau State proud. They gave their all on the pitch and have done Plateau State proud. We had a mission this season and God blessed us to be top of the league and on the verge of winning the league. I and my board are extremely happy that during our tenure, we were able to lead Plateau United to glory.
I want to specifically thank his Excellency, the Executive Governor of Plateau State Rt. Hon Simon Lalong for his unflinching support for the team.
I want to thank him and the entire government for all they have done for the team this season and, by God’s grace, on Sunday, we shall deliver the title and trophy to him.