The task to get past the second round of the preliminary stage of the CAF Champions League for debutant MFM FC against MC Algers looks really daunting if their form this season will be put into considerations.
Of all four representatives from the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL on the continent MFM FC remains the only team with questionable performance except for Akwa United that almost bit the dust but eventually reminded everyone that their good run in the league is no fluke when they went to Gambia to turnaround result against the Hawks.
It will be very unkind to say MFM have not done well on the continent as well having in mind they are debutant. Their one all draw against Real Bamako in Mali certainly set them well for a good second leg fixture which they also won courtesy of a goal by Chijioke Akuneto, who becomes the first player to score a continental goal at the Agege stadium, to ensure they qualify with 2-1 aggregate.
But the real question is, would MFM FC up their ante to at least the level of their compatriot Enyimba International that are also on the continent and have done pretty decent in the NPFL if they can’t match the blistering performances of Akwa United and Plateau United.
It will be hypocritical to think MFM FC have got what it takes to match their compatriot given their activities in the last transfer window most especially when you pitched them side by side with Akwa United.
To even think there is a synch in the managerial and administrative ends of the Football Club is deceptive after the coach of the side, Fidelis Ilechukwu, made some public utterances about the inadequacy in playing personnel in the team at his disposal to conjure up both local and continental assignments.
A lot of credits has to be given to those administering affairs at MFM FC who have not allowed this to be blown out of proportion. Statement like that of Ilechukwu on several occasion at other clubs usually set the polity ablaze.
But on the other hand it was a revealing statement. MFM FC have claimed to be one of the best tinkered teams in the land that doesn’t owe it players.
Here again, not owing your players does not amount to them being happy. Paying them lesser to what is obtainable can be more damning on players morale even if it is regular when they realize what their counterparts earn.
An unconfirmed report claimed the players earn in the region of an average of 50,000 naira as salaries which is far from the stipulated minimum salary of 150,000 naira by the League Management Company, LMC.
Evidently, one will wonder why MFM FC could not get some promising deals through the line during the transfer window even when some of these players they missed out on went on a couple of preseason tours with them.
Victor Mbaoma who now shines like a million stars for the Promise Keepers in Uyo was on the verge of signing for MFM FC and could have proven vital for their continental involvement having lost their talisman Stephen Odey to a Swiss Club.
I don’t see how a CAF Confederation Cup participation would appeal more to Mbaoma to have chosen Akwa United ahead of MFM FC if it didn’t boil down to finances.
Well, one could arguably admit that the project in Uyo is bigger and could be more appealing with a sentimental logic that continental football is the same either CAF Confederation Cup or CAF Champions League.
What about the case if Oche Shelefu who went for Rivers United and doing great things in their midfield?
That is another relegated Remo Stars player like Mbaoma who could have an easier switch to MFM FC than a team who struggled last season and would not feature on the continent.
The team MFM FC look lightweight at the moment, sitting 12th on the NPFL table with 13 points from a possible 30 points after 10 games for a team that finished second last season is porous.
Zero victory and no draw from 5 away games this season conceding 10 goals and scoring just 2 is a carryover of their poor away form from last season.
A total number of 10 goals scored and 13 conceded in all competitions this season does not speak well of a team who want to compete favourably in all competitions hence the cry of the Manager Fidelis Ilechukwu.
With MFM FC playing the second leg of the second preliminary round of the CAF Champions League game away to the ever hostile North African teams, this time MC Algers, look a daunting challenge.
With the Algerian side boasting of a forward, Hichen Nekkache, who scored 4 goals against Otoho d’Oyo of Congo in a 9-0 second leg thumping to overturn a 2-0 defeat from the first leg to sail through with 9-2 on aggregate, MFM FC must be at the very best we have never seen them at if they will stand any chance to make it to group stage of the CAF Champions League.
Holistically, the manager and the entire management of the team must find a way to put their season back on track to further steady the meteoric rise of MFM FC in the history of Nigeria football.