ABH League 2019: “There is no underdog in this League”- ABH FA Chairman
The Alexander Brown Hall (ABH) league begins today and there has been a lot of excitement building up to it. The league is organized by the ABH Football Association inticonjunction with the Sport Ministry. ABH Press reporter, Joseph Edun, interviewed the FA Chairman, Mr Michael Akande about the league and what Brownites should be expecting. Below are the excerpts from the interview.
Joseph: Good evening sir. Please, can you introduce yourself?
Michael: I am Michael Akande, a 500 level student of Medicine and Surgery and a Brownite. I am the chairman of the Football Association(FA) of ABH.
Joseph: So, there has been a lot of hype and excitement about this season’s league starting today, how have you been able to pull this off?
Michael: Honestly, I won’t want to take all the glory as the players, the coaches, the sport minister of ABH, Mr Paul Edet, have all invested thier efforts into it. Unlike last year where we had mediocre teams, all teams this year have the potential to win the league. There are seven competent teams who have been preparing seriously for the competition. The league is to last for 14 game weekends with a midseason FA Cup.
Joseph: The league is to last 14 game weekends. What then is the ABH Cup that is to be placed mid season?
Michael: This was done three years ago and we plan to bring it back. It is the ABH FA Cup which will last for three weekends. It will involve a knock-out, semi-final and final rounds. Only the winner of the cup will be awarded.
Joseph: Is there any sponsor(s) of this league and how much is the prize money of the league?
Michael: I can’t tell you the prize money but every year, there is a statutory sponsor who is a doctor in the University College Hospital, Ibadan, who gives the prize money. Asides that, the Sport ministry of ABH has also sourced for funds to cater for other necessities such as footballs, new nets for the goal post etc.
Joseph: Do the clubs know the exact prize they are competing for?
Michael: Yes, they do but that can not be disclosed to the public. Only the top three clubs will be awarded however, consolation prizes will be given to the remaining four clubs. The prize money has been increased this year.
Joseph: The league is specifically for Brownites, but we have been having instances in times past where non-Brownites (anybody who is not a University of Ibadan clinical student and does not reside in ABH) also participate. Why is this so?
Michael: Non-Brownites add spice to the league. We’ve seen this people play week in, week out and we’re quite familiar with some of them. The thrill of having someone you might not have known before come around and show some crazy skills makes the league also more exciting.
Joseph: Are we going to have non-Brownites also this year?
Michael: Yes, there will be non-Brownites. However, the teams have been structured in such a way that Brownites will form the majority of each team. There are 10 players in each team, a minimum of six have to be Brownites while four or less can be non-Brownites.
Joseph: The 2k19 set is expected in the hall in few weeks time, how do you plan to incorporate them into the league as it has been the tradition in previous years.
Michael: The league is standard. So, during the midseason break, we will open the transfer window for two weeks when these 2k19 members can be scouted by the coaches and bought into their teams.
Joseph: In cases of altercation which may lead to some form of physical contact between players, how will the FA address such?
Michael: Yes, we have situations like that in times past. However, this year, the rules have been made tougher and broader. Such players will be penalized ranging from receiving cards to suspension and if necessary, to outright ban from participating further in the league. The teams and their captains have been met and this has been explained to them so that we can have a hitch-free league.
Joseph: What do you anticipate in this league as the FA Chairman?
Michael: What I’ve seen so far is awesomeness. From the energy the players are bringing, the coaches and the sport minister. I really foresee a tightly contested league where there is no underdog. There is no underdog in this league. Every team has the potential to win the league thus, one team can not afford to be slack in any of the matches.
Joseph: Fianlly, what would you want to say to Brownites?
Michael: I want to encourage Brownites to come out and watch the matches, 7am every Saturday. The fixtures will be released every week for Brownites to know when there will be matches. It promises to be highly entertaining and Brownites will get the best of football!
Joseph: Thank you so much Mr Akande.
Michael: You are welcome.