Ibrahim gnashes teeth
Former Niger Tornadoes defender, Ndala Ibrahim has described the relegation of the club to the National League as 'painful.'
Though Tornadoes had been flirting with relegation all season, Ibrahim told supersport.com that with the calibre of players they had, they ought to have finished in a comfortable position if the right things had been done.
"It is very painful that Tornadoes finally went down after the club appeared to have played their way out of the relegation zone at the start of the second round of the league," he said.
"Yet, it all looked so promising at the start because the recruitment was okay, a good blend of youth and experience and we were even looking forward to clinching a continental ticket.
"However, the financial problems that plagued the club and poor management proved to be a stumbling block.
"The management board that started the season had good intentions, but lacked funds to fully implement their programmes, but the one that replaced them mid-season just lacked the experience and things went from bad to worse," he added.
The former Nigeria youth international told supersport.com that their resurgence at the start of the second round was solely down to the effort of the players.
"We (the players) were not comfortable with our position at the end of first round and we held a meeting to improve on our position that paid off, as we moved to a mid-table position after a four-match unbeaten run, but the push from management that would have complimented our efforts never came.
Ibrahim himself was sacked along with striker Karimu Shaibu after a row over their signing-on fees just before Tornadoes form dipped, but he refused to blame their relegation on this factor.
"I think the team had their destiny in their hands as they still had a chance of beating the drop on the last day if they had beaten Jigawa Stars by four goals," he pointed out.
"They were only able to win 2-0, though I understand Jigawa Stars abandoned the match with about 10 minutes left.
"I'm therefore yet to understand why a protest wasn't filed to at least to have the match replayed, and this is one of the reasons I think the management lacked the experience to salvage the team.
Tornadoes finished in 17th position in the premier league on 48 points, the same amassed by Warri Wolves and ABS, who both avoided the drop.