At long last, Remo Stars are back amongst the elite
A game of fine margins, an encounter of moments. Both sides went one up only to be pegged back eventually but on a day when all was at stake, today’s result only tilted in favour of one.
It was Certainly NOT a smooth sail but undoubtedly it was perfect enough to earn the Sky Blues a deserved return to the Nigerian top flight
It’s finished here at the Cathedral after the final game of the promotion playoffs; Remo Stars 2-2 Bendel Insurance – Olugbenga Agbeyo’s Closing piece on commentary duty in a dramatic encounter at the Cathederal.
Officially, Daniel Ogunmodede has led Remo Stars into the Nigerian Topflight league, and Remo Stars will play in the Nigeria Premier Football League.
Surprised? Stay calm. I just took you back to scenes from 2021 when Remo stars gained promotion into the NPFL.
The ascent of Remo Stars in just two years is truly remarkable and deserving of admiration. They have made a name for themselves among the elite. Although they are relatively new, they now compete with the established powerhouses.
As a team that achieved promotion in 2021, Remo Stars have set their sights on glory and now aim big. They strive to become champions and even participate in continental competitions.
With their promotion in 2021, it was unlikely that many would have anticipated Remo Stars finishing in 3rd position in the 2021/22 season, even with the experienced and respected coach, Gbenga Ogunbote, at the helm.
Gbenga Ogunbote was appointed coach of the side in 2021 as he replaced Daniel Ogunmodede who led the team back into the NPFL. And his one year stint with the club was sweet. Of course, “a newly promoted club will play in the CAF Confederation Cup’’.
Ogunbote left after his contract ended, and erstwhile coach Daniel Ogunmodede was reappointed in 2022. Perhaps, a case of returning to complete the job he started maybe.
Dan came in when the task was tougher. There was the case of maintaining the top height that has been attained, the bigger test was how a rookie coach will handle a young and inexperienced team on a big stage like the CAF Confederation Cup.
Lo and behold, Remo Stars was drawn against a top side in AS FAR of Rabat in the Preliminary stage. I would imagine the scenes that would have played out, or thoughts that would have struck Dan when he saw that his side will be playing against a top side in the competition, and the most Successful Moroccan Club in the 21st century. “A huge and daunting task, obviously this would be’’ Dan said fictitiously.
The day came, September 11, 2022 it was, at the 53,000 capacity Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, Morocco. It was time for Remo stars to face off against a side that will have 95% of the stadium filled in a fierce atmosphere of passionate fans with their blares.
Perhaps the Supporters Club of Remo Stars could have been blowing their trumpets with the song “ Oluwa o la fi siwaju, ubangiji oba wa edumare, a ke pe o o, oluwa, je ko ye wa o baba rere’’ — a popular song that Nigerian supporters club use to show support to Nigerian teams which solely means “ Dear Lord we have put you ahead, we call on you Lord, let it favour us Oh Lord. Perhaps this was being played, but it would have obviously not even been noticed with the fully packed atmosphere of the Moroccans, with their loud chants, drums and songs.
Remo Stars conceded early in the game, in the 27th minute, and if fans or viewers back in Nigeria were watching, they could have felt it is one of those days they could be humiliated, but no it wasn’t. The full time result was 1-1 in Rabat. Remo stars had just gotten a draw far away in Rabat in such condition.
“ Oh wow, Dan and the boys have done so well, we are proud of them’’ many Nigerians chanted. The Job wasn’t done though, but there was huge confidence in the team and even supporters were confident they would seal it up in Ikenne for the 2nd leg.
This wasn’t the case though, Remo Stars lost 1 nil at home and were eliminated, but they didn’t make it easy for AS FAR, they had to grind so hard to eliminate them. For a rookie team, they had done themselves proud, they announced themselves and bowed out on a high.
Focus shifted to the League in the Nigeria Premier Football League, and they needed to show that their performances weren’t fluke. Eventually, at the end of the season, Remo Stars could have been champions. Losing out on the title on Goal’s difference would have although been painful, but finishing in the CAF Champions League position showed improvement from where Gbenga Ogunbote stopped, and it seems Remo Stars are now ready to take that big stage by the horns.
In an interview with Timothy Dehinbo of elegbetetv.com, Ogunmodede talked about how he handled the pressure of taking over from Ogunbote, how his team fared last season, their targets for next season in the League and the Champions League.
Speaking of the pressure and how he handled skepticism about his appointment, he said:
“ Yeah, Pressure is part of the Job and I was able to kill the pressure by being calm, making my decisions and giving the skeptical people the drug that would silence their skepticism and the drug for that was the results. I know the only solution to people being skeptical is the result, and I am aware of this, this is how I take care of the pressure, I know for sure if there are results they won’t care. “
“ No Doubt Ogunbote did a great Job here, but it was also part of the Job i did before I left, and so I wasn’t scared to come back and do better, and to occupy a vacuum like the one Ogunbote left is huge, he’s a top coach, an experienced coach, he has contributed a lot to the Nigerian Football space as a Coach, so bringing an inexperienced lad like myself would have obviously brought about skepticism.’’
Remo stars didn’t have a bright start in the league, but they turned things around later on. On how they achieved this, Ogunmodede said:
“ The first round was very tough for us, but we were aware that nothing good comes easy, we kept on fighting, we were so anxious in the first round, that we conceded so many cheap goals and we also could not convert our chnaces, and we showed so much lackadaisical and careless attitude in the first round. But along the line, we made our evaluation of the first round, and where we observed weaknesses, we strenghtened, and where we also had strenght, we improved and evaluating genuinely how the first round went really helped us to turn things around in the second round.”
Remo stars were close to winning the League and that could have been disappointing for the manager and his team, but he was pleased with how his team fared in the Super 6 Championship play-off. He said:
” I was Absolutely satisfied, they did an incredible Job, and things like that happens in Football, that’s one of the excitements in Football and I am honestly satisfied, it’s not a problem for us as a club, we know where we are going, we know where we are coming from, we know what we want, we chase it judiciously, if it doesn’t happen, we know we gave it our all, and if it happens we are not surprised. So this is what we do all the time at the club, we just want to work judiciously.”
” From the beginning of the season, we aimed to win the League, and we got to the Super 6 and fought to get it, but that didn’t happen, but on the positive side, we got into the Champions League spot, something that had never happened at the club before, and maybe with a Private team in the country before, so I am very happy and as a club as a whole, we are.”
If there’s one team that plays excitingly in the league, it’s Remo stars, they play beautifully and their approach to games is something to be envious of. Ogunmodede explained his style of play and how he approaches games.
” Most times, we Play based on the weaknesses and strengths of the opponent, and in situations where we don’t have genuine information about the opponent, we just try to stick with our basic plan, and my basic style is consistently ‘controlled possession keeping style’, using individuals and the group to score goals, but each game comes with its own style and tactic.”
The Sky Blue stars have reached the top, dwindling isn’t something they would want and they can now anticipate winning the League going into a new season, and also making a statement in the Champions League. Ogunmodede speaking on what the ambitions for next season are, he said:
” We want to be one step ahead, and hopefully we will get that next season, we really want to win the League.”
” On the continent, in the Previous season, we have learnt some lessons, but not all yet, because we are still fresh playing on the continent, and this is a bigger phase, and of course we will always go into any competition to compete as it is our culture, and this time won’t be different, we would be going to the CAFCL to fight and get it all.”
” In terms of recruitment, we will ensure tightening up all departments with experienced and quality players. The competition requires some level of experience, but our major focus will be on improving the defense and the attack.”
Remo stars have a thriving academy in Beyond Limits FA that has produced lots of stars, with the recent, being Ebenezer Akinsanmiro who moved to Inter Milan in the Serie A.
Coach Dan promoted a couple of players from there into the senior team last season, and he talked about those who will like to also be integrated into the first team, will have to get in.
” This is the first team, and of course in all sincerity, we can’t have a chunk of them in the first team, it’s impossible, but for sure, we pick by readiness, a player that is ready will be brought into the first team, that is the plan and that is what the club culture entails, we care about the efficiency and function, if the player is at the level, and ready to be promoted, we will, because undoubtedly, we have the best academy in the country and one of the best in Africa.”
Remo Stars are a well structured club, their results and uprisings in two years have shown it, perhaps it’s time to reign predominantly??