Can Daniel Itodo’s long throws propel Plateau United to NPFL glory?

Plateau United's triumphant 2017 NPFL campaign was marked by several noteworthy elements, from Kennedy Boboye's pragmatic coaching to the set-piece prowess that defined the team.

A key figure in this success was left-back Daniel Itodo, whose unique throw-in technique became a talking point throughout the season.

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Photo by David King/Plateau United

Elisha Golbe, then the team captain, made headlines by scoring six goals from direct freekicks and another from a corner kick. However, it was Itodo's contribution, providing nine assists solely through his incredible throw-in routine, that added a distinctive dimension to Plateau United's attacking strategy.

His long throw technique, reminiscent of former Rangers defender Ben Ugwu's style, became a formidable weapon for the team.

Itodo's throw-ins drew comparisons to former Stoke City defender Rory Delap. The trajectory of the ball, flat and straight, posed a significant threat to goalkeepers and defenders alike.

What made it even more challenging for opposing defences was the range at which Itodo could launch these throws, often delivering them from forty to fifty yards out.

The impact of Itodo's throws was evident in the goal-scoring exploits of Buhari Ibrahim, who is now in Sweden with Elfsborg scored six goals as a centre-back for Plateau United two seasons ago, with the majority originating from Itodo's long throw-ins.

Daniel Itodo impact

Itodo, 27, continues to wreak havoc in the NPFL with his massive throw-ins, contributing three assists and directly influencing about eight goals for his team.

In a recent interview with afrik-foot.com, Itodo expressed his joy in aiding his team through this unique skill.

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Photo by Mehrez Toujani/Sports Inc

“It's a joy to see my teammate score off my throw-in. I believe my team relies on me to some extent to help them win games, and I'm very thrilled when I notice my team needs me to give them that win that I need to work so hard for,” Itodo said.

“If I throw and my team scores, I am always delighted because it is a joy to use it to aid the team, and if I throw and my team scores, it adds to my resume and the number of assists I give to my team, so I am very glad.”

He emphasised that the primary goal is to help Plateau United secure victories, and any personal achievements are secondary. Looking ahead, Itodo expressed his desire to secure a continental slot for his team and potentially lift the NPFL title.

“The most important thing is to help my team win. Any other thing is a bonus as we have set our minds on finishing well and getting one of the continental slots.

That will be the highlight of the season for me if we can achieve that, but again, I will want to lift the title with Plateau United like we did some years ago,” he added.

NPFL's long-throw king reveals routine

When questioned about the origin of his long throw-in technique, Itodo attributed it to a grassroots coach who recognised the talent in him and encouraged him to develop it through consistent practice.

“For the long throw, there is no secret to it; it is just a gift that a coach of mine discovered in me and worked so hard on it to make me who I am today; it is a gift from God, and I am glad for it.”

He acknowledged that the skill comes naturally, and he dedicates time to practice it regularly, honing the technique in training, friendly matches, and local games in his area.

However, Itodo kept certain details about the technique a secret, stating, “There are techniques in it that I cannot reveal. I’ll keep that to myself.”

Plateau United's NPFL title dreams

As Plateau United currently sit in sixth place on the NPFL table at the halfway point with 31 points from 19 matches, Itodo's unique contribution through his long throw-ins promises to be a key factor in the team's success as they enter the second round of the season.

 Their upcoming match at home against league leaders Lobi Stars at the New Jos Stadium in Jos holds the promise of more spectacular moments orchestrated by Itodo's lethal throw-ins.

Can Daniel Itodo’s long throws propel Plateau United to NPFL glory?
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.