When Remo Stars lost their quest to qualify for the CAF Confederations Cup last year, coach Daniel Ogunmodede pledged that his team would return and use the experience to do better on the continent.
His team held Moroccan side AS FAR to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Morocco to give hope to their teeming fans of a possible passage to the next rounds.
Those dreams went up in smoke as AS FAR came to Ikenne and eked out a 1-0 away win to put paid to those aspirations.
Ogunmodede, though disappointed, felt his team would learn from that experience and promised lessons have been learned and corrections taken to bring him back to continental football.
Back to the drawing board
That was the first foray for the team on the continent after a very good debut season back to Nigeria’s top flight in 2021. He rejigged his team by recruiting experienced heads like Isaac James, Charles Tambe, Sikiru Alimi, and Samad Kadiri.
He didn’t stop there, three kids from the club’s academy called ‘Beyond Limits’ were also promoted to add some youthful vigor to the squad.
Goalkeeper Emmanuel Olisa and defenders Ahmed Akinyele and Stanley Joseph were all promoted to the first team with Joseph in particular catching the eye with some inspiring performances.
The result is that Remo Stars have been in the top three since match day one of the 15-week-old Nigeria Premier Football League and will spend Christmas on top of the NPFL log.
Christmas cheer for Ogunmodede
Ogunmodede ascribes this to their determination and wants to fulfill his wish of taking the team back to the continent as well as repaying the club’s fans for their loyalty and support for the club
“Being on top of the table for Christmas is a joy to me as I will celebrate the holidays in a good mood. It is a good thing but being on top of the table till the end of the season will be my happiest moment in coaching,” Ogunmodede said.
“Nevertheless, rounding up the year being on top of the table at Christmas is a good feeling but we will work hard to make sure we remain there until the end of the season. It is good for our confidence and we will try to continue this in the new year,” he added.
Ijaball, as he is popularly called by Remo Stars supporters, told afrik-foot.com that coming into the season, one of the plans he had with his lads was to always be in touching distance with the leading pack.
He is enthused that it is the only way to aspire to win the title and he is glad the plan has worked so far for him and his team as they continue their quest for a first-ever Nigeria Premier League title.
“We know what it takes to be a champion and to be champions, we cannot afford to be below the third position. We want to put up a heart of a champion preferably on top of the table. We want to go to every game to compete and win.”Ogunmodede stated.
“We have not been below third position since the league started and this season, we want to go one step further than we did last year. For us to achieve this, we know we can’t afford to go below first and third position.
With more than one-third of the season already done, Ogunmodede's team is top with 29 points from 15 games while having the best goal difference of plus 11.
This is a testament to Remo’s attacking philosophy which Ogunmodede feels aligns with their goal of lifting the title.
“It is simple, we attack because we need to win and be top of the table so that we can celebrate at the end of the season.” he enthused.
“That has been the goal since the start of the season and we are glad where we are but we will not stop here. Like I said, we want to go one further than we did last season by winning the title. It is that simple.” Ogunmodede said.
Remo Stars stats this season
- Total goals scored – 22
- Top scorer – Sikiru Alimi (10)
- Most assists – Sodiq Ismail (9)
- Most appearances – Junior Nduka (15 games
- Clean sheets – Kayode Bankole (8)