Plateau United will seek to do well at this year's Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Invitational in Kano this December to prove that their 2016/17 title win was no fluke.
The Jos side surprised many followers of the league by clinching a first-ever NPFL title with Kennedy Boboye’s men leading the table in all but four weeks of the campaign to show how dominant they were over the course of the season.
With the CAF Champions League on the horizon, Boboye will test how far his team have come when they take on Enyimba and the Super Eagles bound for next year's African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Group A of the tournament.
Plateau United will not come in as unknown quantities again unlike the previous season when they rocked the boat to nick the title. A lot of teams will lay siege to them this time and the NPFL Invitational will be a proper testing ground to prove they are up for it and also consolidate on the gains of the 2016/17 season.
Team captain Elisha Golbe told npfl.ng that the tournament in Kano is one that will help the team in a lot of ways.
He enthused the main purpose of the tournament is to blend the new and old players but will not also throw away the fact that a lot of people will have their eyes on Plateau United after last season’s title-winning heroics.
“It’s true a lot of people will take us seriously this time round which means we have to do more on and off the pitch to prove we are champions of Nigeria,” Golbe told npfl.ng.
“We are aware teams will now throw everything at us that is why we have all decided to step up our game and do everything possible to maintain our title. It won’t be easy at all but we are determined to take the next step forward.
“Pre-season has been going on fine with the lads and the coaches. We are gradually getting into shape and we have two pre-season tournaments to put us in the right shape physically and mentally. In fact, we are in Kano now for an invitational tournament which we hope to use as a dress rehearsal for the NPFL Invitational in Kano."
Plateau United have been busy in the transfer market fortifying their squad as they mount challenges on four fronts - the CAF Champions League, the NPFL, the Aiteo Cup and the Plateau State FA Cup.
The team have signed Jos-born former Kano Pillars winger Amos Gyang who is tipped to take over the position of the Philip Azango who has left for Slovakian side AS Trencin.
Charles Henlong is also making a return to Jos from Rangers International of Enugu while Osun United’s attacker Tosin Omoyele has also joined the fold.
Others who have committed to the Plateau United include Okiemute Odah, Raphael Ayagwa, Afolabi Abdulwaheed, Terna Suswam, Ibrahim Akide, Fortune Omoniwari, John Shuaibu and King Osanga.
Boboye will look towards the NPFL Invitational to blood the new players into his team as they launch an assault on the continent and domestically.
Golbe believes the calibre of players signed will make the side stronger as they hope to retain their NPFL title as well as put up a good performance in the CAF Champions League.
“The quality of players that have been brought in has given me confidence that our team can only get better. We will definitely be stronger with the new boys,” Golbe said.
“They have come from big clubs in Nigeria like Ranges, Lobi Stars, and FC Ifeanyiubah and I hope their addition will make us stronger than we were last season.
“They are very talented and we have a mix of youth and experience. From what I’ve seen in training, I believe we will challenge for majors honours.”
Plateau United will open their NPFL 2017 Invitational campaign against Enyimba at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano on Monday, 11th December 2017