TCC Season Review - Gbagada FC
One of Nigeria’s Fuji music flagbearers, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall once told a story of an eagle on one of his records. It was how the eagle had been so keen to meet its creator, and whether the move may have brought ridicule. Surely he didn’t have a certain Blue Eagle in mind, and certainly did their season not end in ridicule, but they still did fall short, and remarkably so.
How Gbagada FC, one of TCC’s pioneer flagbearers can look like the Philarmonic Orchestra one week and a band of dysfunctional strangers the following week may need to be studied, so much so, their coach is oft driven crazy by it. Anyone needing a summary of what the season that was only needed to see the final of the TCC Cup. A flawless display in the first 45 minutes, and a Devon lache style collapse in the second 45 minutes, a perfect Rollercoaster.
A season that promised so much began with a narrow 1-0 home victory over Dannaz, and back-to-back 1-1 draws with Iganmu and Atlantic Business. A 0-3 loss to Sporting Lagos was swiftly followed by another 0-2 defeat to Beyond Limits. A 2-1 win at Valiant put a halt to the skid, but it did go downhill, a 1-0 loss at Dino was followed by a 1-4 shellacking at the hands of Broad City that caused heads to drop, but it did get worse, with Imperial running through the Eagles like a freight train when they rained twelve goals in two games, a 6-1 annihilation in Ikenne and a 6-2 dismantling of the Eagles in Lagos. Confidence was gone by the time Broad City pipped them 1-0, but the bleeding was temporarily stopped with a 1-1 draw against Dino in a rematch of the previous season’s Cup semifinal, swiftly followed by a 2-0 win over Valiant.
The two-game unbeaten streak proved a false dawn, with Coach Akinyelu’s boys returning to old habits, falling 2-1 to Beyond Limits in Ikenne and 1-2 at home to Sporting Lagos as the season neared its end. A 2-0 win over Iganmu Tiger provided faint hopes of finishing seventh but it went up in smoke when they crumbled 2-1 to Dannaz, encapsulating a season that was.
While they stunk the league, they cherished the Cups, and they were a force.
They started slow, losing 3-0 to Beyond Limits, but they picked up subsequently, battling to a 3-2 win over Sporting Lagos. A goalless draw with Valiant followed before a 2-1 win over Atlantic Business bagged them 7 points, sending them through.
When knockout football arrived, they shellacked Dino 3-0 to avenge their semifinal loss. They bested Beyond Limits 6-5 on penalties after the 90 minutes fizzled out scoreless. It was their second straight semifinal shootout experience, a year after their heartbreak against Dino SC. They carried the momentum into the final, racing into an early 2-0 lead before being pegged back in twenty frenzied minutes by Valiant. Heartbreak would follow, with Valiant winning on penalties.
Three may be the number of trinity, and while it is an omen of creativity, communication, optimism, and curiosity, it was anything but for the Blue Eagles. It was a season to forget. Maybe soon the Eagle will fly close to the sun and not get burned.