TCC Season Review - Valiant FC
The elders say, fortune favours the Brave, and yet it is also said that sacrifice is the greatest form of commitment. It may yet be a flawed statement, but one thing seems apparent, sacrifice and hard work begets VALIANT triumphs.
Rarely does finishing rock bottom in a league season count as success, but forgive Valiant FC if they feel that way, because just like the English club, Wigan Athletic realize in 2013, it was a season of Tears, Laughter, and Goosebumps. A decade later, a team thousands of miles in Southwest Nigeria has relieved that exact experience.
Valiant had changed course after their first TCC season, going from title contenders to table proppers in their second season. Many tipped them for a bounce-back season, including this writer for TCC’s third iteration. How wrong… This was no longer a second-season syndrome, it was Stockholm Syndrome in full effect.
The season began with a shock 1-0 reversal at Broad City, and as though that wasn’t enough, new boys Sporting Lagos hit them for 4 in front of their own fans in their home opener. Eyes were already shot by the visit to Ikenne to face Imperial, who held no prisoners, a 2-1 loss condemning the Brave boys to three straight losses.
That bleeding only stemmed from a surprise but thrilling 3-3 draw with Beyond Limits, who were still in experiment mode. It proved what it was, a little ray in darkness, as they slumped to 3 further losses to Gbagada, Dannaz, and Iganmu Tiger who hit them for four. That would change in Week 8 when Dino visited.
Perhaps, because 8 symbolizes new creation, Valiant looked anew, and they recorded a first win of the season, the last team to do so, with a 3-1 success. It was swiftly followed by a 2-1 win in Lagos at Atlantic Business, indeed they were back in Business.
It proved a sufficient false dawn. Valiant had racked up 7 points from their first half of the season, they didn’t tally as much in the second half, and the spiral began against Atlantic Business, who gained a measure of revenge by winning 1-0. Dino would also get their lick back courtesy of a 4-2 road win, and Valiant went into the mid-season break with a single-digit points tally.
A 3-2 win over Iganmu Tiger was the only win they got after the restart, failing to score in 3 straight games, and picking one point, a run that saw the well of Tears emanate after a 6-0 hiding by Beyond Limits. The season would end the way it had started, with a three-game losing streak, and once again, they failed to score in two of those games, getting one goal in a 3-1 reversal at Imperial, who joined Broad City, Gbagada and Sporting Lagos as shockingly the only four sides to do the double over the Brave Boys.
Memorable Cup Run
— The Creative Championship (@TCC_League) April 8, 2023
Despite the disaster in the league, there was respite in the Cup, Valiant had stumbled through the groups, and gotten a quarter-final matchup with Imperial, who had run through them like a train. This was different, and they stepped up, as Brave Boys secured a nervy 1-0 win. It proved a sufficient catalyst in the semifinal, as the giant-killing continued, besting Dannaz 3-1 inspired by Sanusi Maleek. It meant they faced Gbagada in the final.
The Blue Eagles were Cup specialists, finishing semifinalists in the second season after claiming the inaugural trophy, and after 45 minutes, it looked like they were going to be Champions again. However, football as a coach once inferred, can kill you. Inspired by Elegalam Sixtus, Valiant came roaring back, bagging two second-half goals to drag what looked like a stroll for Gbagada to penalties.
There were goosebumps in the stands, and here Fortune did favour the Brave, penalty saves, and a profligate hit and laughter and joy erupted. A season that looked so grim, had ended in delight, not even Wigan could compare.