TCC Season Review - Valiant
Valiant was one of the ten teams that participated in the second season of The Creative Championship (TCC).
After finishing in second the previous season, the Valiant Boys of Lagos looked set to continue from where they stopped, as they launched their season with the TCC Cup.
Paired in Group B alongside Dino, Emmydinho, Dannaz and Beyond Limits, Coach Mustapha Owolabi and his boys got off to a great start, registering a 2-1 win over Dino SC, with Abiodun Toheeb and Yusuf Zakariyya getting on the score sheet.
This victory was however followed by a heavy defeat at the hands of the reigning champions, Beyond Limits. Not shaken by the defeat, Valiant would go on to give TCC fans a Christmas treat as they came out on top in the nine-goal thriller against Emmydinho.
Having scored the first goal of the game in the second minute, Valiant went on to concede four first-half goals. Doomed for another TCC Cup defeat, Ifeoluwa Agboola inspired a Valiant comeback, completing his hat-trick in the second half with Olaniyan Gafar getting the winner in the 86th minute. The game remains the highest-scoring match in the history of the TCC (both league and cup.
Despite their heroics, Valiant slumped to yet another defeat, this time at the hands of Dannaz FC. Their inability to get a result in their final group stage game meant their cup journey was cut short.
Despite getting eliminated, they scored nine goals (the second joint-highest) in the group stage. Everything looked good enough to be leveraged upon going into the new league season.
Valiant suffered a false start to the league campaign as they lost the first game of the season, to the eventual champions, Beyond Limits. They were the only side to concede four goals on MatchDay 1, a feat which they quickly followed with a 2-2 draw against Iganmu FC.
Despite Ifeoluwa Agboola getting a handful of goals, Valiant suffered defeats to Imperial and Broad City, before enduring another draw against Emmydinho.
Their first win of the season would come in the sixth Matchweek as they defeated Atlantic Business 2-3. Despite the win, their defensive struggles were exposed, yet again. Two goals up by the 23rd minute, Valiant conceded two quick second-half goals (in the 53rd and 59th minute) and were headed for a draw, until Sanusi Maleek stepped up to get an 82nd-minute winner for the Valiant, away from home.
The first win of the season was a relief for the coach who credited the win to having “corrected our mistakes and converted our chances.” But Valiant couldn’t keep up the performance.
A draw at Dino was followed by a slim loss to Gbagada at home. The home loss however proved to be the wake-up call they needed as they bounced back to winning ways against Dannaz. Just three days after recording their second win of the season, Valiant lost yet another game, this time to Dannaz at home.
The loss was followed by two other losses in quick succession – to Gbagada and Dino SC – conceding six goals in those two games. By this time, they were languishing in eighth on the table, closer to the bottom spot on the log than they were to seventh-placed Iganmu.
Coach Mustapha Owolabi’s men followed this with another draw, this time coming from a goal down against Atlantic Business. Not satisfied by the draw and wanting to make up for lost time, Valiant put up a valiant performance against Emmydinho.
Despite conceding a goal in the 10th minute of the game, Valiant responded in the second half, scoring four goals in 25 minutes to seal the win, with Coach Mustapha commending the boys for “playing to instructions and learning from their mistakes in the first half.”
The impressive performance was followed up by a win against Broad City, yet another loss to Beyond Limits and a final day win over Imperial FC.
They would go on to finish in 7th, a far cry from the feat they achieved in the maiden edition of the TCC. They would finish the season by winning two of their last three games. But it wasn’t enough to lift them out of ninth place.
Standout Performer – Elegalam Sixtus Chibueze
The left-wing forward played a key role in Valiant’s league run, playing in 17 games. With a Kindex rating of 79, he was easily one of the standout players of the season. Asides from the five league goals he contributed, he recorded the second highest number of dribbles in the league (42). Having proved himself throughout the season, he was nominated for the TCC Team of the Season.