Tag Archives: Nigeria Professional Football League

NPFL Match Day 16 Preview: Jigawa Golden Stars vs Rivers United – Sammy Wejinya

Rivers United FC have arrived in Kano for arguably their most important game of the current Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season, so far.

The ‘Pride of Rivers’ face a Jigawa Golden Stars side in dire need of a win as they look to hurl themselves out of the lower rungs of the table.

The Stars are currently in 19th place of the 20-team NPFL standings having amassed 13 out of a possible 42 points so far this term.

Permutations
The permutations from this game are quite straightforward.

Both sides are desperately in need of maximum points for different reasons.

A win for the Stars will see them leave the drop zone as it would mean they could then sit above four clubs, Adamawa United, Nasarawa United, Enyimba International and Enugu Rangers on the log after the end of play.

A win for Nasarawa United United in the day’s other NPFL clash in Lafia will however see than number reduce from four to three but the Stars will still climb out of the drop zone nonetheless as long as they get the win against the high-flying Rivers United side.

On the other hand, a United victory would mean that for the first time this season, the Port Harcourt club will be outright leaders of the division; a lofty accomplishment.

Indeed, so much is at stake as far this one is concerned.

Jigawa Golden Stars vs Rivers United

How the Stars play
Jigawa Golden Stars are brisk starters.

The ‘Badaru Boys’ maraud their opponents in search of early goals and rely on a strong backline to keep opposition forwards at bay late on when tired limbs begin to take centre stage.

Head coach, Rabiu Tata favours a conventional 4-4-2 formation with Abdullahi Mallam, Kingsley Innocent and Bilal Yakubu relied upon to make goalscoring contributions.

United will also be wary of rebounds as the hosts scored from two of such situations in their last game at home; a thrilling 3-2 win over the bottom club, Adamawa United on January 12.

Goalkeeper, Suleiman Abdullahi has impressed since replacing former first choice, Kenneth Christopher and he will be looking to keep a clean sheet against United at the Sani Abacha Stadium on Monday.

Alli Kalla and Yusuf Sanni are two other important cogs in the wheel of the Dutse club who will be looking to claim a famous victory over their storied opponents at the Sani Abacha Stadium.

Spokesman of Jigawa Stars, Ahmad Musa believes Monday’s will be a compelling contest.

“We need to win to push ourselves up the table because we are in a position where we need points,” he said.

On his part, Technical Manager of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma explained that garnering maximum points is non-negotiable for his charges.

“We want to win on Monday and go to the top of the table. That is why we are in Kano,” Eguma told the club’s official website, http://www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.

If Eguma’s words are to prove prophetic, then Rivers United will have to do what only two clubs, Plateau United and Akwa United have done this season; condemn Jigawa Stars to defeat at the Sani Abacha Stadium Stadium, Kano.

NPFL: JIGAWA GOLDEN STARS 1-1 ENYIMBA….

…ENYIMBA COACH, PLAYERS REACT TO DRAW IN KANO

Enyimba technical adviser Usman Abd’Allah believes his side stood the chance of grabbing maximum points in their Nigeria Professional Football League fixture against Jigawa Golden Stars at the Sani Abacha Stadium this evening.

The eighth times champions took the lead in the sixth minute when Victor Mbaoma headed in Stanley Okorom’s freekick, but Jigawa drew level three minute to the end of the half with Munir Ubale’s powerful finish.

Speaking to the club’s media after the match, Abd’Allah however indicated satisfaction with the final outcome of the game.

Enyimba FC Technical Adviser Usman Abd’Allah,

“I think it is a game we should have won but all the same we got one point away from home and we still have a lot of away matches to play.

If we couldn’t get it in Kano we will get it somewhere else. The most important thing is to get something away. If you can’t get the maximum point you get a point and when you go back home you grab the whole of the three points. But unfortunately last week we dropped two points at home and then we got a point today.

From what is happening with the team with a lot of injuries and all these tiredness and all these fatigue that has been with the team from all these travelling and this continental assignment, I think we will keep on working to make sure that we will be back to our rightful place.

Olisema

Abd’Allah opted for four natural central midfield players in his lineup for the fixture, with Faouk Mohammed, Jean-Marie Guera, Dayo Ojo and Cyril Olisema all getting the nod to satrt. This the gaffer explains was a tactical switch occasioned by injuries within the squad.

“Normally we have the wide players that play from the left and right, but of recent it’s either they are not picking up in form or most of them are injured.

“You see Zenke is out because of injury and (Stanley) Dimgba is just recovering back and Anayo also just recovered back and Orok has a blister and can’t play. So that is why we decided to play with this formation with the natural midfielders. At the end of the day we still came back to substitute and bring another wide player to play.

“It’s just a tactical formation depending on the kind of players you have. Those are the players available so I have to choose a choice that will benefit the team.”

Midfielders Dayo Ojo and Cyril Olisema also shared similar thoughts with Abd’Allah after the fixture.

Eyimba Team vs Jigawa

DAYO OJO

I believe we should have won the game but as you can see there is no small team in the NPFL anymore and more so whenever a team wants to play Enyimba they double their effort.

“We scored first then they equalised and the game ended 1-1. Not a bad one (because they are) not a bad side. Every point counts now. The only point that does not count is when you lose a game.”

CYRIL OLISEMA

“As a team it’s not the result we wanted but just unfortunate that it ended 1-1 draw. I will say it was very bad we conceded that goal in the first half. It’s part of the game. From the second half we came back and made sure we corrected our mistakes.”

UP NEXT

Enyimba Football Club will redirect focus to the CAF Confederation Cup with a group D fixture against Paradou AC scheduled for next Sunday in Algeria.

ENYIMBA SEE OFF AKWA UNITED IN THRILLING FOUR GOAL CONTEST

Enyimba Football Club have sustained their strong start to the Nigeria Professional Football League season with a 3-1 win against Akwa United at the Enyimba Stadium this evening.

Austin Oladapo, Stanley Dimgba and Samson Obi scored for the People’s Elephant in a contest completely defined by an explosive opening half hour by the hosts to render Mfon Udoh chip late in the first half of little significance.

Samson Obi lit the early fire of the fixture with his outrageous pace, forcing Adewale Adeyinka into two saves in the opening eight minutes.

Oladapo in Action For Enyimba

The curtain raiser did come shortly after when a penalty was awarded after Austin Oladapo’s shot inside the box was blocked with an arm. The midfielder held firm to send Adewale the wrong way for his third strike in consecutive outings.

The Promise Keepers had the chance to get back into the game when Farouk Mohammed hacked down Mfon Udoh in front of the box, but Ifeanyi Ifeanyi wasted the freekick.

Stanley Dimgba, making his first appearance in four matches, made it two for Enyimba on the hour mark, picking a perfectly tailored pass from Cyril Olisema and slotting past Adewale.

Before the dust settled on Dimgba’s goal, Samson Obi got the third, finishing off a swift team move to put the game beyond the visitors.

Former Enyimba captain, Mfon Udoh capitalised on a defensive mix up six minutes before the interval to pull one back for the visitors with a delicate chip over Theophilus Afelokhai.

The visitors held more possession in the second period as they searched for redemption, but Enyimba remained resolute at the back and while trying to catch the visitors on the break.

Enyimba have now gathered seven points from the opening three games of the league, a tally only bettered by Plateau Untied who top the log with maximum points from same number of games.

The People’s Elephant will be away at Sunshine Stars in the next round of matches on Wednesday.

MFM FC Unveil Tony Bolus As New Head Coach

The management of Mountain of Fire and Ministries Football Club of Lagos have unveiled Tony Bolus as the team’s new head coach following the departure of Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu.

Bolus, a former assistant to Imama Amakpakabo at Rangers International FC of Enugu and former head coach of Giwa FC was considered by the team’s management after rigorous screening exercise of top coaches to carry on with the legacy and philosophy of the modest Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side.

MFM FC Unveil Tony Bolus As New Head Coach

The Kogi-born tactician who won the last edition of the annual DK Olukoya Cup in Lagos has penned a deal that will keep him with the Lagos-based team until 2022.

The manager disclosed to MFM FC media team shortly after the unveiling ceremony that he will consolidate on the standard of the team.

“MFM has standard’s that we really need to start building on, you know it has been a team that has been to the continent.

“Lagos State as a whole has talent and we need to build on what the former coach has put on ground. He has done a good job and we will continue from where he stopped,” he said.

Bolus expressed his profound gratitude to the General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Church World Wide, Dr Daniel Kolawole Olukoya who was present at the unveiling event alongside Director General of Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr Oluwatoyin Gafar, the vice chairman of the team, Pastor Frederick Alewi and the director of the team, Barrister Davidson Adejuwon, the board and supporters of the team for counting him worthy to lead the team at this point in time.

MFM FC Unveil Tony Bolus As New Head Coach

“I need to appreciate the board of MFM, the management and my father in the Lord Dr. DK Olukoya for having the faith in me and for giving me this task.

“Also I need to appreciate the fans of MFM FC, they have been solidly behind the team and I just plead for their support.

“You know we are starting all over again so they just need to be patient with us. I need their support to succeed and I promise that we will give them good football and the desired results.”

ENYIMBA CLOSE IN ON EIGHTH LEAGUE TITLE WITH WIN AGAINST IFEANYI UBA

Enyimba Football Club have shot to the top of the Nigeria Professional Football League championship playoff with a 3-1 win against FC Ifeanyi Uba at the Agege Stadium on Monday evening.

Reuben Bala scored a brace and Bashir Abdulrahaman added a third to render Promise James’s spectacular freekick harmless and push the former champions close to a record eight NPFL title.

Enyimba controlled the early exchanges and took a worthy lead in the nineteen minute when Abdulrahaman capitalised on a loose ball to set up Bala, who rounded the keeper before slotting into the net with his left foot.

A flurry of chances ensued for the former champions. Abdulrahaman cut in from the left and saw his curler deflected out of touch before Sharp Uzoigwe denied Freedom Omofoman’s header from the resultant corner and Anaemena nodded wide from close range.

Ifeanyi Uba pulled out of their shells after the half hour and drew level in style when Promise James’s thunderous freekick from over thirty yards found its way past Theophilus Afelokhai into the net.

Enyimba came close to an immediate response but Bala shot wide from close range after another display of industry by Abdulrahaman.

Bala made up for the miss shortly before the break, pouncing on a rebound from his own effort to shoot into the roof of the net, following an initial strike by Omofoman.

Abdulrahaman sealed Enyimba’s win before the hour mark when he muscled his way onto Chinedu Udeagha’s long ball before shooting straight into the middle.

The result assures Enyimba of a top three finish, and entry into one of Africa’s club competitions next season.

The People’s Elephant can also claim an eighth league crown with a win against Akwa United in their final match of the playoff on Wednesday.

ENYIMBA’S LINEUP

1 Theophilus Afelokhai (12 Fatau Dauda 60′)

23 Stanley Okorom, 6 Ernest Governor, 24 Nelson Ogbonnaya, 5 Ifeanyi Anaemena

30 Dare Olatunji, 22 Chinedu Udeagha, 27 Reuben Bala

7 Freedom Omofoman (4 Orok Ibitham 86′), 13 Stanley Dimgba (14 Chukwuka Onuwa 70′), 8 Bashir Abdulrahaman

UNUSED SUBSTITUTES

37 Johnson Umah, 31 Stephen Manyo, 36 Bright Emmanuel, 18 Chinedu Udechukwu

Usman Abd’Allah

USMAN ABD’ALLAH’S POST MATCH COMMENTS

“As you see now we’ve already achieved the first goal of the season, that is to get the team back on the continental, the second plan is just to get the trophy. So I think we are in a good position for that.

“The most important thing is for the boys to keep their focus. They’ve been focused and they’re concentrating and it’s good. They are responding very well.

“There is good unity in the team and the solidarity in the team is very strong and everything is going on well with us.”

Tolulope Ojo Eyes NPFL Ticket With Ekiti Utd

Teenage sensation Tolulope Ojo has disclosed his dreams to play once again in the Nigeria Professional Football League, with Ekiti United after a brief spell in the elite division on loan at Lobi Stars of Makurdi.

In a chat with journalists, the fast rising attacker who has scored five goals in seven games for the team, remains upbeat about the chances of his team to claim the needed points in its remaining matches to pick one of the tickets to the NPFL.

Tolulope Ojo

“We are determined to pick one of the tickets in our group. It is our dream to play and bring NPFL football to the good people of Ekiti state,” said Ojo, whose playing style has been likened to Athletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.

Akeem Busari

WE WILL DO OUR BEST TO QUALIFY: ENYIMBA’S UDECHUKWU PROMISES AHEAD OF FINAL DAY CLASH

Chinedu Udechukwu believes Enyimba Football Club stand in good stead to confirm qualification for the playoff round of the Nigeria Professional Football League when the seven times champions visit Katsina United on the closing matchday.

The People’s Elephant are in full control of their qualification hope as a win against the Changi Boys will guarantee passage to the playoff, regardless of results at other venues.

Usman Abd’Allah’s men can also pull through with less favourable results, as only MFM, who face Sunshine Stars in Akure, can displace the former African Champions from the top three with a win.

While Udechukwu says the team will give their ‘best’ to avoid any final day collapse, the forward is aware that Enyimba’s aims will be met by a stiff opposition from their hosts, who are in need of a win to make certain of beating the drop.

“It won’t be easy,” the bullish striker began.

“It will be very tough because anytime Enyimba and Katsina meet, everybody is on their toes, so it will be very tough.

Chinedu Udechukwu, Of Enyimba Football Club

“Enyimba have every opportunity to qualify. Even (with) a loss in the game against Katsina United, there’s a possibility we will qualify for the super six, I know it won’t be easy for us. But I know it’s football, anything can happen so we are going their to do the best we can.”

Udechukwu who is in his first season at Enyimba following a switch from Katsina United relishes the chance to play against his former side and interact with the local fans again

“It’s a good thing. They are my people and I would love to play against them. They appreciate me coming and I’m happy to be with them once more because it’s been a while.”