NPFL 21: Rangers Beat Heartland In Oriental Derby, Akwa United Humble Rivers United

 

Rangers International Football Club of Enugu still have the bragging rights in the Oriental derby after producing an easy 2-0 win over Heartland in Sunday’s matchday 13 fixture of the Nigeria Professional Football League.

The victory secured the seventh win this season for the Flying Antelope and shot them to second on the league table while the Naze Millionaires are recording a first defeat since matchday 7.

Rangers defender, Issac Loute scored a stunning goal from about 35 yards out when he curled a blazing shot past goalkeeper Emeka Nwabulu. It was a beauty!

Just before the break, Godspower Aniefiok made it two for coach Salisu Yusuf’s team. Substitute, Chinonso Eziekwe provided the assist for Aniefiok’s header.

In Uyo, Akwa United kept their fine form going with a 3-0 victory over Rivers United. Motivated with the point they earned on matchday 12 against Enyimba in Aba, the Promise Keepers swept aside the Pride of Rivers to keep maintain their unbeaten form at the Nest of Champions.

Mfon Udoh opened scoring for the Promise Keepers in the 40th minute and was doubled by Charles Atshimene when play resumed in second half.

Rivers United had a chance to pull one back when Kazi Enyinnaya made a run form the right side and sent a cross to Joseph Onoja whose shot went off target. Moments later, Akwa United responded with a goal scored by Morice Chukwu.

The win means Akwa United are yet to lose a match since their matchday 10 2-1 loss at Nasarawa United. The Promise Keepers are now 4th on the log with 22 points. For Rivers United, this is their fifth defeat this season and will hope to improve when they take on Plateau United in a rescheduled matchday 10 fixture in Jos on March 3rd.

Still in Uyo, Dakkada Football Club came from behind to record an emphatic 3-2 over Kano Pillars. The ever dependable Rabiu Ali gave Sai Masu Gida the lead from the spot just 10 minutes into the match.

Gerome Henchong doubled the lead for the visitors when he connected an assist from Auwalu Malam with his head. Just before half-time, Christian Ekong pulled one back for the home side.

When second half commenced, it didn’t take long before Ekong provided an assist for Phillip Archibong to score and put Dakkada back into the contest. The Chosen Ones kept pushing for the winner and were awarded a penalty when the hardworking Ekong was brought down in the box. Substitute Isaac George stepped up to the responsibility and scored to seal a remarkable comeback victory for Dakkada FC.

Kwara United returned to the top of the league table after recording a 2-0 win over Warri Wolves in Ilorin. The Harmony Boys are still unbeaten at home this season.

Coach Abdullahi Biffo’s team wasted no time in taking the lead through Stephen Jude’s long-range effort in the 8th minute. They doubled their lead through Michael Ohanu’s header in the second half and held on to it to seal the victory.

This is the 7th win for Kwara United and so far, they have lost 2, drawn 4, and still the surprise package of the season.

In Markurdi, Mathias Samuel scored a late goal to give Lobi Stars a 2-1 victory over Katsina United. Samuel’s long-range effort found the back of the net in the final seconds of added time. Chinonso Okonkwo scored the opener for the hosts and just when they thought they were good for the win, the visitors drew level in the 80th minute through Rasheed Ahmed’s goal.

Three centres produced goalless draws. In Nnewi, FC Ifeanyi Ubah were held by Plateau United while Sunshine Stars failed to take advantage of Adamawa United in Akure. The game between Jigawa Golden Stars and Enyimba also ended in a stalemate.

On Saturday, Abia Warriors defeated Wikki Tourists of Bauchi 1-0 to record their fourth win of the campaign.

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Matchday 13 Results

Sunday

Rangers Int’l FC 2 Heartland 0

Akwa United 3 Rivers United 0

Dakkada FC 3 Kano Pillars 2

Kwara United 2 Warri Wolves 0

Lobi Stars 2 Katsina United 1

FC Ifeanyi Ubah 0 Plateau United 0

Sunshine Stars 0 Adamawa United 0

Jigawa Golden Stars 0 Enyimba 0

Saturday

Abia Warriors 1 Wikki Tourists 0

NANPF, LMC To Tackle Players Welfare Issue

NANPF, LMC To Tackle Players Welfare IssueThe National Association of Nigerian Professional Footballers (NANPF) has vowed to keep up pressure on clubs to pay their players their wages and salaries.

The renewed commitment came after the association reached an agreement with the League Management Company to work together in ensuring backlogs are settled.

The 2016/2017 Premier League season begins on Saturday with many clubs yet to pay their players and coaches their salaries and bonuses from previous seasons.

NANPF General Secretary, Austin Popo, who expressed his disappointment with the refusal of the majority of the clubs to pay their players, said the body had decided to work with the LMC.

It was learnt that the players’ union and other groups had allegedly pressured the LMC to suspend the league until the players were paid their entitlements.

It was also learnt that the groups decided to make a U-turn after allegedly coming under pressure from some of the clubs and the LMC.

However, Popo said the players’ body would put defaulting clubs under pressure through the LMC for the players to be paid their entitlements.

The former Flying Eagles forward said that Warri Wolves, Taraba United and Heartland were among the clubs still owing their players.

According to Popo, “The painful thing about the debts owed these players by the clubs is that the managers and owners of these clubs are frustrating our efforts at retrieving the debts, hence we have decided to work directly with the LMC, who have assured us that the debts would be paid before the new season begins, to avoid a repeat of the past situations.

“These club owners have some recovered monies paid to them but they have refused to pay their players.

“Many club owners have these monies but divert them and conveniently owe these players knowing full well that the players would not want to go on strike when we call on them to do so.

“The players only speak out after leaving the clubs owing them for another one, hence they don’t help the cause.”

He added: “In the new season, players’ welfare is going to be our major focus as we have always done.

“We have met with the LMC and the list of players who are owed by their clubs and their account numbers have been forwarded to them (LMC). The LMC will pay them from the entitlements due to the indebted clubs.

“Some clubs have been responding. For instance, Bayelsa United and Gombe United have paid their players as of last week.

“Although the LMC have been doing a lot since they came on board, we have met with them and let them understand that the wages issue could cause disruptions in the league if not properly handled.”

NPFL: Plateau United, MFM React To Week 7 Results

NPFLPlateau United Assistant Coach, Sani Adamu, says the newly promoted side will continue to push for a continental finish at the end of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL.

Two quick-fire goals by Plateau United’s Nuhu Julius and Sunday Ingbede cancelled out Tony Okpotu’s opener for Lobi.

Coach Adamu and Ingbede said that the team is made up of young players who are thirsty for continental action.

Meanwhile, newly promoted side, MFM FC have waved off their away defeat to Heartland of Owerri in week seven of the Nigerian Professional Football League.

A lone goal by Fortune Omoniwari handed MFM their second defeat of the season from seven games.

The Olukoya boys are, however, confident they can make up for the defeat when they host former champions Kano Pillars at home in week eight of the domestic league.

Sunshine Stars Sack Unuanel and Abiodun

Sunshine StarsThe Ondo State Football Agency has sacked the Chief Coach of Sunshine Stars, Samson Unuanel and the club’s technical director, Henry Abiodun.

The agency said Unuanel and Abiodun were relieved of their jobs owing to internal wrangling within the team which had affected the performance of the players this season.

They announced that Kayode Olujoungbe would take charge of the team pending the appointment of a substantive coach.

Sunshine Stars become the second club to sack their coach after Heartland did same to Bethel Orji on Sunday.

The former Sunshine Stars coach’s dismissal came after he said the team gave a good fight despite the 2-1 loss to new comers MFM FC.

In his post-match press conference, Unuanel had expressed confidence that his side would bounce back from their defeat and focus on the next game against FC Ifeanyi Ubah on Sunday.

Enyimba, Pillars Others Record Victory In NPFL Week 35 Games

npfl-enyimbaEnyimba of Aba defeated relegation strugglers, Kwara United, by a lone goal to maintain the lead at the top of the NPFL table with three games left.

The League leaders have 65 points from 35 games, six points above Warri Wolves who have a game in hand.

Defending Champions, Kano Pillars also defeated Rangers International 2-1, while Akwa United defeated Sunshine Stars two goals to one in another week 35 clash.

Dolphins of Port Harcourt moved off the relegation zone, following a 2-0 win against El-Kanemi Warriors, and Giwa FC moved to third spot on the league table, following a 3-2 win against Wikki Tourists.

FC Ifeanyi Ubah also defeated Heartland of Owerri by a lone goal, while another Port Harcourt based team, Sharks beat Shooting Stars 2-1

Federation Cup: Rangers Qualify For Quarter Finals

Federation CupRangers Football Club of Enugu State have qualified for the quarter finals of the 2015 Federation Cup.

Rangers secured a 3-2 victory over Kwara United also known as the Harmony Boys of Kwara on Thursday.

The first goal of the game played at the Area 3 Play Ground in Abuja came in the 25th minute of the match for Kwara United through a left foot volley by Evans Iyoro, while Rangers equalised nine minutes later through Odoh Onorade.

The game, however, ended 3-2 in favour of Rangers who dominated the better part of the second half of the game.

Although Rangers won the game, Coach Imama Amakapabo expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of his team but added that he would work harder to get to the final of the tournament.

Kwara United Coach, Tunde Sanni, said that they were the better team that deserved the victory but his boys were punished for lack of concentration in the second half.

With this victory, Rangers will now face El-Kanemi Warriors in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Lobi Stars will square up against BJ Foundation, while Ifeanyi Ubah will face Nasarawa United. Akwa United will battle Niger Tornadoes Feeders.

Other Round of 16 matches of the Federation Cup were decided on Wednesday.

 

Heartland, Dolphins, Plateau United Crash Out Of Federation Cup

federation-cupNigerian league clubs, Heartland, Dolphins and Plateau United are out of the Federation Cup.

Heartland suffered a shocking 3-2 defeat to a non-league side, BJ Foundation of Edo State in the round of 16, while Dolphins also lost to a second division side, Tornadoes Feeders, 4-2 on penalties.

For Plateau United, they narrowly lost by a lone goal to Premier League side, El-Kanmei Warriors and Remo Stars’ run came to an end after they fell 5-3 on penalties to Lobi Stars of Makurdi.

However, Ifeanyi Ubah and Nasarawa United booked their places in the quarter-finals after securing vital wins over FC Taraba and Abia Warriors, while Akwa United needed an 85th minute goal to send Prime FC out of the competition.

In the quarter-finals, Lobi Stars will square up against BJ Foundation, while Ifeanyi Ubah will face Nasarawa United.

Akwa United will battle Niger Tornadoes Feeders, and El-Kanemi Warriors will await the winner of the match between Kwara United and Enugu Rangers which is scheduled for Thursday in Abuja.

Five Kano Pillars Players Injured In Robbery Attack

Kano_pillars11Nigeria Premier League champions Kano Pillars were on Thursday attacked by armed robbers along Abaji-Lokoja road, leaving five players seriously injured.

The incident occurred at about 1.15pm Nigerian time on Thursday, March 5th when Kano Pillars were on their way to Owerri for their opening league game against Heartland on Saturday, March 7th.

Kano Pillars’ spokesman Idris Malikawa revealed that the gunmen shot sporadically in a way that left Sai Masu Gida with no escape route.

The five players injured during the attack are Gambo Muhammed, Eneji Otekpa, Adamu Murtala, Reuben Ogbonnaya and Ubong Ekpai.

Malikawa confirmed the injured players are in a Lokoja hospital receiving treatment.

“We were attacked by armed robbers, in which five of our players were injured by the thieves and as I’m talking to you, these five players are now at the Federal Medical Centre in Lokoja and are responding to treatment. The attack happened around 1:15pm and the rest of the team are still in fright following the incident,” Malikawa told Channelstv.com.

Meanwhile,the League Management Company [LMC] has postponed the opening game of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) between champions Kano Pillars and Heartland.

Heartland were scheduled to host the champions this Saturday, but the game is now off after the Kano club were attacked by armed robbers along Abaji-Lokoja road on Thursday (March 5th) afternoon.

Five key players – Gambo Muhammed, Eneji Otekpa, Adamu Murtala, Reuben Ogbonnaya and Ubong Ekpai — were those left injured from the incident.

“The League Management Company has expressed shock at the news of the armed robbery attack on the Kano Pillars Football Club contingent along the Abuja-Lokoja Road and consequently ordered an indefinite postponement of their Match Day 1 fixture in Owerri against Heartland FC,” a statement from the league body said.

The LMC revealed that the other nine matches of Match Day 1 will proceed as scheduled.

Dolphins will play hosts to Kwara United in the early kickoff of the opening day, while Sharks face Sunshine Stars in the second match on Saturday, March 7th.

Keshi picks 7 home-based players against Liberia

Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi has picked 7 home-based professionals that will join their foreign counterparts for the October 13th 2013 Nation’s cup final qualifier against Liberia in Calabar.

The 7 players are Warri Wolves duo of goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim and Azubuike Egwueke, Sunshine Stars defender, Godfrey Oboabona and Enyimba’s Henry Uche.

Others are Benjamin Francis of Heartland, Kano Pillars central defender, Umar Zango and Enugu Rangers winger, Ejike Uzoenyi.

Keshi confirmed that the team will depart for Calabar, venue of the match on Monday, October 8th while the foreign-based professionals are expected to join them on Wednesday, October 10th.

Nigeria needs an outright victory to seal its place at the tournament billed for South Africa.

VIDEO: Heartland retains Fed Cup, defeating Lobi Stars 2-1

Heartland of Owerri retained their Federation Cup title after defeating Lobi Stars of Makurdi 2-1 at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos.

The Nazi millionaires became the second side after Dolphins in 2007 to win the cup back-to-back.

In the third place match, Nigeria National League Side, Prime FC edged Kano pillars 3-1 on penalties.


Both teams ended the game 1-all in open play after 90 minutes.