Kano Pillars Football Club has won this year’s Glo Premier League title despite losing their final game of the season.
Playing away to Lobi Stars of Makurdi who needed a win to escape relegation, the defending champions were shocked by Barnabas Imenger who scored a brace to help Lobi to a 2-0 home win, and avoid relegation.
The let-off for Kano Pillars however came when their closest rivals to the title failed to capitalize on the opportunity as they also lost their final games of the season. Bayelsa United and El Kanemi Warriors lost 1-0 respectively to both Gombe United and Enugu Rangers.
Pillars have therefore successfully defended their league title, while Enyimba of Aba also snatched 2nd place and a continental ticket with a final day win.
Enyimba midfielder, Henry Uche has expressed optimism that the country’s representative at the AFCON 2013; Super Eagles will surprise Nigerians in the tournament.
Uche who was part of the Super Eagles squad to be in South Africa but unfortunately was part of the first set of four players dropped from the squad said that the players who are still camped at Faro, Portugal are in a battle mood as their spirits are so high in terms of performance.
Coach Stephen Keshi dropped Uche, who debuted for Nigeria last year along with Kano Pillars’ defender Papa Idris, Turkey-based striker Uche Kalu and Rabiu Ibrahim.
The Enyimba midfielder said the super Eagles shouldn’t be judged now but Nigerians should just wait till the competition kicks off before judgment can be passed as Coach Keshi will praised for a well-done job on the squad representing Nigeria in the Nations Cup.
“Nigerians should not judge the Eagles with the recent friendly matches. I want them to wait till the Nations Cup kicks off, by then they will see a different and ‘superb’ Eagles on display.
“From the little time I spent with the team in Faro, I can conveniently tell Nigerians that the mood and the spirit in camp are high. The Eagles are raring to go. The focus of every player is the Nations Cup and with the determination and commitment, I’m sure that Nigeria will have cause to rejoice with the team after the tournament,” he said.
The Super Eagles will be playing their first match on the 21st of January.
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.
Foster Chime the media officer of Enugu Rangers confirmed that Chikeluba Ofoedu has followed in the footsteps of James Okwuosa in seeking greener pastures abroad in the game of football as the Enugu Rangers top scorer Ofoedu has gone abroad for trials without permission, and the management of the club are livid with anger over this.
Information reaching the club states that the striker is believed to be in Turkey with a yet to be known club in the country, all this in the midst of Rangers final NPL game in the season against Sharks this weekend which will either make or mar the club’s position on the league table as league winners or not.
Ofoedu was signed from Enugu-based amateur side UNTH FC at the beginning of the season, and has gone on to become one of the biggest revelations in the league, having scored 12 goals so far and contributed several assists.
The player had previously been linked with a move to Norwegian giants Rosenberg and despite impressing during trials, the move stalled for undisclosed reasons.
Rangers still have a chance of winning the league even though their destiny are no longer in their hands,they however will be hoping to win the game against Sharks by a large score line while hoping their fellow title contenders Kano Pillars and Lobi Stars lose away to both Sunshine Stars and Kaduna United respectively.
A while ago, the captain of Rangers, James Okwuosa, abandoned Rangers during their Federation Cup quest to go on trials in South Africa, and despite earlier threats issued by the management of Rangers to sanction the player, he was eventually ‘rewarded’ with a lucrative three year deal with Ajax Cape Town.
This disciplinary laxity on the part of the management of Rangers now seems to be creating a domino effect of the Okwuosa situation, which may have ‘inspired’ Ofoedu to defy the club, irrespective of their seemingly empty threats to sanction the player.
Expectedly, the club have again threatened to sanction the player by stating that the balance of his sign on fees and other entitlements for the season will be withheld until the player gives them a reasonable explanation for his action.
Fans of the club will no doubt be waiting the see how this new episode of a sad drama will play out.
The management of Kano Pillars is seeking shift of their Federation Cup semi-final owing to the invitation of star players Gabriel Reuben and Papa Idris for the Super Eagles international friendly against Niger republic.
The two players are among the home-based Super Eagles called up for the August 15th clash against the West Africans in Niamey.
The date for the friendly also coincides with that of the semi-final of the oldest club competition in Nigeria.
The club’s management said the absence of the players could deplete their squad in the semi-final cracker against fellow Nigeria Premier League contenders Lobi Stars of Makurdi.
Rabiu Ali of Kano Pillars and kabir Sulaiman Dogo of ABS FC have been named by the Nigerian Premier League Blogger Awards as player and Manager of the month respectively for March.
ABS went on an eight game winning streak, winning five and drawing three to earn their gaffer the award including a win at Kaduna United on match day 4 to show intent in his first game as care taker boss.
Trainer of the Saraki Boys further handed down a seven-game target to go unbeaten and surpassed it in same month.
However, only the duo of Baba Ganaru and Austin Eguavoen of Kano Pillars and Enyimba came closest to equaling the unbeaten feat of Dogo and his team.
Enyimba and Kano Pillars finished with one loss apiece in March.
But the real battle was in the player’s category where Ali, Bala Mohammed of Jigawa Golden Stars and Sibi Gwar of Niger Tornadoes were tied on four goals each.
Mohammed has been the talisman for the Golden Stars so far this season but two of his four goals came from penalties compared to Ali and Gwar, who scored all of their four goals each from open play.
The battle for the Player of March was trimmed down to Ali and Gwar with the former slightly edging the Tornadoes’ man.
Ali’s goals were able to help Pillars notch up wins against Sunshine Stars and 3SC while Gwar’s goals secured just a win for Tornadoes against Sharks and two draws against Enugu Rangers and Kwara United.
The organisers of the monthly award, the Naija Premier League Bloggers Awards, will present Ali and Dogo with certificates for their feat in April.