NPFL: MFM FC, Plateau United Lead Matchday 1 Review

Matchday 1 results. Photos: LMC Media

 

Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries (MFM) Football Club of Lagos and Plateau United produced the major talking points of the opening day of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.

The team, formerly managed by Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu, travelled to Okigwe to deliver a strong message of intent on their aspiration this season as they stunned Heartland FC 0-1 to record the first away victory of the season.

On August 5, 2019, Coach Ilechukwu was officially unveiled as the new coach of Heartland FC after spending 13 progressive years at MFM FC. It was arguably the pragmatic coach who stabilised the team when they gained promotion to the NPFL in 2016 and when some of the boys he tutored visited Okigwe, they showed him some of the skills he taught them.

It was actually Clement Ogwu, a player signed by coach Ilechukwu last season from an unknown Glorious Day Academy that headed home the game’s only goal in the 39th minute from a corner kick by right back Adeyinka Najeem.

After the match, MFM FC head coach, Tony Bolus was full of praise for his team.
“I need to appreciate the boys for their effort today, for keeping and playing to instructions. They maintained the tempo of the game from the beginning until the end.”

If Ogwu had scored that goal last season, Ilechukwu, also referred to as the “Working One” would have given the fans his trademark energetic celebration, lifting his hands to the heavens and punching the ground. But there was nothing to celebrate on matchday one with his new team and he will be hoping for a turnaround on matchday 2 when the Naze Millionaires go against Rivers United at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt.

Akwa United and Warri Wolves in action on Matchday one

 

At the New Jos Stadium, Plateau United cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Lobi Stars to put behind the disappointment of last season’s opening day clash with Ifeanyi Ubah.

The stadium had a fairly good number of spectators which include a former governor, Jonah Jang cheering the team all the way. Nerot Silas didn’t take long to reward the fans loyalty as he scored the opener in the 12th minute. In the 27th minute, an own-goal by Solomon Kwambe doubled the lead for the hosts.

But Lobi Stars will not go down without a fight. They kept pushing and in the 32nd minute, they were awarded a penalty. Sikiru Alimi stepped up to it and converted to keep hopes alive. But the hopes were dashed when winger, Amo Gyang Danladi finished a fine move to seal victory and also shoot the 2017 league champions to the top of the league table after matchday one.

After the match, Coach Abdul Maikaba said the victory is a good relief from what happened on the opening day of last season.

“Last season, we struggled and it started with the first match with Ifeanyi Ubah FC. We drew here and it caused a lot of confusion and put a lot of pressure on the team. Before we recovered in an abridged league, it became so difficult. We escaped relegation by a whisker and so, this time around, starting with another home game, we had to start well. We told the boys not to repeat last season’s error and to get a win that will put us on top of the league table,” a happy Maikaba said.

In Kano, former league champions Kano Pillars felt the absence of their home fans as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Rivers United at the Sani Abacha Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors because of a ban placed on Pillars due to unacceptable fans behaviour during the Super Six tournament in Lagos last season.

Players from Kano Pillars and Rivers United vie for the ball on Matchday one

 

In Gombe, Wikki Tourists of Bauchi were the only team that produced a comeback victory on matchday one. They defeated newly promoted Jigawa Golden Stars 2-1 at their adopted home ground.

15 minutes into the match, Lala Abdullahi gave Jigawa a shock lead at the Pantami Stadium but two second-half goals from Saidu Abubakar and captain Mohammed Idris Guda gave coach Ibrahim Garba’s team the maximum points.

At the Umuahia Township Stadium, Abia Warriors also got off to a winning start with a 2-0 victory over Katsina United. Former Heartland FC player, Jimoh Oni’s brace did all the magic.

Oni’s first goal came as early the 8th minute, when he drilled a free-kick from 20 yards beyond Mustapha Aliko and followed up two minutes into the second half with another goal assisted by Phillip Auta.

Emmanuel Deutsche’s team will hope to sustain the momentum when they clash with Akwa United on matchday 2 of the league at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

In Nnewi, FC Ifeanyiubah edged newly promoted Adamawa United 1-0 courtesy of a superb strike by Samuel Kalu minutes to the end of the first half. It would have been more for the Anambra Warriors but Striker Chibuike Ezeh failed to convert a second-half penalty which could have widened the scoreline for the Anambra Warriors.

Matchday one also witnessed a double-header clash between Delta and Akwa-Ibom states. Delta Force hosted NPFL debutants, formerly Akwa Starlets, now Dakkada FC in Asaba while Warri Wolves hosted Akwa United at the Warri Township Stadium.

In both games, the teams shared the spoils.

In Warri, Samuel Amadi scored the fastest goal of the new season when his strike gave Wolves the lead with just two minutes into the match. Captain of the Promise Keepers, Mfon Udoh continued from where he left off last season to restore parity for John Obuh’s team.

At the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Isaac George scored in the 50th minute to give Dakkada FC the lead but the experienced Bala Yahuza rescued a point for the home side.

Enyimba vs Nasarawa United and Rangers vs Sunshine Stars were rescheduled due to Enyimba and Rangers’ CAF Confederation Cup engagements on Sunday.

2019/2020 NPFL Matchday 1 Results

Heartland 0-1 MFM FC
Plateau United 3-1 Lobi Stars
Kano Pillars 0-0 River United
Wikki Tourists 2-1 Jigawa Golden Stars
Abia Warriors 2-0 Katsina United
FC Ifeanyiubah 1-0 Adamawa United
Warri Wolves 1-1 Akwa United
Delta Force 1-1 Akwa Starlets

CAF Champions League: Nigeria Put Faith In MFM FC

Mountain of Fire and Miracles Football Club are unlikely to win the 2018 CAF Champions League, but they boast the most eye-catching name among the 58 contenders.

Known as MFM FC in football circles, the Lagos-based team are funded by the popular pentecostal christian organisation Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries.

Nigeria are allocated two places on merit in the elite African club competition and they will be filled by national champions Plateau United and runners-up MFM.

The draw for the preliminary and first rounds of the Champions League will be made in Cairo on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Confederation of African Football.

Mountain of Fire and Miracles, who play in a modest 5,200-seat stadium, boast one of the most striking football club names in Africa.

Others include 11 Men in Flight of Swaziland, Mysterious Dwarfs of Ghana, Chicken Inn of Zimbabwe, Invincible XI of Liberia and Naughty Boys of Botswana.

Nigerians hope Plateau and MFM can go far in a competition where many clubs from the African football powerhouse have made embarrassingly early exits.

Last year, Enugu Rangers and Rivers United failed to get past the first round and into the group phase with the latter surrendering a three-goal first-leg advantage.

Enyimba are the only Nigerian club to win the Champions League, lifting the trophy in 2003 and staging a successful defence the following year.

Alongside record eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, they are the only three clubs to win back-to-back Champions League titles.

Ahly and five-time title-holders Mazembe are among the 58 entrants in a competition won for a second time by Wydad Casablanca of Morocco this year.

They edged Ahly 1-0 in the second leg of the final in Casablanca after exceeding expectations in Alexandria by forcing a 1-1 draw.

Esperance and Etoile Sahel of Tunisia, Entente Setif and Mouloudia Alger of Algeria, ASEC of the Ivory Coast, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa and V Club of DR Congo are other former champions in the field.

AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville, Al Merrikh of Sudan, Gor Mahia of Kenya, Horoya of Guinea and Stade Malien of Mali have won second-tier CAF competitions.

The two-leg preliminary round ties are scheduled for February and the first round for March with the opening group games during May.

It requires 14 or 16 matches to become African champions with the rewards including a $2.5 million (about 2.1 million euro) prize and qualification for the FIFA Club World Cup.

AFP

CAF B-Licence Coaching Course Ends In Abuja

CAF B-License Coaching Course Ends In AbujaThe CAF B-Licence Coaching Course organised by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has ended in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the training, Chairman of the League Management Company, Mr Shehu Dikko, tasked participants to be willing to invest in learning new trends and technological innovations in the game.

He also challenged Nigerian coaches to always support one another, especially when any of them is appointed into the national teams.

A total of 75 participants on Friday collected certificates of participation in the conference room of the NFF/FIFA Technical Centre at the National Stadium Complex.

Those who participated include former Nigerian midfielder, Garba Lawal, as well as Nigerian Professional Football League coaches, Fidelis Ilechukwu of MFM FC, and Kabiru Dogo of Nasarawa United.

NPFL: Rivers United, MFM FC Defeat Opponents

NPFL: Rivers United, MFM FC Defeat OpponentsIt was a delightful match for Rivers United as they defeated defending champions Enugu Rangers on Sunday evening.

The Nigerian south-south team, who finished second last season, beat their visitors 1-0 to clinch their third win of the season.

Elsewhere, MFM FC thrashed Remo 1-0 while Akwa United beat El-Kanemi Warriors 1-0 at the Nest of Champions in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

Sunshine Stars also defeated Wikki Tourists 1-0, just as the clash between ABS FC and Katsina United ended in same score line.

Also, Lobi Stars beat visiting Gombe United 1-0; Niger defeated Nasarawa 2-0 while Kano Pillars recorded the biggest feat with a 3-1 win against Enyimba International.

Meanwhile, the game between FC Ifeanyi Ubah and Abia Warriors ended 2-2 while Shooting Stars held league leaders Plateau United to a 1-1 draw.

MFM Beat Enugu Rangers 2-1 In NPFL Clash

MFM, Enugu Rangers, NPFLMFM FC on Friday defeated champions Enugu Rangers 2-1 in a matchday 10 tie of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

During the match played at the Agege Stadium in Lagos, Sikiru Olatunbosun fired a screamer to put the Lagos club ahead in the 32nd minute.

Stephen Odey increased the goal tally in the 56th minute, just as Bobby Clement pulled one back for the Flying Antelopes 10 minutes to full time.

MFM have moved to the second spot with 16 points while Rangers are 16th with nine points on the league table.

Federation Cup Final To Be Played On November 6

federation cupFederation CupThe Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have confirmed that this year’s men and women Federation Cup final, will be played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, on November 6, 2016.

Rivers Angels and Bayelsa Queens will lock horns in the women’s finals which kicks off by 1pm.

While the much-anticipated final between Ifeanyi Ubah Football Club and Nasarawa United will also take place at same venue with the match expected to start at 3.30pm.

Lagos state has hosted the last five finals of the Federation Cup.

Nasarawa United shocked defending champions Enyimba to make it into their dream final, while FC Ifeanyi Ubah defeated giant killers Crown FC 2-1 in Kaduna.

Winners in the Federation Cup get to represent Nigeria in Africa’s second tier club competition, the CAF Confederation Cup.

NPFL: Abia Warriors Vow To ‘Fight’ Wikki In Bauchi

wikki tourists, NPFL, Abia WarriorsAbia Warriors Football Club of Umuahia striker, Chinenye Agoha, has declared that they will give Wikki Tourists a run for their money when they clash in this weekend’s matchday 28 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) encounter at the Abubakar Tafewa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi.

Agoha, who scored the only goal in Abia Warriors’ 1-0 victory over visiting Warri Wolves last Sunday in Umuahia, said the win was a sign of better days ahead.

“We had some bad results in the recent past mainly because of the injury which hit many of our key players but we have overcome that now and ready to re-establish ourselves as one of the best in Nigeria”, Agoha, a mid-season signing said.

According to the Afugiri, Umuahia-born hitman who joined Abia Warriors from Giwa FC of Jos, the players have made up their minds to fight for a good result in Bauchi this weekend.

“We know Wikki is good this season, we are also good and that is why fans should expect good football this weekend”, he said.

Agoha, who was one of the players released by the League Management Company (LMC) to join a club of their choice after Giwa was thrown out of the league for not honouring three matches earlier this season, said he has already warned his captain and friend at Giwa, Charles Henlong who is now with Wikki Tourists to get ready for him as Abia Warriors were not in Bauchi on a picnic but on a serious business.

He said that he was pleased the way the league is being run now as anybody can pick points anywhere without any incidents and commended the LMC and the referees for a job well done so far.

Federation Cup: Round of 16 Matches Postponed

Federation Cup, NFFThe Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has postponed matches of the Round of 16 of the 2016 Men Federation Cup competition as well as the quarter–final matches of the women competition due to the Eid-el-Fitri celebrations.

After the Federal Government announcement on Friday that there would be public holidays on Tuesday, 5th July and Wednesday, 6th July for the Eid-el-Fitri celebrations, the NFF had to reschedule the Round of 16 matches of the men’s competition and the quarter final matches of the women’s event for Tuesday, 12th July and Wednesday, 13th July 2016.

Sunshine Stars of Akure go up against Akwa United in Makurdi on Tuesday, 12th July as Crown FC of Ogbomosho and Enugu Rangers go for a tug in Kaduna on the same day.

In–form Rivers United and five–time champions Shooting Stars will now battle at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna on Wednesday, 13th July, as Wikki Tourists of Bauchi confront Plateau United in Akure in other all –NPFL clashes.

NPFL side FC IfeanyiUbah will take on Katsina United at the Kwara Sports Complex, Ilorin on Wednesday, 13th July while Nasarawa United will test might with Dynamite FC of Benin City at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja on the same day as Warri Wolves are up against Prime FC of Oshogbo at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi.

The postponed Round of 32 clash between Enyimba FC and El-Kanemi Warriors will come up in Abuja on Wednesday, 13th July, keeping Round of 16 opponents J. Atete on holiday.

In the women’s competition, Abia Angels will take to the field in Lokoja against Nasarawa Amazons, as Delta Queens and Katsina Queens do battle in Abuja on Tuesday, 12th July.

Champions Sunshine Queens will tango with Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt in Abuja on Wednesday, 13th July and Bayelsa Queens and COD United Ladies of Lagos trade tackles in Oleh.

 

Men’s Round Of 16

Akwa United Vs Sunshine Stars         – Makurdi    – 12/7/16     – 4pm

Crown FC Vs Enugu Rangers            – Kaduna     – 12/7/16     – 4pm

Rivers United Vs Shooting Stars         – Kaduna     – 13/7/16     – 4pm

Wikki Tourists Vs Plateau United       – Akure       – 13/7/16     – 4pm

Katsina United Vs FC IfeanyiUbah      – Ilorin        – 13/7/16     – 4pm

Prime FC Vs Warri Wolves               – Makurdi    – 13/7/16     – 4pm

Dynamite FC Vs Nasarawa United      – Lokoja      – 13/7/16     – 4pm.

J. Atete Vs Enyimba FC/El-Kanemi Warriors

Note: Enyimba FC Vs El-Kanemi Warriors Round of 32 to be played in Abuja on Wednesday, July 13 by 4pm.

 

Women’s Quarter Finals

Nasarawa Amazons Vs Abia Angels    – Lokoja      – 12/7/16     – 4pm

Delta Queens Vs Katsina Queens        – Abuja        – 12/7/16     – 2pm

COD United Vs Bayelsa Queens         – Oleh                  – 13/7/16     – 4pm

Sunshine Queens Vs Rivers Angels     – Abuja        – 13/7/16     – 4pm

NPFL Match Day 22 : Wikki Tourists Stay On Top

wikki tourists, NPFLWikki Tourists have maintained their position at the top of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) table despite playing a goalless draw with Heartland in Owerri.

Title challengers, Enyimba of Aba and Enugu Rangers both suffered losses in their away fixtures with the defending champions losing by a lone goal to Shooting Stars while Plateau United defeated Rangers, 2-0.

Match Day 22 Results

Heartland FC    0-0 Wikki Tourists

Shooting Stars 1-0 Enyimba FC

Plateau United   2-0 Rangers Int’l

Rivers United   4-1 MFM FC

Ikorodu United 1-1 Akwa United

Sunshine Stars 1-0 Lobi Stars

Nasarawa United 4-2 FC Ifeanyi Ubah

Kano Pillars 2-2 Warri Wolves

LMC Moves Enyimba, Rivers United Game To Thursday

Enyimba, Rivers United, NPFLThe League Management Company has moved the midweek Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clash between defending champions Enyimba of Aba and Rivers United at the Umuahia township stadium to Thursday.

Two other NPFL clubs, Abia Warriors and Ikorodu United, are billed to clash in another week 21 NPFL game at the same venue on Wednesday and that has necessitated the change in date of the fixture between Enyimba and Rivers United.

Rivers United beat Enyimba 1-0 in the reverse fixture in Port Harcourt in February.

Rivers United are in second spot on the NPFL table with 34 points from 19 matches, while Enyimba are fifth with 30 points from 18 matches.

Meanwhile, MFM FC are hoping to restart the second stanza of the Nigeria Professional Football League action on a winning note against Nasarawa United on Wednesday at the Agege township stadium.

The Lagos-based team won the first leg of the fixture 2-1 at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi.

Midfielder Ifeanyi Ifeanyi says the team would be aiming for another victory in Lagos.

Onuwa Emmanuel has predicted a tough game but believes his team would emerge victorious.

MFM are 10th on the table with 27 points.

Rangers, MFM FC React To NPFL Clash Outcome

Rangers - MFM - NPFLEnugu Rangers Coach, Imama Amapakabo, says he is happy to pick a point in the NPFL against the newly promoted MFM FC.

Amapakabo admitted that the hosts were no underdogs in the top flight division, hence his team came well prepared.

In his reaction, MFM FC Head Coach, Fidelis Ilechukwu, saiud he was not impressed with the 1-1 draw against visiting Enugu Ranger.

Ilechukwu wants the team to remain focus ahead of their next league game when they visit Warri Wolves in Delta State.

Rangers took the lead through Obinna Nwobodo nine minutes before the break, as Sunday Odey got the equaliser in the 68th minute to hand MFM 16 points from 10 league games.

With the draw, Enugu Rangers dropped to second on the league table with 18 points from 10 league games while MFM FC slipped to 6th spot in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).

NPFL: Rangers Extend Lead, Ikorodu United’s Struggle Continues

NPFLMatchday nine of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) produced 21 goals (2.1 goals per game), six home wins, three draws and one away victory.

Enugu Rangers consolidated their lead on top of the league table to two points with a hard fought 2-1 win against oriental rivals Enyimba FC of Aba.

Joseph Osadiaye got the champions in front in the 14th minute, when he curled in Ikechukwu Ibenegbu’s lofty pass from the edge of the area. Godwin Aguda levelled terms for the Flying Antelopes in the 21st minute from a Bobby Clement assist. Clement again turned provider for Chisom Egubuchulam, who finished it with a fine goal eight minutes to the break.

In Owerri, Heartland FC saw off a difficult Giwa FC challenge with a 2-0 win, which saw Roland Koffi smashing home a cracker at the death.

Shagari Mohammed was the hero in Kano, providing assists for Prince Aggreh and Suleman Usman to slot in the goals in the 28th and 47th minutes respectively. Pillars move into second place on the log.

In Jos, MFM FC played 1-1 away to Plateau United. The result increases pressure on head coach, Zachary Baraje, who has been asked to spring results or face the music.

Federation Cup champions, Akwa United, held Wikki Tourists to a barren draw at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, despite being without their technical adviser, Maurice Cooreman, who failed to travel with the team due to illness. The home side will have Godwin Obaje to blame for failing to convert outright opportunities in the opening half.

In Akure, Tope Orelope’s equalizer in the 63rd minute, appeared to have secured a point for Shooting Stars, but that was not the outcome, as the Akure Gunners snatched a late winner through Okiki Afolabi. Dele Olorundare also had a goal to his name in the sixth minute.

Elsewhere, Abia Warriors grabbed a narrow 1-0 win at home to Niger Tornadoes, at the Umuahia Township Stadium through Chisom Chikatara’s late goal. Ladan Bosso’s El-Kanemi side thrashed Nasarawa United 3-0 in Katsina, while Warri Wolves drew goalless with visiting Lobi Stars at the Warrior Township Stadium.

Rivers United appear to have finally found their rhythm, edging newcomers Ikorodu United in a five-goal thriller at the Onikan Waterfront.

Guy Kuemian got the visitors in front, in the ninth minute before the home side levelled terms through Ifegwu Ojukwu just before the quarter of an hour mark. Nonso Okonkwo and Wilson Andoh put the game beyond the Lagos side before the break, with stunning goals.

Ikorodu United’s late chase only aided them to reduce the deficit through Ojukwu, before end of proceedings. But Ojukwu’s brace proved too little to help them avoid a fifth defeat on the bounce as they drop to second from bottom.

After the game, new technical adviser, Sam Okpodu described the team as young and inexperienced.

”This team has a lot of learning to do and with time they will understand themselves and start getting the desired results” he concluded.