Plateau United Retain NPFL Top Spot

At the end of matchday 21 action in the Nigeria Professional Football League, Plateau United earned a crucial goalless draw away at Lobi Stars to retain the top spot.

The hosts, Lobi Stars were hoping to win and take leadership of the league but they failed to convert their chances at the Aper Aku stadium in Markurdi.

The coaching staff and players of Plateau United will gladly keep the precious point that also ensured they remain unbeaten in their last 6 matches.

At the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt, Rivers United maintained their brilliant form with a 2-1 win against Kano Pillars to move into 2nd place, above Lobi Stars.

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In another big fixture, Rivers United continued their push for the NPFL title with a crucial 2-1 win over Kano Pillars in Port Hartcourt.

Konan N’gouan opened the scoring for the Pride of Rivers in the 20th minute when he converted from the penalty spot before Emotan Cletus sealed victory for coach Stanley Eguma’s team with an 87th-minute goal.
The charismatic Rabiu Ali scored a consolatory sweet goal for Pillars when he converted a brilliant free-kick with practically the last kick of the game.

In Lafia, Enyimba’s unbeaten run in four games came to a shocking end as they lost 2-0 to relegation-threatened Nasarawa United.
The home team took the lead when Chinedu Ohanachom showed some exceptional skill to score from close range after Haggai Katoh’s low effort hit the bar.
Hagai Katoh completed a brilliant performance by scoring the second goal of the match in the 89th minute.

In Uyo, Akwa United missed the chance to close the gap on third-placed Lobi Stars, as they left it late to record 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Warri Wolves.
Jumbo Wisdom opening the scoring for the Warri based team in the 70th minute from the penalty spot while Ndifreke Effiong responded to avoid a major embarrassment for the Promise Keepers at home.

Katsina United has moved into the top ten of the league after edging Abia Warriors.
An early goal from Joseph Atule in the fifth minute secured the three points for the hosts in a match that witnessed the return of fans to the Mohamed Dikko stadium.

Jigawa Golden Stars continued their quest to maintain league status as they came from behind to beat Wikki Tourists 2-1 and Promise Damala gave Wikki Tourists the lead in the second minute but Ibrahim Saleh equalized for Jigawa just after the break. Abdulahi Lala completed the come-back for Jigawa, a team that is pushing hard to avoid relegation.

MFM fc and Heartland shared the spoils at the Agege Stadium in Lagos as Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu returned to the ground where he established his reputation as a football coach.

NPFL Matchday 21 Results

Lobi Stars 0-0 Plateau United

Rivers United 2-1 Kano Pillars

Nasarawa Utd 2-0 Enyimba

Akwa Utd 1-1 Wolves

Katsina Utd 1-0 Abia Warriors

Jigawa GS 2-1 Wikki

MFM 0-0 Heartland

Adamawa Utd 2-1 FC Ifeanyiubah

Sunshine Stars 0-0 Rangers

NPFL Matchday Five Produces Three Away Victories, 15 Goals

Photos: LMC Media

 

Plateau United, Rivers United and newly promoted Dakkada FC have recorded vital away victories in Matchday 5 of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League.

Still relishing in their first league win, after beating Ifeanyi Ubah FC 1-0 on matchday 4 in Uyo, Dakkada FC travelled to Enugu to create a major upset.

Rangers have been struggling this season. With just one win (1-0 over Sunshine Stars on matchday one) from four matches and occupying an embarrassing position on the league table, the Flying Antelopes had nothing but victory on their minds when they filed out to take on Dakkada FC in Enugu.

When the action began, the troubles of Rangers was exposed to the people of Enugu. Eighteen minutes into the match, Femi Ajayi opened the scoring for the visitors. No one saw it coming but there was more come.

Just before the break, Isaac George doubled the lead for the visitors and the problems of Rangers and their fans at the stadium. The 2015/2016 league champions couldn’t do much to change the outcome of the match. It ended Rangers 0 Dakkada FC 2. Shocking!

League leaders, Plateau United continued their fine form to the season with a 1-3 victory over Delta Force in Asaba.

As early as six minutes into the match, Coach Abdul Maikaba’s team were already creating chances. Ibrahim Mustapha missed a clear chance to put the team ahead. He had just the goalkeeper to beat but couldn’t take the chance.

In the 36th minute, Plateau United paid for the missed chances when Delta Force was awarded a penalty. Kazie Eyinnaya stepped up to the spot and scored to give the home team the lead. That was the wake-up call for Plateau United and moments later, they levelled up after Uche Onwuasoanya benefited from a goalkeeping error.

In the second half, Plateau United turned up the heat. Michael Ibeh’s goal in the 72nd minute gave them the lead while Ibrahim Mustapha’s goal in extra time sealed the victory for the visitors at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.

The victory ensured Plateau United maintained their position at the top of the league table and still unbeaten. Their next match is against struggling Kano Pillars at the New Jos Stadium in Jos.

Rivers United Players

 

Rivers United added to the woes of Delta State teams with a 0-1 victory over Warri Wolves at the Warri Stadium. Coming from a decent performance against MFM FC in Lagos, where they shared points in 1-1 draw, they failed to replicate same against a determined Rivers United team.

37 minutes into the match, Cletus Emotan sent in a cross from a free-kick and it found the head of an unmarked Stephen Gopey to give the Port Harcourt based team the lead. Warri Wolves pushed and fought to draw level but it didn’t happen for them. Rivers United will take maximum points back home and hope to consolidate in their next match against Abia Warriors.

Matchday five also ended well for Katsina United as they beat Sunshine Stars 2-0. The Changi Boys left it late till the 80th minute for Tasiu Lawal to score the opener. At the dying minutes of regulation time, Gambo Muhammad scored his first goal for the club to seal the victory for the home team.

Enyimba Football Club of Aba also returned to winning ways. Coming from a difficult defeat to Sunshine Stars on Matchday 4 in Akure, the People’s Elephant needed to win when they took on Adamawa United. They got the victory.

The victory was sealed in the first half. A brace from Victor Mbaoma in the 20th and 26th minutes of the match made the difference and were good enough to shoot Enyimba to third on the league table with 10 points.

 

Lobi Stars Players Arrive venue of the fixture against Ifeanyi Ubah FC

 

The other teams from the east also recorded victories, except FC Ifeanyi Ubah that played a goalless draw with Lobi Stars in Nnewi. Abia Warriors defeated MFM FC of Lagos 1-0. Assisted by Zinte Udeh, Oghenetega Ebetomane scored from close range to seal the victory for the home team.

Finally, Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu can breathe as Heartland recorded their first win of the season after beating Jigawa Golden Stars 1-0. Thanks to Ugochukwu Leonard whose goal made the difference. The Naze Millionaires now have 2 loses, 2 draws and 1 win from five matches. Up next for them is Wikki Tourists at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe.

 

Kano Pillar player fights for the ball with a player of Wikki Tourist

 

The struggles of Kano Pillars continued with a 0-0 result with Wikki Tourists. The former league champions are yet to record a win this season and have recorded just two points from four matches.

Another struggling team is Akwa United. The Promise Keepers have recorded 4 draws and a loss from five matches. 3 of those draws have been at home. They have achieved just 2 points from a possible nine. Today, in Uyo, they played 1-1 with Nasarawa United. Ndifreke Effiong gave Coach John Obuh’s team the lead from the spot but they lost it when Godfrey West scored for the visitors.

The Nigeria Professional Football League has been criticized for a poor record of away victories but there’s been an improvement this season. With just five matchdays concluded, eight away victories have been recorded and that’s a clear message to followers of the league to brace up for a highly competitive season.

 

2019/2020 NPFL Matchday 5 Results

 
Rangers 0-2 Dakkada FC
 
Delta Force 1-3 Plateau United
 
Warri Wolves 0-1 Rivers United
 
Katsina United 2-0 Sunshine Stars
 
Enyimba 2-0 Adamawa United
 
Heartland 1-0 Jigawa Golden Stars
 
FC Ifeanyiubah 0-0 Lobi Stars
 
Abia Warriors 1-0 MFM
 
Kano Pillars 0-0 Wikki
 
Akwa United 1-1 Nasarawa Utd

Enugu Rangers Sack Head Coach, Imama Amakapabo

Enugu Rangers Sack Head Coach, Imama AmakapaboNigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions, Enugu Rangers have sacked their head coach, Imama Amapakabo.

Mr Amapakabo confirmed to Channels Television that his contract was terminated on Monday by his employers.

The coach signed a two-year contract with the Flying Antelopes last season, but only saw out just over a year of the deal.

His assistant, Chukwuma Agbo will take charge of the team in an interim capacity until a new head coach is appointed.

The sacking has left Amapakabo with ample time to concentrate on his duties as one of the assistant coaches for the Super Eagles.

Rivers United Beat ABS 2-0 In NPFL Clash

Rivers United Beat ABS 2-0 In NPFL ClashRivers United have beaten Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) FC 2-0 in a rescheduled game in Port Harcourt.

Christian Weli and Godbless Asamoah scored in each half of the match played on Thursday at the Yakubu Goon Stadium.

Following the success, United moved to 17th spot on the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) table.

On the other hand, ABS have remained in 13th place with 22 points from 17 matches.

Atletico Beat NPFL Team To Win Gauteng Tournament

atletico-beat-npfl-team-to-win-gauteng-tournamentAtletico Madrid Youth Team on Saturday beat the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) U-17 All-Stars 2-1 to emerge winners of the 2017 edition of Gauteng Future Champions tournament.

Alberto Salido opened scoring for the Spanish side in the 22nd minute.

Moments into the second half, Nazifi Yahaya equalised for the Nigerian team from the penalty spot.

Adrian Luque produced a fine header to restore Atletico’s lead in the 60th minute, which was good enough to secure the victory for his team.

The Nigerian team, led by former Super Eagles coach, Austin Eguavoen, did not lose any game before the final.

The young lads, however, failed to convert most of their scoring chances and lost the trophy to a more determined and disciplined Spanish team.

The Gauteng Future Champions tournament is a project of inspiration and development that has been staged in countries across the globe to utilise the power and popularity of football as a catalyst for growth.

Enyimba Draw MFM In NPFL Clash

Enyimba Draw MFM In NPFL ClashSeven-time champions, Enyimba grabbed a late goal to hold MFM to a 1-1 draw in a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clash.

The match took place on Saturday at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar, the Cross River State capital in south-south Nigeria.

Visiting MFM seemed to be heading for a surprise win when they took the lead on 23 minutes through Stephen Odey with his eighth goal of the season.

Ibrahim Mustapha, however, made sure Enyimba avoided a second straight defeat as he levelled the score in the 85th minute.

With the result, Enyimba are 11th on the table with 15 points while MFM remained on fifth position with 20 points.

Kano Pillars Beat Enyimba 3-1 In NPFL Clash

Kano Pillars Beat Enyimba 3-1 In NPFL ClashKano Pillars on Sunday evening recorded the biggest feat in match day 12 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) with a 3-1 win against Enyimba International.

Kabiru Balogun netted a brace to set the former NPFL champions ahead of their Aba visitors.

However, the lead was reduced to one when Stephen Chukwude slotted in from the penalty spot.

Gambo Mohammed later restored the two-goal lead in an added time to hand Pillars their fifth win of the season.

The hosts are seventh on the NPFL table with 17 points while Enyimba are 13th with 14 points.

Sikiru Olatunbosun Bags ‘CNN Goal of the Week’ Prize

Sikiru Olatunbosun Bags CNN Football Goal of the WeekMFM FC Striker, Sikiru Olatunbosun, has won the CNN Football Goal of the Week award.

Olatunbosun defeated Radja Nainggolan of Roma, Youri Tielemans of Anderlecht and Joey Jones of Woking FC to clinch the honour.

The Nigerian was the overwhelming winner with 82% of the total votes.

This is the first time that a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) player will be nominated for, and win the weekly CNN football prize.

Olatunbosun was nominated for his long-range screamer against Rangers on January 24 at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.

Sunshine Stars Defeat Rivers United In NPFL Clash

Sunshine Stars Defeat Rivers United In NPFL ClashTroubled Sunshine Stars put aside their financial crisis to beat high-flying Rivers United 1-0 on Sunday.

The Ondo-based club clinched the victory in a match day 10 tie of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) played at the Akure Township Stadium.

Former Enyimba Midfielder, Ayo Saka, pulled a belter from 14 yards to hand the Owena Waves their win of the season.

The result moved Sunshine Stars six places to the 11th position with 12 points on the table.

NPFL Match Day 10 Results

Meanwhile, Prince Aggreh scored from the penalty spot as FC Ifeanyi Ubah defeated league leaders, Plateau United 1-0 in Nnewi, Anambra State.

Chinedu Udoji’s first-half header also earned Kano Pillars a lone victory over neighbours, Katsina United.

In a similar development, Lobi Stars came from behind to beat seven-time champions, Enyimba with goals from Anthony Okpotu and former Enyimba Midfielder, David Tyavkase.

Niger Tornadoes maintained a perfect home record after a 1-0 win over struggling Gombe United in Lokoja.

El-Kanemi warriors also stunned Nasarawa United 2-0  with two second half goals while ABS FC edged past Wikki Tourists 1-0.

Coach Maikaba Appeals to Akwa United Fans To Be Patient

Akwa-UnitedWith just one point from a possible six in their opening two matches of the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season, coach of Akwa United Football Club Abdul Maikaba, has appealed to the management and fans of the club to be patient with the team, promising that better results will come in subsequent matches.

Coach Maikaba made the appeal after his team were forced to a 1-1 draw by last season’s league runners up, Rivers United of Port Harcourt on match day two at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State.

Akwa United lost their first match of the season against ABS in Ilorin and coach Maikaba in his first match at home since his appointment made five changes to the team that lost in Ilorin, dropping to the bench, goalkeeper Olufemi Kayode, left back Shittu Lawal, central defender Laidi Semiu, midfielders Moses Ebiye and Chigozie Chilekwu.

New signing Emmanuel Iwu made his debut in goal while Kodjo Dadzie, Ariwachukwu Emmanuel, Cyril Olisema and Ubong Friday all made their first start of the season.

Playing in front of their home fans, the promise keepers piled pressure on their opponents and it paid off 9th minutes into the game when Babangida Hassan and Christian Pyagbara combined neatly to set up Cyril Olisema who scored from close range to the delight of the home fans.

But the visitors got their equaliser following a counter attack, as Bernard Ovoke levelled up the scores in the 24th minutes of play.

All efforts by the 2015 Federation Cup champions to score the winning goal was unsuccessful as the two teams shared the spoils at the end of the encounter.

Coach Maikaba admitted that a draw at home was a poor result but maintained that he had quality players that would soon produce positive results.

“We are very disappointed that we dropped two points at home. We lost our first match away in week one and we were hoping to win our first home match against Rivers United but that didn’t happen. I am happy that our play is gradually improving. We created lots of goal scoring chances but we couldn’t score. We have to work on that.

“We appreciate the management and fans of this club for the love and support they have given us, but we want them to be patient with us and we will give them the result they need,” he promised.

The former Wikki Tourists of Bauchi tactician continued: “I am very happy that we have a very good squad with quality and experience players. The beginning of the season may appear to be difficult with us, but I can assure everyone that we will soon make us proud with positive results.

“This league is a marathon, we still have 36 more matches to play. So, I am confident that the points we have dropped at home we shall pick even more on the road”.

Akwa United’s next match is a trip to Bauchi to engage Wikki Tourist on match day three which is scheduled for Sunday 22, January 2017.

Pre-Season: Roda’s Late Strike Denies Rivers United Victory

Pre-Season: Roda's Late Strike Denies Rivers United VictoryRichi struck an opportunistic goal, deep into second half added time to achieve a share of the spoils for Spanish club, CD Roda in a cracking pre-season friendly match against Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) club, Rivers United.

The tight contest which finished 3-3 at the Estadio Ciudad Deportivo Pamesa was the second in Rivers United’s fifth and final phase of the pre-season campaign in Spain.

Emeka Ogbugh gave the Port Harcourt based team a deserved lead inside the opening 10 minutes but the hosts battled back and equalized moments later after Festus Austine, under pressure, bundled the ball past Abiodun Akande in goal for United.

The Spaniards began the second half on the front foot and got due reward when Charly Garcia smashed home to put them 2-1 up, six minutes after the break.

Stung into action, the Pride of Rivers reacted gamely and turned the game on its head following excellent goals from Godbless Asamoah and Nzebe Anaezemba.

With Coach Stanley Eguma’s team seemingly cruising to a second successive win in Spain, Richi popped up late to plunder a barely-deserved equalizer for the home side.

Scorer of United’s second goal, Asamoah spoke about his goal-scoring contribution which temporarily left the scores at 2-2.

“We started well by getting an early goal which set the tone for our third goal.

“I was happy to score because as a striker, I always want to score as it helps with confidence.

“For me and the team, it was never about the result but about the performance and the lessons to be learnt”.

Another United striker, Elvis Wike, also refused to be crestfallen and outlined the positives of the game and the club’s tour to Spain.

“The game against Villarreal was a lot slower in terms of the pace and intensity as opposed to the game against CD Roda which was also very physical.

“But we gave as good as we got and almost won in the end.

“We have learned a lot so far in Spain and we know the lessons will serve us well in the coming days,” Wike explained.

Rivers United beat Villarreal B team 1-0 in their first pre-season game in Spain last week.

 

Eight Firms Seek Sponsorship Of Nigeria Premiership League

alloy-chukwuemeka
Alloy Chukwuemeka

The Executive Secretary of  the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Club Owners, Mr Alloy Chukwuemeka, says about eight corporate bodies are currently jostling to sponsor the Nigeria Premiership League for the next season.

Mr Chukwuemeka hinted reporters of the development on Wednesday during an interactive session with journalists in Osogbo, at the monthly Sport Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) stakeholders forum tagged “SWAN Platform”.

He said the NPFL Club Owners had received a proposal from the League Management Company (LMC) that the league would begin by first week of December tentatively.

Now Attractive

The NPFL Club Owners Executive Secretary further explained that the proposal would be considered at the Annual General Meeting of the Club Owners.

The General Manager, Abubakar Bukola Saraki Football Club, Ilorin commended the LMC for turning the league around, saying “it is now attractive with many firms lobbying to be part of it.

“The LMC has turned around the league in Nigeria. The league is now attractive, and there are eight firms lobbying to be part of LMC. The LMC has set a standard and that is why lots of firms want to be part of the Nigeria Professional Football League”.

The football administrator while responding to questions on moving football and sports generally forward in the state, insisted that a return to school sports was the only way to identify exceptional talents.

He revealed that the Kwara Football Academy gave ABS FC 10 of its best players every season through a partnership between the two clubs.

The ABS FC Director of Football also recommended community ownership of football clubs, as practiced in other climes based on what he learnt from the LMC organised LaLiga Tour in Spain earlier in the year.

He said: “Immediately I came back from Spain, I went to my village (Ehime Mbano) and I met with my Local Government Chairman and we formed Mbano United. I bought jerseys and balls for the team, because in Spain their clubs are built on their culture. Football community ownership is very important.”

“I will recommend that for us to develop the sporting sector, it is imperative that we re-introduce sports in our schools. This way, new talents can be encouraged and assisted to get to higher heights in this profession”

On the controversy trailing the final Nigeria National League (NNL) match between ABS FC and Gateway FC, Mr Chukwuemeka countered claims that there were few security men at the stadium, maintaining that there were about 78 policemen at the stadium that day.

He condemned the action of the Ogun State Commissioner of Sports who he said ordered Gateway FC players not to play the match, stressing that it contravened the rules guiding the game and operations of the NNL.

Mr Chukwuemeka also expressed the belief that the Nigeria Football Federation would put in everything to ensure that the Super Eagles qualify for the World Cup.

He said not qualifying for Nations Cup back-to-back was still painful and applauded the efforts and impact of Super Eagles coach, Genart Rohr.

Mr Chukwuemeka, who is also a National Officer of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, thereafter commended Osun SWAN for the Monthly Stakeholders Forum and promised to take the programme to other states across the federation.