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

2019/2020 NPFL Season To Kick-Off November 3

 

The League Management Company (LMC) has announced November 3, 2019 as the kick-off date for the 2019/20 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

This followed a consultative meeting between the LMC and leaders of the 20 participating clubs in Abuja on Monday, October 14.

At the meeting, the Chairman of the LMC, Shehu Dikko presented a comprehensive brief to the clubs’ officials on the current situations in the league, especially, the commercial activities and more robust business plans that are being pursued to resolve the recent challenges faced by the league.

The LMC had proposed two start date options of October 20 or October 27, 2019 to the clubs. However, after deliberations, the November 3 date was agreed.

Part of the resolution at the meeting was an expression of appreciation to the Honourable Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare for his bold support to the NPFL and commitment to the resolution of the challenges facing the league.

The Clubs’ administrators also expressed solidarity with the LMC and stated their preparedness to contribute towards successful delivery of the business plan presented by the LMC.

The clubs in applauding the LMC leadership and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), noted the positive effort and actual work that are being put in place to strengthen organised football in Nigeria amidst avoidable challenges and distractions.

The meeting also witnessed the drawing of fixtures for the 2019/2020 that also has May 31, 2020 as the last match day.

NPFL 19: Kada City, Go Round Record Vital Away Victories

NPFL 19: Kada City, Go Round Record Vital Away Victories
Photo: [email protected]

 

Match day 10 of the Nigeria Professional Football League produced 22 goals on Wednesday with newly promoted Kada City and Go Round FC recording away victories.

Both teams ensured Group B got the major talking points with their stunning results.

At the Pantami Stadium in Gombe, Go Round defended the only goal scored by Henry Ochuba in the 7th minute to secure their second away win of the season.

Plateau United returned home to receive a shocker from Kada City.

The match stayed goalless until the 81st minute when Sadi Suleiman scored for the visitors.

The victory keeps hope alive for the Kaduna based team in their quest to remain in top flight football.

However, defeat for Plateau United has brought more worries for coach Abdul Maikaba and his team.

Still in Group B, Akwa United continued their fine form and stretched their unbeaten run to five matches.

Mfon Udoh scored his sixth goal of the season to give the Promise Keepers an important 1-0 win over Ifeanyi Ubah FC and also moved to third on the table.

In the other group matches, El-Kanemi Warriors maintained their home dominance with a 2-0 win over Heartland FC of Owerri.

Gambo Mohammed and Rabiu Ali goals gave Kano Pillers a 2-0 victory over Abia Warriors while Nasarawa United beat Yobe Desert Stars 1-0 in Lafia.

In Lagos, MFM FC maintained their lead on the group A table with a 2-0 win over Sunshine Stars.

The South West derby produced a beautiful football to the delight of spectators and in the 42nd minute, the in-form Adeniji Kabir scored the opener to send the home fans into singing and dancing.

Michael Ohanu’s goal in the 70th minute secured victory for the Olukoya boys.

In Aba, Enyimba defeated Katsina United 2-0. Katsina United ended the match with nine men, following the dismissal of Chinedu Ajanah and Dominic Abbah.

The People’s Elephant are second on the Group A table with 14 points.

In Enugu, Rangers claimed their third win in four matches after edging Wikki Tourists 2-1.

Due to continental engagements, the Flying Antelopes have five outstanding matches and with nine points already achieved and if they sustain the momentum, they can put up a good challenge in group A.

In Benin, Michael Ugwu gave Bendel Insurance the lead in the 13th minute but Rivers United’s Ossy Martins goal in the 49th minute levelled the score and ensured the points were shared.

Kwara United returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Niger Tornadoes, while Lobi Stars secured a vital 2-1 win against Remo Stars.

The league will go on a short break for the general elections to be conducted and will return on Wednesday next week, 27 February.

Aigbogun Expects New Players To Join Enyimba

Enyimba coach Paul Aigbogun says more players will join his team ahead of the new season in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Aigbogun said the club intends to recruit players who will improve the team and not just add to the numbers.

He said the bulk of his squad will be from the players that played for the Aba Elephants last season.

The UEFA pro licensed coach believes Enyimba will do well in this season’s CAF Confederation club.

Sunshine Stars Extend Udi’s Contract

File Photo: Sunshine Stars head coach Duke Udi

Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side, Sunshine Stars of Akure have extended the contract of their head coach Duke Udi for one year.

The former Nigeria international joined the Owena Waves from Nigeria national league club Osun United last season.

The club said new improved deal with Udi contained a renewal clause for another year at the end of the deal in 2018.

Sunshine Stars finished in 10th position in the NPFL last season.

Udi Set To Dump Sunshine Stars Coaching Job

Coach Duke Udi is set to dump the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side Sunshine Stars due to a harsh and inclement condition.

The former Osun United coach helped Sunshine Stars to avoid relegation in the past season in the top-flight.

Reports say Udi is no longer comfortable with the situation at the club, especially as it concerns the team’s pre-season build-up for the upcoming league season.

Yobe Desert Stars Promoted To NPFL

Yobe Desert Stars have gained promotion to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) after a 2-0 victory over Adamawa United.

Two goals in each half ensured the Damaturu-based outfit returned to the top flight after a 15-year absence.

Yobe Desert Stars will join northern conference winners Kwara United in the elite division next season.

Shooting Stars Relegated From NPFL

File Photo

Shooting Stars of Ibadan have been relegated from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on Saturday after Wikki Tourists defeated Gombe United 2-0 in the abandoned week 38 fixture.

Shooting Stars were hoping the result from that game will keep them in the top flight.

The Oluyole Warriors now complete the relegated quartet of teams from the NPFL which includes Remo Stars, Gombe United and ABS FC.

The Gombe United vs Wikki game was abandoned initially due to crowd trouble.

The League Management Company (LMC) then sanctioned Gombe United for the breach of league rules that included a two-season ban on their Pantami Stadium and N7 million and ordered that the abandoned game resume from the point of discontinuation with the same scoreline at a neutral venue, the El-Kanemi Sports Complex, Maiduguri.

Plateau United Emerge NPFL Champions

Photo: @NPFLOfficial/Twitter

Plateau United made history on Saturday with a first Nigerian title after edging out last season’s champions Enugu Rangers 2-0 at a packed Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos.

Plateau United finished top of the 20-team table with 66 points from 38 matches.

They will represent Nigeria in next year’s CAF Champions League along with runners-up MFM FC, who lost 2-1 at El Kanemi Warriors to finish four points adrift.

It is the second league championship the northeastern city of Jos, famous for its tin mines, after Mighty Jets won the title in 1972.

Towering young striker Chukwuemeka Umeh showed cool composure inside the six-yard box when he slotted beyond goalkeeper Itodo Akor for the opening goal on 26 minutes.

But the home team then had to wait until a minute from full-time before substitute Benjamin Turba doubled the lead, when he fired home a loose ball.

Two-time African champions Enyimba will represent Nigeria in next year’s CAF Confederation Cup after they finished third, one point ahead of Akwa United.

Enyimba beat Katsina United 1-0, while Akwa United saw off Kano Pillars 3-0.

AFP

 

LMC Confirms Arrest Of Three Suspects In Referee Assault

The League Management Company (LMC) has confirmed the arrest of three suspects in connection with the assault of match officials in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) game between Wikki Tourists and Rangers in Bauchi.

The suspects have been charged to court for attacking match officials during the match on Sunday.

Those arrested by the Nigerian Police Force are 35-year-old Mohammed Isa, 30-year-old Hamisu Mohammed, and 24-year-old Yola Ishaya.

LMC says the management of Wikki Tourists is cooperating with the police.

Rabiu Ali Wins Match-day 26 VAT Wonder Goal Award

Photo: NPFL

Kano Pillars midfielder, Rabiu Ali, has clinched the match-day 26 VAT Wonder Goal in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Ali’s goal in Kano Pillars 1-1 draw against ABS FC in Ilorin was adjudged the best for the Match-day 26.

He beats off competition from Tchato Giscard of MFM and Abia Warriors’ striker, Yakub Hammed.

Newman, Nwagua Vie For NPFL League Bloggers Awards

Akwa United striker, Musa Newman and Kano Pillars striker, Nyima Nwagua,  have been listed to compete for the League Bloggers Awards (LBA) for the month of June.

The two strikers are in line for the Player’s Award for the month of June alongside Anthony Okpotu of Lobi Stars and Adesina Gata of ABS FC.

Newman scored three goals against Wikki Tourists, Katsina United and Remo Stars, and also provided an assist in the 2-2 draw at Remo Stars.

Nwagua also netted thrice – a brace against Lobi Stars and the fastest goal so far this season in a 3-1 win over Sunshine Stars.

Meanwhile, Kano Pillars Ibrahim Musa, Enyimba’s Gbenga Ogunbote, Bala Nikyu of Wikki Tourists and Chukwuma Agbo of Rangers are in contention for the Manager of the Month Awards.

The winners for the June Awards in the Player and Manager’s categories will be announced next week.

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