NPFL 21: Enyimba Extend Sunshine Stars’ Winless Run

A file photo of Eyimba FC players on a football pitch.

 

Enyimba Football Club of Aba made a winning return to the Nigeria Professional Football League with a 1-0 victory over Sunshine Stars of Akure on Monday at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.

The matchday 17 fixture was played in Lagos following an order by the League Management Company that Sunshine Stars will play their next two matches out of Akure for breaching security rules and misconduct on matchday 15 against Nasarawa United.

With four more outstanding matches to play, Enyimba look good to compete for the league after Monday’s win shot them to fifth on the log with 27 points – just three points separate them and league leaders, Kwara United.

Samson Obi’s second-half goal made the difference.

The defeat for Sunshine Stars means the Akure Gunners have played 10 matches without a win.

The last time coach Gbenga Ogunbote’s team won a league match was a 3-1 victory against Rangers on matchday 7 in Akure, Ondo State.

In Enugu, Rangers maintained their relevance at the top of the table with a 2-0 win over Nasarawa United.

The Flying Antelopes occupy the second position but are tied on 30 points with Kwara United.

Two quickfire goals in the first half did the job for coach Salisu Yusuf’s team as Godspower Aniefiok’s header gave the home team the lead just two minutes into the match before Chinonso Eziekwe maintained his fine form with another goal six minutes later.

In Uyo, Dakkada FC edged Plateau United 1-0 after Isaac George’s goal in the 28th minute secured maximum points for– their eighth win of the season and shot the Chosen Ones to eighth on the log.

With Monday’s results, matchday 17 has produced 26 goals, the highest so far this season.

Kwara United’s five-star performance against Adamawa United was a major contributor and The Harmony Boys spanked their opponent 5-0 with Stephen Jude scoring the first hat-trick of the season.

NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Matchday 17 Results

Monday

Sunshine Stars 0 Enyimba 1

Rangers 2 Nasarawa United 0

Dakkada FC 1 Plateau United 0

Sunday

Kwara United 5 Adamawa United 0

Lobi Stars 4 Rivers United 1

Abia Warriors 3 Katsina United 1

Wikki Tourists 1 Kano Pillars 2

MFM FC 1 Akwa United 2

Heartland FC 1 Warri Wolves 1

NPFL 21: Kwara United Retain Top Spot, Sunshine Stars Still Struggling

Players during an action. Credit: NPFL

 

Jibola Adeleke scored a crucial goal in the 82nd minute that ensured Kwara United left Bauchi with a point as the match against Wikki Tourists ended 1-1 on matchday 14 of the Nigeria Professional Football League.

The result also confirmed the top spot for the Harmony Boy who have gathered 26 points.

The Tourists opened the scoring in the first half after Chinedu Udeagha scored from the spot. Coach Musa Abdallah’s team have recorded just four wins so far and were hoping to make it five but Adeleke’s late goal shattered their hopes. They’ve only managed to gather 17 points in 14 matches.

In Port Harcourt, Rivers United beat Jigawa Golden Stars 2-0 to get their season back on track. The Pride of Rivers got the party started in the 17th minute when Godwin Aguda tapped the ball into an empty net for the lead. The goalkeeper failed to deal with a cross sent in by Konan Ruffin and Aguda completed the story.

About 4 minutes into the second half, Cletus Emotan doubled the lead for the hosts and it ended with the scoreline to give Coach Stanley Eguma’s team their 7th win of the campaign and 7th position on the log.

In Jos, Plateau United had to dig deep to beat the MFM football club of Lagos 3-1. At half-time the score was goalless but in the second half, the hosts doubled their efforts and it paid off.

Mohammed Zulkifilu scored a brace, one in the 56th minute and the other in the 76th. Nojeem Adeyinka pulled one back for the visitors in the 81st minute but Isah Ndala destroyed their hopes for a comeback when he scored in the closing minutes of the match.

This is the fifth win of the season for coach Abdul Maikaba’s team and they will be hoping to stabilise after suffering a shaky start to their campaign.

In Lafia, Nasarawa United earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Lobi Stars of Makurdi. Ikenna Ofor’s goal made the difference for the Solid Miners who are now 5th on the table with 23 points.

In Owerri, Heartland FC produced a comeback to play a 2-2 draw against Abia Warriors. The Warriors, in red hot form, took an early lead through Godwin Obaje’s header. Goalkeeper Chijioke Ejiogu fumbled when trying to deal with it.

Ten minutes later, Obaje got his brace. He dribbled past Pascal Eze and Jimoh Gbadamosi before finishing calmly to give the Warriors a 2-goal lead. Just before the break, Pascal Eze pulled one back to initiate a comeback for the hosts.

In the second half, Samuel Nnoshiri shot the hosts back into the contest from the spot in the 64th minute.

Adamawa United are unbeaten in three games now and today, they confirmed their fine form with a 2-0 win over Dakkada FC of Uyo. Idris Abubakar and Surajo Hassan scored the goals to give Adamawa United their second win of the season.

At the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, Kano Pillars and Rangers played 1-1 while Katsina United and Sunshine Stars also shared the spoils in a goalless draw. The result means Sunshine Stars are yet to record a win since their 3-1 victory over Rangers on matchday 7 in Akure.

On Monday, action will return in the Nigeria Professional Football League with Warri Wolves taking on Akwa United.

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.

ODSFA Aims Continental Ticket For Sunshine Stars

Sunshine Stars Protest Over Unpaid Wages

Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA) has promised to ensure Sunshine Stars secure a continental ticket in the new Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.

The new ODSFA Chairman, Tajudeen Akinyemi, made the pledge on Saturday during an interactive session with members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigerian (SWAN), Ondo Chapter, in Akure, the state capital.

“What we want is a continental ticket. Most of our regular players that have been retained will be well motivated to deliver that for us,” he said.

“We have total faith and confidence in our technical crew led by Duke Udi, given what they were able to do last season.”

Mr Akinyemi was confident that the purported crowd unrest during game in Akure would be curbed with some unprecedented measures that would be put in place moving forward.

He said: “We want to advocate a law backing this cause in the State Assembly, but we understand it will take time. So for now, we are using the carrot and stick approach to handle the spectators.

“There will stakeholders’ meeting to enlighten and sensitise the fans and the stick approach is invoking the full wrath of the law on anyone found wanting.”

The new chairman, who is a long time FIFA licensed agent and sports magnate, however, decried the lack of home-grown talents in over a decade in the state.

“Since we discovered and nurtured great players like Geoffrey Oboabona, Sunday Abe, Dayo Ojo, Tunde Adeniji, Alaba Adeniyi, and others around 2003; it is a shame that no single talent has been developed in the state,” he said.

“We are surely going back to talent discovery project to sustain our footballing future; also, exporting some of our players abroad to increase our IGR is part of our long-time plans”.

Sunshine Stars To Play Remaining Matches In Ijebu Ode

Sunshine Stars To Play Remaining Matches In Ijebu OdeRelegation-threatened Sunshine Stars will play their remaining Nigeria Professional Football League matches at the Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.

This follows a breach of a previous order that the Akure-based outfit should play three of their previous home games at the Akure Township Stadium behind closed doors.

They were also fined one million naira for failing to control their players in the Matchday 23 game against Plateau United last Wednesday.

Sunshine Stars goalkeeper David Ariyo has also been suspended for 12 games for alleged assault on match officials.

Eguavoen Quits Sunshine Stars Coaching Job

Austin Eguavoen has become the latest coach to quit his position at a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) club after dumping struggling Sunshine Stars of Akure.

Eguavoen has been angered with what he termed biased officiating tilting against his team in recent matches and does not feel he can continue in his role.

Under the former Super Eagles boss, Sunshine Stars fumbled to home defeats against Lobi Stars and Plateau United.

Assistant coach, Akin Olowookere will take charge of the club against Kano Pillars on Sunday pending the appointment of a substantive head coach

Sunshine Stars Get New Technical Committee Members

Sunshine Stars Get New Technical Committee MembersThe Interim Management Committee of the Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA) has inaugurated new technical committee members for Sunshine Stars FC.

The committee said the move was part of efforts to ensure that the Akure-based club records a decent outing at the end of the ongoing soccer season in Nigeria.

Speaking at the event, Chairman of the committee, Mr Gbenga Elegbeleye, explained that members of the technical committee were carefully selected based on their proven track records.

“We thank God for the journey so far and we appreciate the support we have received from the football family and the entire soccer loving people of the state.

“Members of the technical committee are people with great knowledge of the game and we hope they will use their wealth of experience to take our darling team, Sunshine Stars to the next level,” he said.

ODSFA Technical Director, Mr Sunday Erelesusi, also charged members of the technical committee to put all hands on deck.

On his part, Vice Chairman of the technical committee, Mr Steve Alabi, promised that they would work closely with the team’s technical crew led by Austin Eguavoen, to achieve the desired results.

“We know what is at stake and we are ready to face the challenges; a great call to serve and by the grace of God and the support of all football stakeholders, we shall reach the promise land,” he said.

The technical committee has Prince Tunde Ogunja as Chairman and Mr Oyewole Ajidagba as Secretary, while other members are Mr Dele Ogungbemi, Mr Fidelis Fabidun, Mr Yomi Ifabumuyi, and Mr Ayodele Clement.

Eguavoen, Shorunmu To Manage Sunshine Stars

Austin Eguavoen

The Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA) has unveiled a new set of technical crew for Sunshine Stars Football Club.

The ODSFA appointed former Super Eagles coach, Austin Eguavoen as Head Coach and erstwhile Nigerian international, Ike Shorunmu as Goalkeeper Trainer.

They have been employed with the task to help Sunshine Stars escape relegation from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Performing the unveiling, the Chairman of the Interim Management Committee of the ODSFA, Mr Gbenga Elegbeleye, urged the new coaches to be alive to their new responsibilities in a bid to revive the team.

He said with the position of the team on the league table, sentiments must be put aside in recruiting of players and ensure the club performs well in the FA Cup.

Ike Shorunmu

“Sunshine Stars as a football team is the darling team of everybody in Ondo State and their current position is not where we feel they should be if we check the league table now. Sunshine are either on 18th or 19th position and sincerely speaking, the Sunshine Stars that I know should be among the very first three teams.

“So, if we are in this current situation and if care is not taken, the team will go on relegation. For this team to move up, we don’t have to put sentiments in recruiting players.

“The agreement is that the coaches will not get more than what the former coaches were getting as salary, it’s a sacrifice. I want you to know that based on our personal relationship with them, we want them to come and support the team because we want to swim out of relegation waters as a team.

“By the grace of God, this team will not go on relegation. The assignment is to make sure Sunshine Stars do not go on relegation; and secondly, make sure they do well in the FA Cup,” the football administrator said.

Coach Eguavoen, who said the team is good, stressed the need to fortify the squad with more players for optimum performance in the NPFL.

He said that the leadership of the team would work hard, assuring Mr Elegbeleye that the club would have a cause to celebrate at the end of the season.

“We all have a job to do; the players, the supporters club, everybody is important. There will be rough times, there will be good times, but the ability to stick together matters. We have to be up and doing, Sunshine is not a bad team but the situation may make players lose confidence and concentration. It is only important that we bring in some more players to fortify the team.

“I’m with you all the way, the work has started from today. I urge everyone here and wherever to try as much as possible to give their prayers the support they need. We will work hard day and night because this situation we are in is not the best. At the end of the season, we will all gather to celebrate by the grace of God,” the new Head Coach promised.

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.

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.

Sunshine Stars Protest Over Unpaid Wages

Sunshine Stars Protest Over Unpaid WagesPlayers of the Sunshine Stars and staff of the Ondo State Football Agency, have protested over non-payment of salary arrears as well as sign-on fees.

According to the protesters, the government is owing them up to 13 months and 6 months salary arrears for the staff and players as well as sign on fees for the players.

Sunshine Stars are currently 15th on the Nigeria Professional League (NPL) table with just two victories from nine league games.