Connect with us

Nigerian Football

As Akwa Utd End First Round in 5th Place

Published

on

BY MFON PATRICK

The race for the top three spots in the Nigerian league hot up as the season enters the half time. Akwa United’s Wednesday clash with MFM turned an encounter of contenders for top spots.

Table topper, MFM slid to the second position while the victorious

Akwa United leapt into the fifth position on the log. Great thanks to two first half goals by Alhassan Ibrahim and Ubong Friday was all the miracle Akwa United Football Club needed to crumble Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries FC.

It was also a contest of top scorers as Akwa United’s Alhassan Ibrahim brought his haul to 10, two behind that of Stephen Odey of MFM.

Advertisement

Alhassan Ibrahim opened scoring when he tapped in Kodjovi Dadzie’s left footed cross in the 17th minute to give the home side an early lead.

The Promise Keepers doubled their lead in the 31st minute through Ubong Friday in what was his fourth goal of the season.

Initial attempt by Christian Pyagbara caused commotion in MFM’s box but the visitor managed to scramble the ball out of play for a corner kick.

Amaechi Orji delivered an inviting ball into the vital area. An attempt by MFM’s goalkeeper Nasamu Emmanuel to parry the ball away resulted in him colliding with two of his defenders while the ball rolled into the path of Aremu Afeez and the midfielder set up Ubong Friday who blast the ball into the back of the net to give the home side a 2-0 lead.

Earlier in the game, Ifeanyi and Friday had had free kicks in promising positions.

Advertisement

While Ifeanyi’s free kick narrowly missed the target- sailing over the bar and kissing the roof of the net,

Friday’s 30 yards effort crashed off the crossbar in what were early signs of the home team’s intentions.

Ariwachukwu Emmanuel coordinated a stingy defense line alongside Paterne Counou, Kodjovi Dadzie and Ofem Inah which constantly kept MFM’s front men in check.

 

MFM’s golden boys, Sikiru Olatunbosun and Stephen Odey both had rare chances of reducing the goal deficit but their efforts lacked the necessary venom to trouble Emmanuel Iwu in goal as Coach Abdu Maikaba boys went into the half time break with a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Advertisement

On resumption of the second half, the two teams attacked with renewed vigour, playing excellently in the midfield but were let down with the final ball not hitting the target.

Playing against his former club, Ifeanyi controlled the midfield with help from Aremu and Alhassan.

The trio dominated and detected the rhythm of the game in the midfield while constantly supplying Christian Pyagbara with some well tailored passes.

Pyagbara bulldozed MFM’s defense more than three times but could not add to the score line.

MFM, who struggled throughout the duration of the game to establish their plan, did not really threatened as they were outplayed in the midfield.

Advertisement

Despite both teams making three changes apiece, the score line remained unchanged from what it was at the end of the first half as Akwa United strolled to their eighth win of the season and their third victory in a row.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

Published

on

Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

Advertisement

“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

Continue Reading

Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s sports minister, Enoh applauds NFF for ‘buying local material’

Published

on

Sports Minister Enoh (left) and NFF President Gusau (right) unveil Finidi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.”

President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants. However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.  

Advertisement

“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

Continue Reading

Nigerian Football

No more bench-warmers in the Super Eagles, says Finidi George

Published

on

New man on the managerial saddle of the Super Eagles, Finidi George has stated that  he will invite for international assignments, only players who feature regularly at their clubs either in Nigeria or in the diaspora, and promised that the Super Eagles will remain even more competitive in the years ahead.

Continue Reading

Most Viewed