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Nigerian Football

There’s No Stopping Plateau United, Swears Golbe

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BY ANDREW RANDA.

 

When it rains, it pours says the adage and this can be used to describe Plateau United’s captain Elisha Golbe.

Much unheralded in his career and under the radar for a better part of it, he is on the cusp of being a Nigerian league champion-in fact, if Plateau can get a point against Rangers International on Sunday, Golbe will lift the trophy as captain.

It will be a season of blessings for the bulky defender who can also play in midfield. He’s gone double Dutch after being handed his first ever national call-up at any level by Salisu Yusuf’s CHAN team and now, it is just days away from having a title ring.

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Golbe is soft spoken and calm a demeanour that betrays his bulky frame. However, on the field of play, he turns into a warrior who is ready to defend the colours of the ‘Sai United’.

An integral part of the team from the start of the season, he has led his troops to the brink of lifting the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title in only their second season back to the top flight.

Not only a leader in the team, he has also contributed his fair share of goals-four of them-via set pieces to aid Plateau United’s quest for a first ever league title in the club’s history.

Npfl.ng caught up with Golbe in Jos as he prepared for the big finale on Saturday against Rangers, a game, he said, will be like a cup final to him and his team-mates.

“We are battle ready, we are looking forward to lifting the league title and by God’s grace we shall do so on Saturday,” he told npfl.ng.

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“The game against Rangers is like a cup final for us and we are taking it very seriously. We have not come this far to miss out on the trophy.

“Everybody is in high spirits for the match on Saturday because it is a very important match for us. I think everybody is prepared for the match.

“Come Sunday by the special grace of God, we are going to give our best and make sure that we get the three points and get crowned the champions of the 2016/17 NPFL season,”.

He also revealed that winning the title will be fulfilling a dream he has had since he became a professional footballer.

“Winning the title this season is going to be a great achievement to all of us because it is the pride of every player to win it because when you are playing professional football, you always dream that one day you will become a champion.

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“Thank God, it is a dream coming true. It will mean a lot to us to win the Premier League this season.”Golbe added.

League leaders Plateau United will host Rangers International of Enugu in a Match Day 38 game of the Nigeria Professional Football League.

The Jos side will be crowned champions if they avoid defeat irrespective of the outcome of the game in Maiduguri between El-Kanemi Warriors and MFM of Lagos.

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.

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Nigerian Football

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

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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.

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“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.”

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Nigerian Football

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

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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.  

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

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Nigerian Football

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

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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.

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