NPFL WRAP: Plateau United show championship credentials
The rains, the bumpy-turned-soggy pitch, the excluded CHAN players and MFM FC’s midfield schemer Chukwuka Onuwa, on the bench, made the ‘title decider’ a bit of an anti-climax. Ibeh Johnson’s goal as early as the third minute won the fixture for Plateau United against title rivals MFM FC. Perhaps the game would have had more of a sparkle had NPFL highest goal scorer, Stephen Odey, and his strike partner, Sikiru Olatunbosun, been available for the fixture. The duo alongside Plateau United’s goal-tender were away with the Super Eagles for the Africa Championship qualifier against the Benin Republic.
Kenedy Boboye’s boys held firm to see the victory through despite considerable attacking assault from MFM FC. The Jos-based side are now six points ahead of MFMFC in the second spot with just four games to go, still, celebrations are on hold as Plateau United still need to meander through fixtures against relegation-threatened sides hankering for points.
Remo Stars are no longer relegation threatened, the Fatai Osho-led side were confirmed for the drop after their 1-3 home loss to Rivers United. Remo Stars have gleaned lessons from their foray in the top tier and top on the list will be how not to play in the NPFL. The private-owned club are on a depressing run of 10 games without a victory.
Gombe United’s lone goal victory against Kano Pillars stopped their five-game-streak without a win but it was not enough to lift them off the 19th spot in the League. The Savannah Scorpions will need a mini-miracle to hold onto their NPFL status with the reality of relegation overwhelming. Next, they travel to Lagos to face title contenders, MFM FC.
Enyimba compounded ABS’ woes with their 3-0 drubbing and supreme showing. Ikechukwu Ibenegbu was at his creative best, scheming and carving out chances for Enyimba. The experienced midfielder had a hand in two of the three goals scored, showing his ability to deliver quality set-pieces. His free-kicks set up Stanley Dimgba and Eric Frimpong before Ibrahim Mustapha rounded off the scoring with a tap-in.
Akwa United proved their mettle without four of their top stars against Nasarawa United. Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Ariwachukwu Emmanuel, Afeez Aremu and Alhassan Ibrahim were excluded due to their national team involvements but it mattered little as the 3rd-placed side hit Nasarawa United for three. Cyril Olisema, Gabriel Okechukwu and substitute Edem Akakatang were among the goal-helpers for the Akwa Ibom side.
El Kanemi kept their continental push alive with their 2-0 victory over FC Ifeanyi Ubah, the Maiduguri side are two points behind Akwa United in a CAF Confederations cup spot. Chibuzor Okonkwo scored the opener from an indirect free kick against his former side before Bello Koformata placed his penalty beyond goalkeeper, Bamba Drissa’s reach fifteen minutes before the end of regulation time. Coach Ladan Bosso will now set his sights on their next fixture against Lobi Stars in Markurdi.
Enugu Rangers 1-0 Sunshine Stars
Katsina United 2 – 0 Wikki Tourist
Abia Warriors 2 – 0 Shooting Stars
Nasarawa United 1 – 0 Lobi Stars