Category: NPFL News

2018 Aiteo Cup: Maigoro and Mustapha stole the show as Pillars earn a deserved victory over Rivers

Kano Pillars took a sweet revenge off Rivers Utd in the ongoing 2018 Aiteo Cup Group stages opener decided at the Soccer Temple, Monday evening.

The Sai Masu Gida found themselves a goal down as early as 10 minutes of the encounter when the Rivers state based team were awarded with a spot kick after Pillars defender, Joel Djondang fouled Osita Chikere inside the box.

Bernard Ovoke steps in and took his shot expertly to beat Pillars goalkeeper, David Obiazor the wrong way for the opener.

The first half ended 1 nil in favour of Rivers Utd.

Six minutes after the restart, 2017/2018 Nigeria Professional Football League goal king, Junior Lokosa leveled the scores for the Pride of Kano after he received a good cross down the flank.

Pillars looked the most dangerous side going forward in the second half but failed to get the needed cutting edge until club’s technical adviser, Ibrahim Musa Jugunu made some changes and brought in Yusuf Bala Maigoro and Mustapha Salisu to add some needed attacking instincts.

Their introduction pays off the bill as the pair were devastating all evening causing series of troubles to the Rivers Utd defense with their electrifying skills that caused their opponent to gave away two penalty kicks in the space of 15 minutes.

Club legend and Captain, Rabiu Ali were at hand to convert the resulting penalty kicks on both occasions.

As the game is nothing but going Pillars’s way, Rivers Utd had another idea as they keep on pushing until when they got their second and final goal of the evening from a corner kick.

In the other group C game decided this evening, Kwara Utd Whitewashed Abia Warriors blue black by five goals to one.

With the results after the first group games, Kwara Utd are top of the group with 3 points just as Pillars but with goals difference while Rivers Utd and Abia Warriors are occupying the third and fourth spot without a single point respectively.

Tomorrow would be observed as rest day and hostilities resumes on Wednesday with Pillars taking on Abia Warriors while Rivers Utd will trade tackles with rejuvenated Kwara Utd.

With the lackluster performance by Pillars in the first half, it is high time Coach Ibrahim Musa Jugunu starts giving the needed attention it deserves to his match winners in Mustapha Salisu and Yusuf Bala Maigoro.

By Isma’eel Abba Tangalashi

Aiteo Cup 2018: Nyima And Maigoro Are The Heroes As Pillars Earn A Scrappy Win Over A Resilient Ngwa FC

Kano Pillars earned a hard fought victory over Ngwa FC of Abakaliki in the 2018 Aiteo Cup Round of 64 encounter decided at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja on Sunday thanks to Maigoro’s last gasp winner.

The Abakaliki based side took the Pride of Kano by Surprise as they scored the very first goal of the evening in the five goals thriller with a well taken goal.

Nwagua Nyima restored parity in the 35 minutes of the game before completing his brace 10 minutes after scoring the equaliser.

The first half time ended at 2-2 and both teams struggled to find the winner that will take them to the ‘Round of 32’.

Captain of the evening and club legend, Rabiu Ali saw his spot kick saved when we were rewarded with a penalty kick after a harsh foul by Ngwa FC defender.

However, Yusuf Bala Maigoro came off the bench to score the all important goal that proved to be the match winner five minutes before the regulation time.

After the game, Technical Adviser of Kano Pillars, Ibrahim Musa Jugunu while talking to KanoPillars.com expressed his satisfaction of his team’s performance and vowed to polished out the loopholes noticed during the game before the next round of matches.

In the meantime, Gallant Kano Pillars Feeders failed to reach the last 32 when they were beaten 4-3 on penalties by Crown FC of Ogbomoso after the score tied at 2-2 at then end of 90 minutes.

Pillars will determine their round of 32 opponent after the completion of the round of 64 on Monday and Tuesday.

By Isma’eel Abba Tangalashi

Aiteo Cup 2018: Pillars And Their Juniors Discover Their Aiteo Cup Round Of 64 Opponents

Kano Pillars Senior Football Club and their Junior counterparts have been handed their various opponents in the 2018 Aiteo Cup round of 64.

The draw that was conducted on Thursday Morning at the Nigeria Football Federation Headquarters ‘Glass House’ saw the Sai Masu Gida Seniors drawn against a lowly ranked Ngwa FC of Abakaliki while their junior counterparts have to overcome a tricky tie against Crown FC of Ogbomoso to have any chance of progressing to the round of 32.

Both Pyramid City sides will hope to slug it out for the only available continental ticket by winning this year’s final come October 25th in a yet to be named venue.

The pride of Kano’s dream to play at the CAF Champions League next season were shattered after the League Management Company of Nigeria, LMC and Club owners decided to declare Lobi Stars winners, 14 matches away from the conclusion of the league.

For the Pillars faithful, this will represent a better chance for their darling club to clinch the sole continental slot available.

Both teams will play simultaneously on Sunday 9th September, 2018 at different venues and against different oppositions as mentioned earlier.

The main Pillars team will trade tackles with Ngwa FC of Abakaliki at the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja at 4:00pm and the Junior team will face Crown FC of Ogbomoso same time, same date at Bako Kontagora Stadium in Minna, Niger State.

The Kano Landlords needs to work extremely harder in order to improve on their previous record in the competition.

By Isma’eel Abba Tangalashi

Hassan Eager To Feature In Kano Pillars’ Title Run-In Charge

Adamu Hassan is longing to play a major role in Kano Pillars’ title chase in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) despite being reduced to a bit-part role.

Kano Pillars head coach Ibrahim Musa has preferred the striking pair of Junior Lokosa and Nyima Nwagua who have accounted for the club’s 23 goals with the former netting 19 to top the leaderboard for individual goalscorers in the division.

But Hassan said he is keen to get more playing time and will roll up his sleeves to do when the club resume this Sunday ahead of their July 18 match against El-Kanemi Warriors.

“I will like to play and start in every game but I have not had the chance,” said Hassan to npfl.ng.

“I know there are other strikers in the team and it means I will continue to fight for my place. I am happy we are in a good position to compete for the title too, and right now I am ready to play my part in helping the club when the league resumes after the World Cup,” said Hassan.

The former Nasarawa United man however acknowledged that it will take more than being just keen to feature in the title run-in.

He admitted that the club still have a lot of work to do to contend with their rivals, adding that they need to start winning matches on the road.

“Concerning our chances of winning the title, we have to work very hard for that. There are other teams who want to win it too. We just have to march their ambition on the pitch and even do better than them too especially in our away games. We have a good chance to win the title like the other teams.”

The forward has been reduced to cameo roles in the Kano Pillars setup this season since re-joining from Nasarawa United at the start of this campaign and has managed just one goal and provided one assist this season.

By George Akpayen
Source: NPFL.NG

Pillars Show Class Against Katsina Utd

As the Match Day 21 of the ongoing 2017/2018 Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL season between Kano Pillars and Katsina Utd is nothing but concluded, the Sai Masu Gida put on an impressive performance to beat the visitors 3-1 in a keenly contested, brotherly affairs at the magnificent Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano.

The Sai Masu Gida begin the game on a high pace knowing fully well that only a victory can close the gap between them and Lobi Stars at the top of the NPFL table and they did that emphatically at the end of 90th minutes.

The Pride of Kano should have been one nil up as early as the six minutes when diminutive midfielder, Nzube Anaezemba fired in a shot that was blocked by Timothy Danladi for a corner kick.

At the 8 minutes mark, it was the league’s goal king, Junior Lokosa who erased the bad memories of the early missed by Anaezemba with a well taken shot from inside the six yard box.

Nwagua Nyima fired in a shot and was headed by Katsina Utd player, the ball hits the goal post and boomerang back to meet Lokosa, the striker was right there to open the score from the rebound.

Katsina Utd began to find their rhythm as they took control of the game immediately after Pillars scored their opener but couldn’t break the defensive line of the homers.

The trio of Destiny Ashadi, Tasiu Lawal and Martins Usule were devastating throughout the first half and Martin Usule almost level the scores for the Chanji Boys but his effort was well off target.

Nwagua Nyima doubled Pillars lead via a header after he was put one on one with the goalkeeper by Lokosa at 37 minutes of the game for his fourth for the season.

The first half ended with Pillars two nil up.

After the restart, Nyima almost scored his second for the evening but denied by Paul Danladi after his powerful header was well saved by the goalie.

However, few seconds after the missed by Nyima, Ajanah Chinedu’s back pass to Danladi proved costly as Junior Lokosa stole the ball and was left one on one with the goalkeeper and the striker makes no mistake to buried the ball into the back of the net for his second of the evening and Pillars’s third.

League’s top assist maker, Destiny Ashadi reduced the deficit for the Chanji Boys with a World Class finish at 57 minutes to make the score a respectable 3-1.

Ashadi raced down through the middle and beat Orji Kalu then David Obiazor for the wonderful strike that proved he’s among the top notch in the league.

The game ended 3-1 with Pillars failing to hold a clean sheet for the first time at home against their visitors.

The Nigerian giants maintained their second position on the log with 35 points from 21 matches, 2 points adrift of league leaders, Lobi stars who has two games at hand.

While the Chanji Boys are now dropped to 5th on the log with 30 points from 21 matches.

Pillars will next week Sunday travel to Lafia to have a date with Nasarawa Utd while Katsina Utd will host relegation threatened Sunshine Stars at the Muhammad Dikko Stadium.

By Isma’eel Abba Tangalashi

Pillars Targets Away Win Of The Season At Wikki

After a successful dispatching of FC Ifeanyi Ubah in the Match Day 15 of the ongoing 2017/2018 Nigeria Professional Football League season, Kano Pillars FC players and officials have now shift focus to the Zaria Road Stadium, venue of our NPFL18 Match Day 16 encounter against homers, Wikki Tourists FC of Bauchi.

The Pride of Kano will go into this game brimming with confidence after a needed victory against visiting Ifeanyi Ubah during the midweek.

Prior to the tie against FC Ifeanyi Ubah, the Sai Masu Gida recorded just a victory in their last 5 npfl fixtures and were on the process of making it one victory out of six matches until they run riot with four second half goals against the Anambra Warriors with league’s top scorer, Junior Lokosa netting a brace that ultimately took his tally to 14 goals in just 14 starts. That is, an average of one goal per game.

On the other hand, Wikki Tourists were scheduled to play against the Champions, Plateau but couldn’t do so because of the Tin City side’s involvement in the ongoing CAF Confederation Cup.

The last time Wikki Tourists played an NPFL Match this season was a 3 nil home bashing of relegated threatened El Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri on the 25th of March, 2018.

In contrast, Wikki have more days rest than their visitors.

LAST 5 MEETINGS:

09-07-2017: Wikki Tourists 2-0 Kano Pillars

08-03-2017: Kano Pillars 1-0 Wikki Tourists

19-06-2016: Wikki Tourists 3-1 Kano Pillars

28-02-2016: Kano Pillars 2-1 Wikki Tourists

15-11-2015: Wikki Tourists 2-0 Pillars

WIKKI TOURISTS LAST 5 MATCHES IN THE LEAGUE:

Wikki Tourists 3-0 El Kanemi Warriors

Abia Warriors 2-0 Wikki Tourists

Wikki Tourists 3-0 Rivers Utd

Nasarawa Utd 1-0 Wikki Tourists

Wikki Tourists 1-1 Katsina United

PILLARS LAST 5 MATCHES IN THE LEAGUE:

Kano Pillars 4-0 Ifeanyi Ubah

Kwara Utd 2-1 Kano Pillars

Kano Pillars 1-1 Tornadoes

Yobe Stars 2-0 Kano Pillars

Kano Pillars 2-0 Go Round

LEAGUE POSITIONS:

Wikki Tourists are currently occupying 14th spot on the log with 19 points from 14 matches and a game in hand while the Pride of Kano are second on the with 24 points having played a total of 15 matches.

STATISTICS:

Wikki Tourists are outstanding, clinical and efficient while playing at home this season. They’ve played a total of 7 matches, winning 6 and drawn once and have scored a total of 11 goals, conceding just once against Katsina Utd, that game eventually ended one all. This represents an 86% home win ratio.

On the other hand, Pillars have played a total of 7 matches away from home. Drawn 4, lost on 3 different occasions and were able to score 4 away goals and conceded 9 in the process. Pillars garnered a total of 4 points from a possible 27 and this represents the 6th highest in the league.

COACHES COMMENTS

Ibrahim A Musa of Kano Pillars: “I’ve always have positive thoughts about my team and the ultimate target is to get all the 3 points.

“We’ve came close to winning matches away from home but luck wasn’t on our side on those occasions.

“To realise our goal, we must start with a win against Wikki Tourists on Sunday, that’s all.”

By Isma’eel Abba Tangalashi

Plateau Utd flatten Rangers to claim first title

By George Akpayen

Plateau United have emerged the new Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions after defeating Rangers 2-0 at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos on Saturday.

The giant Emeka Umeh and Benjamin Turba got the goals that ensured the Jos club became the 19th club to win the top division in Nigeria.

It was a befitting occasion for the new champions as they faced off with outgoing champions Rangers but still had to make sure of a first title with MFM FC breathing down their necks in second place by just a point difference.

Umeh and Kabiru Umar caused the Flying Antelopes troubles and deservedly the former opened scoring from the latter’s assist on 25 minutes.

Ranger did make attempt to fight back and one of such occasion, Charles Henlong turned inside the box and fired a shot which went off target.

Moments later, Rangers left-back Ugwu Uwadiegwu was the one rescuing his team from going two goals down when he cleared Daniel Itodo’s shot on the goalline.

However two minutes before time Plateau United put the game to bed when Turba got only his second goal of the season.

Plateau United finished the season with 66 points, four more than MFM who suffered a 1-2 defeat at El-Kanemi Warriors. Babangida Ibrahim and Yahuza Bala scored for El-Kanemi and Stanley Okorom’s goal was sandwiched in between.

Seven-time champions Enyimba finished third spot after a 1-0 success over Katsina United. Stephen Chukwude scored off a Stanley Dimgba’s assist.

Akwa United ended up in fourth place and missed out on a place in the CAF Confederation Cup despite a 3-0 bashing of Kano Pillars. Musa Newman, Christian Pyagbara and Michael Ibeh scored the goals.

Rivers United shipped in four goals at Abia Warriors after going a goal up through Guy Keumian. Ndifreke Effiong scored twice, Stanley Nwuju and Moses Onduemeke completed the rout.

Seun Sogbeso scored twice, both from the spot as Nasarawa United defeated ABS FC 2-1. Samuel Oyedeji’s goal from the spot proved insufficient for ABS who got relegated.

Shooting Stars failed to avoid defeat on the final day of the NPFL. The Oluyole Warriors suffered a two-nil loss at Niger Tornadoes. Ibrahim Babawo and Odeyemi did the damage on 3SC.

Anthony Okpotu finished the season as NPFL top scorer. He scored for Lobi Stars in their 1-1 draw at FC Ifeanyiubah and then got sent off for an elbow offence. Samuel Ayorinde equalized for FC Ifeanyiubah.

Sunshine Stars secured their place in the division with a 1-0 win after a second half goal from Sikiru Alimi while the Gombe United versus Wikki game was abandoned after the latter took the lead through a Chigozie Maurice own goal.

Source: LMC

Matchday 35 preview: Battle for title, continent & survival continues

By George Akpayen

The final run-in to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) will continue to shape up as clubs make last minute bid to win the title, qualify for one of three places for CAF club competitions or keep their places in the elite division.

Last matchday, title contenders MFM FC failed to make the most of the opportunity when they faced table-toppers Plateau United in a first-meet-second game at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos. Plateau United fired themselves to a slim 1-0 win courtesy of Ibeh Johnson’s first half goal under soggy conditions.

Enyimba, El-Kanemi Warriors, Nasarawa United and Akwa United brightened their chances of finishing in the top-three while Remo Stars are all but relegated suffered their a fifth home defeat this season.

Title race
It was looking like a two-team race between Plateau United and MFM at some point until last weekend when the latter lost to the former and then Akwa United and Enyimba threw their hats in the ring too though both clubs are currently eight points each off the pace.

Plateau United will resume their chase for a first title this Sunday when they play at ABS FC. This game is a banana peel for the Jos club like their next three matches against Rivers United, Wikki Tourists and Rangers, all with relegation worries. Boboye’s team go into this game with a five-game unbeaten streak but have not won on the road since a 2-1 win at Sunshine Stars in June.

Out of the top-four sides MFM are only team playing at home when they play hosts to relegation-threatened Gombe United. MFM have not lost in their last 21 home matches, and their coach Fidelis Ilechukwu still feels his side are in the title race.

“The title race is not over yet,” he told npfl.ng. “Yes we lost against Plateau United but we now need to win our next game and also win on the road and that way the title race could be open.”

Akwa United and Enyimba play at FC Ifeanyiubah and Rivers United respectively in tricky games. The trip to Nnewi for Akwa United comes at a time their opponents are aiming for a top-three finish to return to continental football while Rivers United are in dire need of the full points to ease their relegation worries.

Continental places
Plateau United, according to pundits, sure look like they have claimed one of the three continental places available through the league but Boboye knows they have to thread softly and keep their expectations at a premium with four matchdays to go.

“No I don’t think so. It is not done and dusted yet. We still have four games and that’s how we will keep battling till the end of the season,” said Boboye.

The race for the top-three, or continental positions, could go down to the wire as MFM FC, Akwa United, Enyimba, El-Kanemi Warriors, Nasarawa United and FC Ifeanyiubah are still in the running. Interestingly. El-Kanemi and Nasarawa United will be involved with delicate games at Lobi Stars and Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC).

Survival battle
Newcomers Remo Stars are now technically confirmed to have dropped to the second tier, the Nigeria National League (NNL) after last Sunday’s home loss to Rivers United. The interesting part of the survival race is that all the teams below 50 points now stand the risk of being sucked into the deep end of the table should they drop points this Sunday.

The survival race starts from Kano Pillars in eighth position with 48 points, five more than the bottom-four. However the clubs in real danger of going down are last season’s champions Rangers, Katsina United, Rivers United, Sunshine Stars, Wikki Tourists, Shooting Stars, ABS and Gombe United.

The title-holders could ease their fear of dropping out of the premier division for the first time in their history if they see off Katsina United at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu. Wikki will go up against Remo Stars at home while Shooting Stars and Sunshine Stars also play at home against Nasarawa United and Niger Tornadoes.

Missing in action this weekend
Twenty of the top stars in the NPFL will again be missing this matchday as they are involved in international duty with the Super Eagles for the 2018 CHAN qualifier against Benin Republic. Important among the absentees this Sunday are MFM duo of Stephen Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun as well as Akwa United’s Alhassan Ibrahim, Rabiu Ali of Kano Pillars, El-Kanemi’s Samuel Mathias, Thomas Zenke of Nasarawa United and Osas Okoro of Rangers.

On the suspension front. Rivers United will be without goalkeeper Rotimi Sunday for the game against Enyimba due to accumulated yellow cards. MFM’s Tchato Giscard, FC Ifeanyiubah’s Godwin Obaje, Plateau United’s Jimmy Ambrose are also suspended for this matchday.

Source: NPFL.NG

Title race not done & dusted yet – Boboye

Plateau United coach Kennedy Boboye has played down talks that his team already have this season’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title in the bag after defeating second-placed MFM FC 1-0 in a top-of-the-table clash last Sunday.

Boboye feels it will be foolhardy to begin celebrating when there are still four rounds of matches to conclude this season.

The former Abia Warriors and Sunshine Stars coach made it clear that his team will keep battling till the end of the season.

“No I don’t think so. It is not done and dusted yet. We still have four games and that’s how we will keep battling till the end of the season,” said Boboye.

He also took time to attribute Plateau United’s impressive outing this season to hardwork and commitment.

Boboye added that their good start to the season which saw them go unbeaten in their opening seven games have helped shape them into genuine champions in waiting.

“It has just been hardwork and commitment. That is just the truth. We started well and we knew we need to be up and doing every week,” Boboye responded when asked what have been the factors behind their success story this term.

Plateau United currently top the NPFL standings with 62 points, three clear of MFM in second place. They play on the road at ABS FC this season.

Source: NPFL.NG

Rivers United’s Ogbugh tops in VAT Wonder Goal 12

Rivers United striker Emeka Ogbugh has become the first player to win the VAT Wonder Goal award twice over two seasons after he emerged with the highest votes for the Matchday 31 shortlisted goals.

Ogbugh’s goal against Wikki Tourists in added time of the fixture polled a total of 2,843 votes to beat Abayomi Adebayo of Shooting Stars to second place. It was a close race between the two but FC Ifeanyiubah’s Isaac Loute earned the highest vote from the voters on Twitter with 112 of the 311 votes. Ogbugh polled 106 while Abayomi polled 71 leaving the rest 22 votes for Destiny Ashadi of Katsina United.

In the website voting where a total of 5,419 fans voted, Ogbugh polled 2,737 ahead of Abayomi who picked 2,336 votes to bring his combined total to 2,407.

Ogbugh, while playing for Heartland FC of Owerri last season had won the Wonder Goal award but switched to Rivers United after the Owerri side were relegated. Guy Keumian Venance opened scoring for the hosts after 10 minutes and in added time of the first half of the match against Wikki Tourists, Ogbugh received a lob from the right flank at the edge of the box, controlled with his chest and fired a shot that sailed in for the second of their 3-0 win.

He became the 12th player this season to win the award which attracts a cash prize of N150,000 half of which will be donated to a charity he will nominate from within the state. He also joins teammate, Ayo Saka who won the award on Matchday 20. It also made Rivers United the second club to have two players winning the award this season after Remo Stars that has had Ochowechi Salefu and Victor Chidume.

The VAT Wonder Goal award is a community investment initiative of the League Management Company (LMC) to promote club and community engagement. It is supported by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) which seeks to promote tax education on the platform of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Votes are cast by fans for shortlisted players on the NPFL website, www.npfl.ng and the twitter handle, @LMCNPFL.

Source: NPFL.NG