40 Twitter Reactions to Nigeria’s Win Over Cameroon

The thought of playing the current African champions twice in under a week was terrifying enough. Maybe not for some others. But for me, I kept remembering the team that conquered all that stood before it on their way to dominating African football early this year.

Their poor outing in the FIFA Confederations Cup doused the fear a bit as Friday, 1st of September drew near.

They didn’t win any games out there in Russia,” I said to myself.

“Maybe the Indomitable Lions are not as good as they used to be.”

But the thought of Bassogog’s speed, Moukandjo’s enterprise and of course Vincent Aboubakar power did not let me raise my hopes to high. After the poor outing against South Africa, I was literally hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

The sight of a full stadium was not strange to me. It’s typical for Nigerians to troop out in their thousands when their darling Super Eagles are in action. Those people love their football like that.

The first twenty minutes or thereabout of the game was all Cameroon. As if to confirm my fears and worries, the Lions kept bombarding Shehu and flinging those crosses into the box. I tried to calm myself but that was even harder to do with the way John Obi Mikel and co. incessantly gave away the ball possession with Odion Ighalo a lonely figure up-front.

Luckily for the Nigerian in me, that was the only period I really needed to worry. The Super Eagles gradually grew into the game and took charge of the fixture. In the end, the game 4-0 in favor of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Some of the goals were made in China

…others were made in England while some made by Moses. 

But it doesn’t matter now. What matters is the statement of intent that the Nigeria’s national football team made to not just their Cameroonian neighbors, but to Africa as whole. After playing Zambia, Algeria and Cameroon, the Super Eagles remain unbeaten.

And they’ve not even dragged themselves or grinded out results in all these games. It has been almost like a stroll in the park for Nigeria’s Eagles. And that’s more reason why Africa should be afraid. There’s an eagle in the West and it’s soaring again.

I never really understood – not that interested anyway in – how the FIFA Rankings work. But with this win, I hope our rankings will change. And I’m not even the only one hoping for that change.

At this point, I’ll pretend the commentary box of a specific channel put icing on the cake

If after seeing those tweets, you’re still asking me about the commentary, you are O.Y.O.

Moving forward, there was the mild argument about which player should be awarded the MotM award.

Who was your Man of the Match on the day:

  • John Mikel Obi
  • Victor Moses
  • Leon Baogun
  • Someone Else

Please share your thoughts with me by leaving a comment.

While the argument continues, there was also a lot of praise for the Chinese League after John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo, two players who ply their trade in China, scored for the Super Eagles.

Of course, there was a prophet who called it even before the game day,

But the celebrations are already over and they’re already making plans for the future ahead.

A name that will important for the next game in Cameroon is this guy,

To finish things off, an ode to the back line that made Ezenwa look good on the day

So what’s next?

A trip to the lions’ den located in Cameroon.

 

About Author

Rotimi “Papi” Daramola is a freelance sports writer, a football content developer and a freelance football analyst who has appeared on radio to talk football. You can reach him on twitter @rotdav

 

Enyimba 1 – MFM FC 1: Fifty Shades of Green, the Whistle Blower and other talking points

On Saturday, the NPFL featured a mouth-watering clash between Enyimba FC and MFM FC. This was a contest between two teams whose recent forms were almost the same, but were miles apart on the league table.

MFM FC, whose season had started on a bright note (any club in the NPFL with an away win this early in the season has started on a bright note), were looking to at least not lose in this one.

Enyimba, looking (and playing) like the evil twin of the club that conquered Africa, were on a mission: to at least garner all three points to help move ‘table-climbing‘ ministry to its permanent site.

The game ended in a 1-1 draw, with MFM FC drawing first blood thanks to a beautiful volley from Stephen Odey (the league’s current top goalscorer) and a late equalizer from the Elephants of Aba. It was literally MFM FC’s 1st half vs Enyimba’s 2nd half.

As with all NPFL games, this one wasn’t void of its own fair share of drama (as per say dis na awa game and we dey play am awa own way!). Let’s quickly discuss all the talking points from the game in Enyimba’s ‘home away from home’ in Calabar.

Work out on a strange pitch: MFM FC players warming up before the game. Photo credit: @mfmfc_lagos

1. The Pitch and 50 Shades of Green…

… or brown, as the case may be. In a way, it’s strange that the first talking point of an exciting game is the state of the pitch. But, that’s how ‘un-missable’ the playing turf inside the Calabar stadium was.

I watched this one on T.V and, the first thing that greeted my eyes was this ‘absurd-looking’ pitch (alongside the over-half-empty stadium which I’ll be discussing later), having like a thousand shades of different colours ranging from green to brown.

I’m of the school of thought that men (well, most of us) are colour blind. So, maybe a woman would have been able to specifically identify the different colours the grass on the pitch was having. For those who saw this game, you know what I’m saying.

For those who didn’t, let me try painting the scene out for you (pun intended of course!). This soccer field (like my Yankee people go call am) had colours ranging from deep green, light green, acid green, brown, Ibadan-roofs-brown (if you’ve been to Ibadan, Nigeria, especially the Beere, Odinjo part of the city, you’ll understand this part better), light brown and more I couldn’t recognise.

The first question that came to mind when I saw the state of the pitch was,

Whoever approved the Calabar pitch?

The other that followed tethered around the reason why Enyimba would chose to not take care of their home away from home.

Yes, not all questions have answers. But, from how the sandy pitch seemed to make the ball bounce awkwardly everytime, to how it made life hard for the respective players, maybe the right people should be looking to answer these questions already.

So, for the sake of Enyimba playing well and having a good season maybe (just maybe) a stadium tweak should help improve the outlook of the pitch (just a suggestion from a football fan) and their poor-so-far season.

2. Empty Fan-Less Stadium

No, it wasn’t a completely empty stadium. The fans just refused to show up! Yeah, there were a few heads here and there with some young whistle blowers in the stands (more on this coming right up), it wasn’t up to standard.

You’re probably wondering what this so-called standard is. Actually, it doesn’t even exist… yet, when it comes to fans thronging to stadia across the nation to watch various clubs strut their stuff.

But, Kano Pillars, Ifeanyi Ubah, MFM FC (being the only Lagos-based football club in the NPFL) amongst others, are gradually raising the bar. They’re setting a standard, the standard. And Enyimba is far behind keeping up with these names.

The reason can be tied to their temporary relocation to Calabar, a state most of their fans may not reside in. Another reason may be that the fans fear to behold football being played on such a terrible-looking pitch. Another reason can be, simply put: The fans aren’t even interested.

If it’s the latter, it’s safe to throw optimism out the window and keep advertising the NPFL like as if we have never done it before. Let’s leave this as food for thought to whoever it concerns.

3. The Whistle Blowers

I have come to realise that football fans can express themselves however they want when they’re in the stadium.

Of course, fighting/hooliganism is not condoned (but those Russians just won’t listen), dancing,  singing, clapping, looking lost and forlon, a quick chat, and a selfie are just some of the many things fans involve themselves with while in ‘The Zone.’

Another is blowing whistles, either in disagreement with the decision of the referee, to send the ref a reminder about how much is left or to boo the players. So, I thought blowing a whistle in a football stadium was legal… until I was proven wrong on Saturday.

Enyimba, on a fast counter against the Olukoya boys, had three of theirs against two MFM FC players I think (can’t exactly remember now). A pass was threaded to one of the Aba Boys who was through on goal.

Then, there was a whistle, blown not once, but twice. The players halted their move, thinking they were offside. But they weren’t. The ref had not blown his own whistle. Amongst those watching the game, two little children were messing around with something that looked like their latest toys: whistles.

This sent some of the older fans into a frenzy as the sudden stop of play made the ref to ACTUALLY stop play and give a decision against Enyimba. Long story short, the little ones were stripped of their whistles, while being surrounded by disgruntled men who expressed frustration,  not only because of the kids, but also because of the thought of what could have been: a goal for Enyimba.

4. Let’s Talk About the Weird Ref

Was too lazy to even look up his name but I remember the match commentator mentioned that he was from Kano.

This centre ref, one way or the other, just managed to dish out all of his bookings on the day to MFM FC players.

Seeing as they’re humans, not machines, it’s impossible for refs to get all calls right. Somewhere in the mix, there is something called improvement and another called not trying to stare down players when they come running to you to share complaints or argue with you.

These refs, especially the centre ref for the Enyimba vs MFM FC game, should take note and make conscious effort towards becoming better.

Odey’s ode: One of the weapons in MFM FC’s arsenal. Photo credit: MFMFC Lagos

5. Fiery Confidence 

If you haven’t noticed, let me quickly show you: there’s this amazing confidence with which the players of MFM FC play. Like their God, they’re no respecter of persons. And they ooze that with their display.

Against Enyimba, while some other clubs would have chosen to let the state of the pitch hamper their play, the MFM boys chose to play football their own way: quick exchange of passes, fluid movements, going for the ball and scoring beautiful goals when the chance presents itself.

They’ve (MFM FC) started well again this season. And the reason is not far-fetched: These ones fear no foe. And that can help them on their way to yet another season in the NPFL (or maybe, who knows, a continental spot).
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you think about the NPFL. Have you seen any games this season. If yes, what are your thoughts? Which club are you rooting for this season? If you haven’t seen any game this season, ever considered trying to?

 
About Author

Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @Rotdav

 

A Review of the Teams Ahead of the New Season (cont’d)

Though I may not be able to touch on all, I’ve selected yet a few number of NPFL clubs on which I can shine my spotlight as we head into the new season. After reviewing Rangers and Shooting Stars <a href=”https://forthegoals.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/a-review-of-the-npfl-teams-ahead-of-the-new-season/”>here</a&gt;, let’s take a look at two other clubs.

ENYIMBA FOOTBALL CLUB

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Enyimba Football Club

Nickname: The People’s Elephant

Founded: 1976

Home Ground: Enyimba International Stadium , Aba, Abia, Nigeria.

Calabar (Temporary Home ground)

Capacity : 16000

Location : Aba, Nigeria

Head Coach : Gbenga Ogunbote

Chairman : Felix Anyansi-Agwu

2015/2016: 10th

The Man: Mfon Udoh

Despite becoming the highest goal scorer in the 2016 CAF Champions League, he was not really favoured by former coach,  Paul Aigbogun but Mfon Udoh is one man Gbenga Ogunbote will rest his hopes on to deliver plenty of goals that will win maximum points for the people’s Elephant this season.

Enyimba Football Club

Located in one of the biggest commercial  cities in Nigeria, the People’s Elephant ; Enyimba of Aba is one of the biggest club sides in alongside Al Ahly of Egypt and Asec Memosa of Cote d’ivoire . The two-time CAF Champions League winner is one of the most successful side in Nigerian club football history.

However,  the 2015/2016 season under former Warri Wolves gaffer ; Paul Aigbogun was indeed a torrid and abysmal outing for the former League Champions. The inconsistent or lack of permanent home ground contributed to some of the misfortunes and woes of Enyimba last season,  shuffling between the Adokiye Amiesimaka stadium in Port Harcourt for CAF Champions League games, The Yakubu Gowon Stadium and the Abia Warriors stadium for NPFL games is sure no way to get your fans massive support.

In addition,  finishing 10th on the log last season and their woeful performance at the Caf Champions league was unacceptable for the management of the club.

The departure of inspirational captain, Chinedu Udoji, Chinedu might have left some void in the strength of the team but the arrival of Stanley Digmba from Sunshine Stars and experienced Ghanian goalie Fatau Dauda, the People’s Elephant (now known as Enyimba of Calabar) can fancy their chances of at least returning to the continent under new boss; Gbenga Ogunbote who helped Shooting Stars survive relegation last season.  Whether Enyimba will reclaim the league from current champions; Rangers of Enugu or correct last season’s misfortunes remains to be seen.

WIKKI TOURISTS

img_20170114_143249.jpg

Wikki Tourists

Nickname : The Bauchi Elephants

Founded : 1992

Homeground : Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, Nigeria.

Chairman : Alhaji Isa Musa Matori

Head Coach : Baba Ganuru

2015/2016 Position : 3rd

The Man : Mubarak Umar Mohammed will look to step into the spotlight after the departure of Godwin Obadje to Club Africain of Tunisia

Prediction : 3rd

After making a return to Nigerian topflight football in 2014, Wikki Tourist a.k.a the Bauchi Elephants had an impressive run in last season’s Nigerian Professional Football League finishing 3rd on the log behind eventual winners Rangers of Enugu and first runner up; Rivers United.

The Bauchi Elephants narrowly missed out on securing one of two Caf Champions League Tickets but found solace in securing a ticket to play in the Caf confederation cup . Wikki Tourist had a total of 57 points with an impressive +17 goal difference ,the highest in the league and their rock solid defense allowed the fewest goals last season allowing only 28 goals.

A total of 45 goals was scored by the Bauchi based outfit, 18 of which were scored by the league’s highest goal scorer; Godwin Obadje who scored against 11 different oppositions alongside Rangers Egbuchulam; the highest in the 2015/2016 campaign.

With the departure of inspirational coach, Abdu Maikaba to Akwa United and top striker, Godwin Obadje to Club Africain  of Tunisia, Wikki Tourist faces a tough challenge of repeating their last season exploits.

New coach ,the experienced former Kano Pillars and Nassarawa United coach; Baba Ganaru will have to restore confidence to the fans as Wikki Tourist begin their league campaign against Kabiru Dogo’s Nassarawa United on the 15th of January at the Sir Tafawa Balewa Stadium and few weeks later they will take on RSLAF of Sierra Leone in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round.

A Review of the NPFL Teams Ahead of the New Season

Kicking off shortly: The 2016 NPFL season starts soonest

Kicking off shortly: The 2016 NPFL season starts soonest

Oliver Queen is the son of a rich billionaire in Star City. He’s now the Mayor and he is fulfilling the promise he made to his father aboard the amazo to bring the corrupt to justice. However to do that, he must be another person, an arrow wielding vigilante, who will become a source of mixed emotions for those in the City. It’s been five years since he started his crusade and a lot has changed since then.

It is now he faces his biggest opponent yet, Prometheus who informs him at the beginning of the sixth episode of the fifth season. Arrow is one series that I keep up with because of my younger brother (it’s also one of the many things I have to tolerate). Football, however is what I love, and unlike the Green in Arrow which doesn’t fascinate me, the Green of my country does fascinate me. Especially when it’s the Nigerian Professional Football League match ball, whose new look looks funny enough (pun intended).

I have followed the NPFL for quite a while now, and one thing that stands out is the physicality of the league. In a division where skill and technique is rare (see for yourself) and what most teams do is to outmuscle one another, the catch is quite easy: Win at home and try not to lose away. I am not so proud of the NPFL. But I grin when I see that the NPFL is the only league where you can be in the top half of the table and still not be safe from relegation.

Their Locations: Nigerian Professional Football League's various club locations

Their Locations: Nigerian Professional Football League’s various club locations. Picture credit: LMCNPFL

It’s the only league where you can be 6th after 19 games and you eventually finish 16th. It is that competitive. And while the dynamic is changing, the NPFL is the one league where the 2016-17 season starts six months behind schedule. There is quite the long way to go but baby steps are being made. Stadia are being filled and for the new season which kicks off in less than two weeks, we are optimistic that it can only get better.

It’s imperative that we treat the NPFL like our crown jewel, the same way the British media treat the Premier league, and the South Africans treat their PSL. When the NPFL is popular and the interest of everyone is gotten, some things alterations will occur. With just two weeks to go, ForTheGoals profiles each NPFL team and our expectations of them. First point of call?

 

SHOOTING STARS SPORTS CLUB

NICKNAME: Oluyole Warriors

FOUNDED:  1950 (as WNDC)

HOME GROUND: Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan, Oyo State.

CHAIRMAN: Sen. Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo State Governor)

HEAD COACH: Fatai Amoo

THE MAN: Ibrahim Ajani (Forward). They would need him to be at his best in front of goal if they are to make an impact this season.

2015-16 League Position: 15th

Where else to start than Nigeria’s history makers, the first Nigerian team to win the African Champions Cup. It is this history however that 3SC seem to have dwelled on, making reverse steps instead of taking steps forwrd. The Oyo-State-government-owned club has been plagued with all sorts of problems since the turn of the 21st century. They have been relegated at least thrice and have not finished above ninth, a position they achieved under Gbenga Ogunbote in the 2014-15 season; a season which left us with the irony of why they failed to tie the instructor to a long term contract.

He was the messiah they had being looking for and just like Jesus, they didn’t really accept him. In fact they became an exception to the rule of opportunity coming once when he rejoined them midway through 2015-16 season after the expulsion of Giwa FC. He once again led them to safety despite the club being mired in a relegation battle and being favourites for the drop. Once again, ‘Sootin’ failed to act. They would see him leave for the second time in 15months and with the Ibadan-based side back to square one.

The club must now channel all their resources in a positive direction and implement a plan that once made them Nigeria’s most successful side. It is distressing when a side deeply rooted in African football tradition are trying hard to survive. The club must show consistency both on and off the pitch. There must be no issue of owed salaries. The people of Ibadan don’t want to see a team gasping for breath. They want to see a team with swagger, with a drive and hunger to put opponents to the sword somewhere in the mix too!

The exit of number one goalkeeper and fan favourite is sure to shake them but they must pay tribute to Izu Joseph, a man who gave his all while he was a Shooting Star. Only a top league finish can see Izu’s ghost rest and if they need inspiration, they need look no further than Rangers International who ended a thirty-two year wait. Fatai Amoo’s men must fly out of the blocks and beating Lobi Stars will be a good start. A continental slot might be a bridge too far, but that is still the target and given the adequate preparations so far, a top table finish seems just guaranteed.

PREDICTION: 9TH

 

ENUGU RANGERS INTERNATIONAL

The Crest of Champions: Rangers International

The Crest of Champions: Rangers International

NICKNAME: Flying Antelopes

FOUNDED: 1970

HOME GROUND: Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium, Enugu State.

CHAIRMAN: Chief Festus Onu

HEAD COACH: Imama Amapakabo

THE MAN: Chisom Egbuchulam (Forward) Keeping him could do as much as secure another league crown for them with Africa’s premier clubs hot on his heels.

2015-16 League Position: Champions

 

The Champions will begin their title defence against Abia Warriors looking to continue a home form that played a huge role in their triumph last season. The Nnamdi Azikwe stadium proved a fortress and recorded high attendances as they found their way out of trouble again and again. The brilliance of Egbechulam alongside Okey Odita, Bright Esieme and Dream team goalie Emmanuel Daniel (not forgetting the Ghanaian sensation) was well complemented by the astute tactical knowledge of the young Imama Amapakabo who is heralding a change in the landscape of Nigerian football.

 

Rangers played swashbuckling football at times last season. They were often unplayable (their most amazing outing of the 15/16 season comes to mind here) and they managed to banish the ghosts of years gone by. The stability and consistency they enjoyed since the emergence of Festus Onu has only helped strengthened the team further. The recently concluded Super 4 once again showed how devastating they can be on their day with a close-to-second-string side sweeping all comers aside.

 

The champions haven’t come to play and after ending a 32-year wait, who says they won’t go on to dominate the scene for a while yet. They are one of Nigeria’s most decorated sides and a seventh NPFL title will only ascertain their air of invincibility. The only challenge left? Emulate Enyimba and win the CAF Champions League.

 

PREDICTION: Champions (1st)

Enyimba Int. vs Rangers Int.: Rangers Still In Range, Players vs The Referee and more #TalkingPoints

The Oriental derby between Enyimba International FC and Rangers International was one of the most anticipated matches of Matchday 29 (it was actually the other anticipated derby of the Matchday). Here’s why:

– Enyimba were trying to return to winning ways after losing to Plateau United the week before. They didn’t have a leaky defence to worry about like their opponents but they obviously wanted to make sure their NPFL run did not resemble their current CAF Champions League campaign.

– Rangers on the other hand, were looking to go one ahead of Wikki Tourists to top the NPFL table. This alone was motivation enough for them. After going their last 5 games unbeaten, Coach Imma’s side were beginning to look like title contenders. And the only team standing in their way was the one from Bauchi (save, of course, a surprise from Rivers United).

– It was an ORIENTAL DERBY.

So, all seemed set for a massive clash, the delight of football fans.

But what really happened?

1. There Was A Half-Filled (or Half-Empty?) Stadium
For a NPFL fan who’s trying to “fall in love” with the league and watch, at any available chance, the league games, this is some sort of painful point to start with. But it was very hard to miss the empty seats that were glaring at me as I watched Moses Praiz (one of the Matchday analysts) welcome me to the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.

It was too obvious! And I was constantly wondering why the stadium wasn’t filled with fans. “Don’t people want to know how this mouth-watering clash will play out?,” I thought to myself.

Of course the hardcore fans showed up. The mums and dads came along with their kids to see the action. The male and female species were duly represented. But I expected more, given what was at stake. I think I want to blame my disappointment on “over-expectation.”

In the end, I gave up wondering about the number of spectators present (and the ones absent) when the match commentator said,

“We’ve seen today, nearly 3 times the amount of crowd that usually come to watch Rivers United play.”

Translated: This crowd is actually a “huge” crowd when compared to the ones that usually show up when the home team plays. #Shock.

2. Rangers International’s Poor Defence Reared It’s Ugly Head Again
Before this game started, Rangers were second on the NPFL log-table. Not because Wikki Tourists had won more games. But because their goals difference was inferior to Wikki’s, a direct result of conceding more goals than Wikki Tourists.

And their coach, Imma Amapakabo, in a pre-match interview, seemed to not have any issues with his team’s defensive frailties. But this same weakness almost cost them the top spot they currently occupy.

Enyimba piled the pressure early in the first half, trying to utilize this weakness to their own advantage. And most times, it alnost worked with Enyimba players getting half-chances that came about thanks to poor defending by the Rangers players.

Wondering how Enyimba scored their goal? Yes, you’re right! And that poor defending almost made them leave Port Harcourt empty-handed.

3. Some Weird Officiating + Drama
I’m still unsure what really happened at end of the first half but the centre referee and one of the Enyimba players got involved in an exchange of words (note: it wasn’t the nicest of exchanges as there was pointing of fingers and the images of glaring eyes).

Enyimba had scored in the 45th minute of the game. And that lead had only lasted 90 seconds. And a certain Enyimba player wasn’t happy. What he was dissatisfied with is still unclear but I’m sure he’d have exchanged more than words with the ref if he wasn’t restrained by his teammates. Yes, it was that serious!

Of course there was that OMG!-I-thought-we-were-leading-a-few-seconds-ago kind of moment. Two goals were scored, either sides of the pitch… in the space of 90 seconds! I guess whoever said, “You’re most vulnerable after scoring a goal,” must have had this match in mind.

Have I mentioned the awkward officiating by the referee? The ladies who were the linesmen (or lineswomen?) did well. But the centre ref kept making calls that disrupted the flow of the game, calls that were sometimes, not totally necessary. But what do I know? Maybe I’m wrong. Afterall I’m only a NPFL fan.

Worthy Mentions
Obinna Nwobodo of Rangers is a rare gem. His mesmerizing skills was one of the highlight of the game. He took one anyone in sight and usually did a good job in the end. Hopefully the league doesn’t lose this one to Greece or Finland. Hopefully.

I used to think Bobby Clement was badass but after he disappeared in today’s game, I’m definitely having a rethink. In fairness, the Enyimba fans were so brutal. They seemed to be in a no-mercy, kill-em-all mode. But even when these gruesome defenders loosened their grip on Clement, he seemed to have become absent, though present, at this game.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned the scoreline of this game. But you know that already right?

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to leave a comment and share this article with your friends.

About Author
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav and on LinkedIn

This Week’s NPFL Round-up… In Tweets!

It’s hard to follow all the games being played in a league on a weekend or matchday. Ha! You’ll need some super powers to keep an eye (or both and some fingers too for some phone tapping or typing) on updates from all games on a Matchday.

And this weekend, in the Nigerian Professional Football League, it was extra important to keep tabs on all the goings-on in the league

There were different struggles for different positions on the league table. Rangers International wanted to snatch that top spot from Wikki Tourists. 3SC desperately needed to start picking points and Kano Pillars were trying to avoid another “Elephantic Defeat.”

While MFM wanted to win without their fans…

… there was a teeming crowd to enjoy the IfeanyiUbah game.

So you can understand where I’m coming from when I say I had to follow “all available” updates. Wouldn’t be so much fun missing out on all the fun right? So I watched when I could and followed trends when watching was impossible.

And the thing is this: Following a match via trends on social media most times, helps you to see the action from more angles than one. Especially if the social media of your choice is Twitter.

You’d be amazed by how much a series of 140-characters-long posts could be informative, engaging and of course, hilarious (if you’re a twitter user, this should be a norm for you).

So how about a round-up?

It all started on Saturday with the most prolific NPFL game I’ve ever watched in my life: Akwa United vs Rangers International. It was a terrific game with terrific goals scored…

… and some amazing records set too.

Then on Sunday, some “Fan Fun” as Enyimba got the better of Kano Pillars…

… for the second time this season…

… and some stuff of international quality from Heartland FC.

Rivers added more misery for 3SC…

… and there was poor officiating in Niger.

It seemed one of the most exciting games of the weekend was played behind closed doors at the Agege Stadium.

At first, 3 penalties were awarded.

Then, as if not satisfied with the number, the ref awarded one more.

I’m wondering: Maybe heet waz a spiritual somtin? *in Falz’s voice*

With the tweets above, the fans have again, showed how interesting the NPFL is, how much fun there is and HOW MUCH YOU’RE MISSING OUT ON if you haven’t started watching NPFL games.

Already looking forward to the next Matchday!

P.S: Thanks for reading. But don’t forget to share with your friends. We need to spread the NPFL Fever. The people need to know how much fun they’re missing out on. Plus, when they realise the fun you’re trying to share with them, they’ll thank you for being a good friend.

Cheers to a great week ahead!

About Author
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav and on LinkedIn

Two Halves, Two Games: This Week’s NPFL Summary

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This is the part where I make an introduction but I won’t (can’t say why). Let’s just say this is a piece about two halves from two different games that summarizes the Nigerian Professional Football League this weekend.

Sharks vs Warri Wolves
The Composed Vs The Decomposed

It was some sort of a no-contest in the sense that from the first 45, Sharks was the dominating and domineering team. They got the better of their opponents every time in the first half; moved faster and played better. To make matters worse, someone mentioned that Wolves hadn’t lost in their last five games prior to this one. If you saw this game, you wouldn’t have believed that! They were the “in form” team but they fell flat in this game and came up short with every play. Their defending was poor (the main culprit a defender, Egwuekwe who won the AFCON with the Super Eagles in 2013) and there was a huge sense of disconnection in every wing. It is impossible to compare Sharks’ composure and the connection between their players to the dismal performance by the Warri Wolves players. By the end of the half, Sharks already had two goals in their kitty and eventually ran away with the game. Well done Sharks! This is what the NPFL needs!

Dolphins Vs Nasarawa United
One Poor Team Vs Another Poor Team

Asides individual brilliance and beautiful team play, sometimes goals need defensive errors to become goals, poor officiating too. This was a game between two teams that looked like they both needed help.

Nasarawa United needed an unworthy penalty to take the lead in Port Harcourt. Then the Dolphins goalie made a rookie’s error, handled the ball outside the box and got himself sent off. Dolphins, now down to 10 men, had to play clueless football, patternless soccer, make clumsy challenges before they could take advantage of Nasarawa’s ball-watching defenders to equalize and another to put them in the lead. 10 men scored two goals in 30 minutes. Sounds good but both teams played like the NPFL is a league of rookies. And obviously that is not true!  Warn yourselves you two. The last thing the league needs now is two clubs playing boring football and chasing the fans away! 😦

Kindly follow me on Twitter @Rotdav and let’s talk football.

The Average Nigerian Needs More Media Coverage To Show More Interest In The Nigeria Football League!

The Nigerian Professional Football League has just entered the second half. With 19 games played, the two clubs atop the League table (Sunshine Stars and Enyimba) share the same number of points and are only seperated by their goal differences and the third-placed and fourth-placed clubs are more than touching distances away from the zenith of the log table. Guess what? Last year’s winners, Kano Pillars, are currently struggling!

#MyTake
The NPFL has now become a very competitive league where there are no pushovers and no club can be so sure of a victory over another (even if you’re playing at home! as is the norm in the league). To predict who will win the league is now a long shot no thanks to how well each club plays week in week out.

But what about the media coverage and all? I guess half of those who will read this probably did not know about the developments in Nigeria’s A league. Reasons? There are a few suspects, namely poor interest from most Nigerian football lovers and poor media coverage. But of the two, poor media coverage has done more damage and unluckily enough, seems to be determinant of how much interest the average Nigerian will show to the NPFL.

My apologies but I don’t know much about the economics or “freakonomics” behind covering football games but how will people even “try” to be interested in the league when the media coverage that exists is barely existent? (I’d like to say here that media coverage is not totally non-existent) How about the writers? Well, from experience, you need to see a game (or if you’re good enough like me, the highlights) to be able to write about it. Again, media is the bad guy here. I could go on and on (truth is I can’t! I’ve run out of options… lol) but it’d be best to draw a conclusion here and that is: The average Nigerian seems to be waiting for increased media coverage of the country’s football league before he can also increase his interest in the league

Don’t get me wrong. There a handful of people who watch the league already and follow it avidly. Some even spend their Matchdays in the stadium! But it won’t hurt to have more people watching through whatever kind of medium and discussing bout it like we do the other leagues right?

I almost forgot! On MatchDay 19, Kano Pillars was away to Lobi Stars. At some point in the game, they led by a 0 – 3 scoreline but the game ended in a draw. Ironic right? I’d say that’s what competitive is! And that is what you have been missing if you haven’t been seeing the NPFL games. Become a fan of the league. Watch it more. Visit stadiums when you can, and watch on TV when you can’t. Talk more about it in your football discussions and force people like us to get involved more by probing us for reviews whenever you miss games. #EnoughSaid

Kindly follow me on twitter @Rotdav and let’s talk football!

Things I Learnt From The Akwa United vs Kano Pillars Game

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As a Nigerian, I was “lucky” enough to see the game between Akwa United and Kano Pillars. I use the word lucky because it was the only game of the Matchday to be shown live on Sunday (I missed it though) and it was the only game that was being reshown when I eventually had time for T.V on Monday. I should also add that I was lucky to be amongst the few that saw the game as Nigerians aren’t that into our own football league… at least NOT THAT INTO IT as they are with the “others”. After seeing the game, these are what I saw:

Akwa United Were The Better Team
Kano Pillars were the visitors, Akwa United were the guys who had the home crowd behind them and it was a one-sided affair. No, NPFL games are not usually one-sided but in this one it was Akwa United from start to finish. They were the stronger side. They bullied the Kano Pillars boys off the ball at random and at will. They were faster. They seemed to have players everywhere on the pitch. They were the hungrier side and their 19th-minute goal tells the whole story. Did I mention that they won the game?

Kano Pillars Played Tactlessly
No offence to their gaffer Okey Emordi (I hope this spelling is right though) but with the way the reigning champs of our darling NPFL played, a novice would have seen it a hard pill to swallow if while watching the game was told that Pillars are the current champions of the league. They struggled to keep up with their opponents’ pace. Barely survived whenever they got into Akwa United’s half thereby giving their opponent’s goalie virtually nothing to do. Defended massively but attacked non-chalantly and were generally disconnected (especially their passes). Maybe it was because they were playing away. Maybe not. But if this is bad news for Kano Pillars, isn’t this good news for the NPFL? That the league is now so competitive? Competitive enough to make the reigning champs look and play like chumps once in a while?

Akwa United Forwards Can Ball-Hug For Africa!
One name keeps coming to mind here: Udoh, Akwa’s forward player. Pardon me but I don’t exactly know his full name. This was the first time I was seeing Akwa United in action but this guy was a stand-out when it comes to selfish-play. He was so much all about himself alone whenever he was in front of goal that he made his fellow forward players feel isolated and they returned the favour whenever they had the ball too! How did they win? What if I tell you Enyimba really played that terribly?

There Was A Female Centre Referee and Her Officiating Wasn’t Good Enough
Seeing a female official amidst a bunch of guys is a really beautiful sight. But when her officiating is poor, then you begin to rethink women being officials when the guys are playing. You want a summary? She stopped play whenever play was supposed to go on and did the opposite when an actual foul was commited. Maybe I’m wrong. I mean she’s the one with a refeering badge and I’m just a football lover that’s watching the game right?

P.S: If you watched the game, please share your views in the comments section below. Would be beautiful to discuss Naija made football with other people. If you didn’t, pick any Sunday of your choice (the games are always played on Sundays I don’t know why) and either stroll into any stadium close to you (be sure if it will be hosting any game first o) or watch on satellite TV if you love your privacy. Feel free to thank me later 😉

You can connect with me on twitter @Rotdav and talk football!

Image credit: Sportive23