Connect with us

Nigerian Football

Battle Against Relegation in Akure

Published

on

After the drama of last week that threatened the possibility of Sunshine Stars versus Rivers United Match Day 10 fixtures, it is now certain the duel goes ahead as the host team has called off the threat to forfeit the match.

Rivers United’s media officer, Sammy Wejinya previews that  Sunshine Stars and his team will be the two sides that will go head to head in search of crucial points as they seek to leave the wrong end of the table.

“The Stars are currently in the relegation zone and United are not too far away from the murky waters either.

“Sunshine Stars have not won an NPFL game in their last five attempts with their last victory recorded over a month ago, specifically on January 25 against Kano Pillars in Akure.”

Sunshine Stars’ build up to this game has been anything but straightforward with players of the football club embarking on protests in the week to press home demands over the non-payment of their financial entitlements.

Advertisement

Head coach of the Akure club, Kayode Olujohungbe however insists his plans for the game against United went according to script and predicts an easy win on Sunday.

“My boys never went on strike this week. They merely went on protests.

“Each time they went on those protests under their captain, Abe Sunday, they sought for our permission.

“We could not stop them (from protesting) because they need to get the monies owed them.

“They never missed training and we are ready for the game on Sunday.

Advertisement

“Rivers United is a very strong side but the statistics show that they don’t usually pose much problems for us when they play in Akure.

“Last season, we took four points off them in the league and I see something similar happening again this season,” Olujohungbe said to the Rivers United official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.

Olujohungbe will choose between two exceptional goal keepers, Henry Ayodele and Olorunleke Ojo for Sunday’s game while Kehinde Adedipe, Ambrose Onyema, Kelechi Ogoh and Nojeem Raji will be favourites to start in defence for the Owena Whales.

Sikiru Alimi, Samad Kadiri and Oke Oghagotewho are other important personnel Olujohungbe will be relying on to deliver the goods against the Pride of Rivers who have the odds heavily stacked against them.

United’s form domestically has been patchy. The Port Harcourt club have never beaten or scored against Sunshine Stars and are winless in their last four NPFL games.

Advertisement

United were beaten 1-0 the last time they visited Akure with veteran, Dele Olorundare firing in a peach of a free kick which left Sunday Rotimi with no chance.

Technical manager of the Port Harcourt club, Stanley Eguma remembers that defeat vividly and knows his charges will have to be up for the challenge on Sunday to avoid a repeat of last season’s reverse.

“Sunshine Stars have a good team and we respect them a lot.

“We know we have to be strong as a team and try to take our chances when we get them,” he said.

 

Advertisement

 

Form guide (last five NFL matches) 

Sunshine Stars:  Lost; Lost; Draw; Draw; Draw

Sunshine Stars 0-2 Gombe United (A)

Sunshine Stars 0-1 MFM FC (H)

Advertisement

Sunshine Stars 1-1 Abia Warriors (A)

Sunshine Stars 2-2 ABS FC (H)

Sunshine Stars 1-1 Nasarawa United (A)

 

Rivers United: Win; Draw; Draw; Lost; Draw

Advertisement

Rivers United 1-0 Niger Tornadoes (H)

Rivers United 0-0 FC Ifeanyiubah (A)

Rivers United 0-0 Lobi Stars (H)

Rivers United 1-2 Shooting Stars (A)

Rivers United 1-1 Kano Pillars (H)

Advertisement

 

Previous meetings in competitive matches (Head-to-head)

Matches: Two (2)

Sunshine Stars wins: One (1)

Rivers United wins: Nil (0)

Advertisement

Draws; One (1)

Goals for: Sunshine Stars (1); Rivers United (0)

Goals against: Sunshine Stars (0); Rivers United (1)

Points accumulated: Sunshine Stars (4); Rivers United (1)

 

Advertisement

Details (Specific breakdown)

Rivers United 0-0 Sunshine Stars (NPFL: Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on March 23, 2016).

Sunshine Stars 1-0 Rivers United (NPFL: Akure Township Stadium on July 23, 2016).

Story: Courtesy Sammy Wejinya              

 

Advertisement

 

 

 

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

A three-horse race for two continental ticket is set up after Enugu Rangers league win

Published

on

Enugu Rangers have broken loose from the pack as title contenders – Remo Stars, Enyimba and Shooting Stars all blew their chances in the penultimate match days as all lost with identical scorelines of 2-1 in their respective away games.

  The title is gone, now resting in Enugu who are having their second league celebrations in over 30 years. They win the jackpot N150 million prize for their title.

  But the battle is not over for the initial aspiring trio. At best they have the second CAF Champions League ticket to battle for. One of the three will win that on the last match day. The second placed team gets the CAF Champions League slot while the third gets the Confederation Cup ticket.

 Another

Coincidentally, the trio will be at their familiar home ground. As it is, second placed Remo Stars are at advantage to pick a ticket if they can pick a point from their home game with Katsina United. It will be their third consecutive adventure in the continent.

Advertisement

 The fierce battle will therefore be between third placed Enyimba and fourth placed Shooting Stars.  Both badly need a win to get either the Champions League ticket or that of the Confederation Cup.

  However, Plateau United are lurking and an away win by the Jos team in Aba will not only upset Enyimba, it could land the Plateau United a continental ticket should Shooting Stars lose or draw with Sporting Lagos.

On the other side of the divide, the battle to escape the drop has taken a dramatic twist. As the Sunday matches were on, Sporting Lagos initially thought they had escaped the drop.

 But a turnaround by Bayelsa United who came from behind to beat Shooting Stars change the weather condition for the worst for the Lagos sides.

  They now face an herculean task next weekend in their duel with continental ticket chasing Shooting Stars. The confirmed teams for relegation are Gombe United and Heartland.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Nigerian Football

Enugu Rangers are Nigerian champions!

Published

on

Enugu Rangers re-enacted their glorious old days and now the new Nigerian champions after defeating Bendel Insurance 2-0 and Remo Stars losing 2-1 to Sunshine Stars.

 The trio of Remo Stars, Shooting Stars and Enyimba who were on the heels of Enugu Rangers all lost their away games with 2-1 scorelines.

With the result, Enugu Rangers attained an unassailable lead with just one match day to end the Nigerian league season. Despite their pedigree in Nigerian football, this is just their second title since the Nigerian top league changed status to professionalism in 1990.

  Rangers, who are the only Nigerian club never to be relegated since the Nigerian national league began in 1972 won their only professional league title in 2016.

 In the pre-professional football era, they were Nigerian champions in 1974, 1975, 1977, 1981 and 1982.

Advertisement

This time,  Remo Stars who who have delayed Enugu Rangers’ coronation lost  in a western derby, but retained their second position when Shooting Stars conceded  late goals to Bayelsa United and lost 2-1 after leading 1-0 for the greater part of the match. They dropped to the fourth position giving Enyimba a respite.

 Shooting Stars who got rejuvenated midway in the season can still hold on to their continental ambition when they host relegation-escapee, Sporting Lagos on the last match day.

  Rangers have a dead rubber away duel to Gombe United whose visa to the lower NNL has been issue. They possibly hold the record for the worst goal difference in the Nigerian league as they have a deficit of 56 goals.

 Results

  • Sunshine Stars 2-1 Remo Stars
  • Sporting Lagos 2-1 Enyimba
  • Bayelsa United 2-1 Shooting Stars
  • Enugu Rangers 2-0 Bendel Insurance
  • Abia Warriors 2-0 Akwa United
Continue Reading

Nigerian Football

Behold, Finidi George’s resignation letter and why he quit the job

Published

on

The decision of the Nigeria Football Federation to engage a foreign technical adviser is the main reason why Finidi George resigned from his appointment as the head coach of the Super Eagles.

This is contained in the letter of resignation which copy Sports Village Square has. In the letter dated June 14, 2024 and addressed to the NFF President, Finidi wrote:

 “I am writing to inform you of my decision to step down as the head coach of the Super Eagles, Nigeria’s men senior team. This decision is in light of recent decision to effect changes in the team’s rechnical crew.

  “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you, the entire leadership of the federation, the sports ministry and the people of Nigeria for the opportunity to serve as the head coach of the Super Eagles.

“Although, our recent results in the qualifying matches were not as desired, I remained committed to getting our World Cup qualification campaign back on track.

“However, with the recent changes to the technical crew, I believe it is time to vacate my position.

“Please be assured of my continued support for the team, and I wish us all the best for the future.”

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Most Viewed