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Nigerian Football

NPFL 2017: Plateau United On the Edge of History

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By Andrew Randa

Plateau United’s fairytale in the Nigeria Professional Football League would be complete if they get the job done over Rangers International of Enugu on the final match-day at the Rwang Pam Stadium, Jos.

Not many gave Kennedy Boboye and his wards a chance at the start of the season but after putting in the leg work, the Jos-based side is unarguably the stand-out team of the season.
Needing a point to lay their hands on a first ever Nigeria Professional Football League(NPFL) title, they
will do all they can to put smiles on the faces of Jos fans who have had to endure almost two decades of heartbreak.
No major title has come to the North-central state since the 1999 Federation Cup (now Aiteo Cup) when Donatus Iloka’s solitary goal crowned Plateau United winners of the cup.
Npfl.ng went around Jos to feel the pulse of the fans as the final game of the season looms on the horizon. The frenzy and ‘noise’ decibels have stepped a notch as a lot of fans are already in a celebration mood. 

Plangkat Milaham, Jos-based Pharmacist

“It was exhilarating to see Plateau United promoted to Nigeria’s top-flight league in 2015.
Fans were also elated that there were great strides towards improving the club. The appointment of Coach Zachary Baraje particularly brought me great joy. At that moment, I knew the club was ready to play ball and it wouldn’t be long before we clinched the League title.
“The 2016 season was a great one. Our home record was amazing, it was beautiful seeing Plateau United trounce visitors on home ground. We didn’t make the top four as we finished sixth but we were excited.
“Life as a Plateau fan even got more exciting when Coach Kennedy Boboye took over. We expected more from the team this season and the boys didn’t fail to deliver. Soon we will make history and be crowned Champions of Nigeria.
“I love the team and the excitement they bring but my personal favourite player is Daniel Itodo. I love him for his long throws. It’s always a delight seeing him provide assists with long throw-ins from
every part of the pitch.
“Hopefully, winning the league will be just the beginning because I believe our best years are still to come.

—Shuaibu Umoru, Financial Expert, Jos.

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“Watching Plateau United surge to the top of the table and at the cusp of victory is a feeling I can’t explain. Personally, I wasn’t sure we were going to be in the top three teams this season but the team has done quite well to get to this level.
“I grew in Jos playing football for local teams and we all had dreams to play for either Highlanders (as Plateau United was called then) or Mighty Jets and win titles with them.
“That didn’t happen for me but I’m still overjoyed that by God’s grace the Nigeria Professional Football League will be coming to Jos.
“I watched Plateau United defeat Iwuanyanwu Nationale to win the FA Cup in 1999 and I thank God that I will see another title triumph with my beloved United. I want to plead with the government to invest more in sports and youth development because that is the future of any state
or country.
“Plateau United’s success this season should show the government that sports and the youth can bring glory to them.
“For me and my friends, we will be in at the stadium in Jos where hopefully we beat Rangers International to win the title. I’m very excited right now”.

Mary Dalyop. Student, Plateau State Polytechnic
“My joy is so much that I cannot express it right now. I’m very sure the team will do us proud and win the league. I’m a student but I always make out time to go and watch the team play. I have been a fan
of the team for the past four years now and the journey has been remarkable I must admit.
“One thing that has really made me happy is that there is little or no rivalry now between Plateau United and Mighty Jets. Everyone has come to support the team unlike last season and a few seasons back when fans of Mighty Jets will come to the stadium to cheer away teams.
“We do not see that again and I believe that is one of the reasons why the team has been successful this season. I’m very happy and I hope the government will continue to support the club when the CAF
Champions League starts”.

Yohanna Ibrahim, Businessman, Jos.
“I was happy when Plateau United appointed Kennedy Boboye as the coach but I never thought we will be in this position as we are right now.
“To be candid, I will be lying if I said I knew the league might be heading to Jos. We only need to draw the last game to win the title but I never saw it coming.
“Kudos to the management of the team, the players and the Governor for supporting and motivating the team. You just need to go into town to see how people are excited about the prospect of a first ever title for Plateau State.
“One thing that is happening without many people knowing is this success is generating a lot of interest among the youths. If you go to many football fields in Jos, you see young kids wanting to be Elisha Golbe or a Benjamin Turba.
“I also saw a few last time I went to watch a local training practicing how to throw the ball like Daniel Itodo does for Plateau United. Our impending victory has made more young people to take football and
training more serious.
Hopefully, the government will key into this. I can’t wait for the final game of the season and I hope the boy will make us proud”.
                                         Sunday Longbap. Chairman, Plateau State Football Association.

“It has been a very tough season for the team but I’m glad we are in a position to celebrate and say we have done well for ourselves.
“I must give kudos to the management of Plateau United for all they
have done to get the team to this level and top of the league.
“The players too have given their all and I must commend them for making Plateau State proud. They gave their all on the pitch and have done Plateau State proud.

“We had a mission this season and God had blessed us to be top of the league and on the verge of winning the league. I and my board are extremely happy that during our tenure, we were able to lead Plateau United to glory.
“I want to specifically thank his Excellency, the Executive Governor of Plateau State Rt. Hon Simon Lalong for his unflinching support for the team. He has motivated the boys to do well and you know that nothing beats motivation. His Excellency has shown that he is a man of his words and always fulfils his promises. Youth development and sports have always been on top of his agenda and this impending success is a testament to that.
“I want to thank him and the entire government for all they have done for the team this season and by God’s grace on Sunday, we shall deliver the title and trophy to him”.

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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

Sikiru Alimi is Nigeria’s leading scorer as NPFL’24 strikers net 708 goals in 330 Games

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Sikiru Alimi hits Nigeria Premier League milestone of 50 goals -

Data released by the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) Competitions Unit indicate an average of +2 goals per match after Matchday 33 as a total of 708 goals were recorded in the 330 games so far played by the 20 clubs.

The data has Remo Stars Sikiru Alimi as the leading scorer with 14 goals and Rangers International as the team with the best attack with 49 goals. Bendel Insurance are listed as the side with the least conceded goals having let in 25 in 33 games while Gombe United have conceded the most goals at 61.

A total of 1268 yellow cards have been issued with 43 players sent off.

A further analysis of the records show that teams have won 251 games at home with 25 winning away from home and 79 fixtures ending in a draw. In the home wins, 512 goals were scored while teams have scored 196 goals on the road. Of these, there were 13 own goals.

The season has recorded a total of 85 penalties awarded with 65 successfully converted and 20 missed.

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THE STATS

Total No. of Matches Played: 330

Total No. of Wins: 251

Total No. of Home wins: 226

Total No. of Away Wins: 25

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Total No. of Draws: 79

Total No. of Goals Scored: 708

Average Goals/Match: 2

Total No. of Home Goals: 512

Total No. of Away Goals:196

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Total No.of Penalty Awarded: 85 

Total No. of Penalties Scored: 65

Total No. of Penalties Missed: 20

Total No. of Own Goals: 13

Highest Goal Scorer: Sikiru Alimi of Remo Stars;14 goals.

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Total No. of Yellow Cards:1268

Total No. of  Red Cards: 43 

Top of the Log: Enugu Rangers: 60pts, 49 goals for, 31 against 

Best Attacking Team: Enugu Rangers: 49 goals.

Best Defensive Team: Bendel Insurance 25 goals conceded.

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Worst Defense:Gombe United with 61 goals against.

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Nigerian Football

We are not owing bonuses and allowances, says NFF

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The Nigeria Football Federation has released a refutal that players and officials of the national team are being owed of the money released to the team before the last Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire.

 The NFF issued a press release that the Presidency had, late last year, and following a process supported and personally followed-through by the Minister of Sports John Owan Enoh, released monies to the NFF for payment of outstanding bonuses and allowances of players and officials of the various national teams.

The NFF in its released reported that there was a publication on Monday which a senior administrative official of the Super Eagles described as “tissues of lies” and challenged the writer to come forward with evidence of his claims.

“The report is absolutely false, in every ramification, and we challenge the owner of the website and writer to come forward with proof of the claims. We want him to name the players who spoke to him, because these are all tissues of lies.

“Players and officials of the Super Eagles have been paid for all matches played at the AFCON, yet he claimed the team was paid for only three matches. His outlandish claim of the team being owed for 25 matches is the biggest lie ever concocted by any writer.”

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The writer also falsely claimed that only members of the NFF Board and staff of the Secretariat have been paid their outstanding allowances from the government money.

“This story is a shame. No player of the Super Eagles spoke to the writer. It is all pure fabrication,” a senior player told thenff.com.

Another senior official of the Super Eagles added: “The story is absolute bunkum. People should make an effort to verify whatever they hear from anywhere before going to the press. It is clear that this writer did not even hear anything; he simply brought forth something from his own imagination.”   

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Nigerian Football

Enugu Rangers hold on grimly at the top as Nigerian league gets to home stretch

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Enugu Rangers may have broken loose from the pack following their comprehensive  3-0 victory over Bayelsa United on Sunday.

As if to aid Rangers’ hold of the top position, their closest rivals, Remo Stars who were initially just a point behind fell like  papers blown by the huricane, losing 3-2 to Kwara United. Their loss dealt a big blow on their title aspirations as they are now four points behind Enugu Rangers and had also narrowed their goal difference.

They are now third having been overtaken by Enyimba who have better goal difference even though both are with 56 points.

Shooting Stars who suddenly peaked in the second half of the season are fast pacing up, getting to the fourth position and three points behind Remo Stars.

They were dealt a blow in the added time as Katsina United’s Michael Okoro got an added time goal against to stalemate scores at 2-2.

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Just as Enugu Rangers are at the cusp of the championship, the fates of Gombe United and Heartland appear already decided as the second tier Nigeria National League are already waiting to welcome them next season.

Akwa United may have navigated their ways out of relegation waters following their 2-1 away win over Lobi Stars. Akwa United are now 15th on the log. In Jos, former champions, Plateau and Niger Tornadoes played uninspiring goalless while relegation-troubled Heartland of Owerri spanked Gombe United 3-0 just as Kano Pillars dimmed Doma United 3-1.

All the results:

Sunshine Stars 0-0 Bendel Insurance

Rivers United 4-1 Sporting Lagos

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Lobi Stars 1-2 Akwa United

Kwara United 3-2 Remo Stars

Katsina United 2-2 Shooting Stars

Kano Pillars 3-1 Doma United

Heartland 3-0 Gombe United

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Enugu Rangers 3-0 Bayelsa United

Abia Warriors 0-1 Enyimba

Plateau United 0-0 Niger Tornadoes

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