The trio of Kano Pillars playmaker Rabiu Ali, Katsina United winger Tasiu Lawal and Nasarawa United’s Sunusi Ibrahim have put themselves in the running for the top scorer’s award in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) writes George Akpayen for www.npfl.ng
The three players are currently on eight goals apiece, two behind Akwa United forward Mfon Udoh.
Last matchday, Rabiu Ali set things rolling for the Kano club with a goal from the spot as they cruised past Delta Force 3-0 while the impressive Sunusi who has been the mainstay in Nasarawa United’s attack this term netted in the disappointing 2-2 at home to Go Round FC.
Leading scorer Udoh did not get among the goals in Akwa United’s 2-2 draw against Abia Warriors, and will now be looking over his shoulders with the footbeats of chasing pack sounding loud behind him on the final day of the regular season. Tasiu also failed to score for Katsina United last weekend when Katsina United fell 1-2 at MFM FC.
This Sunday, the quartet of Ali, Sunusi, Tasiu and Udoh will have the chance to add to their tally.
Udoh will hope Akwa United head coach Rafael Everton hands him a starting place in their dead-rubber game at FC Ifeanyiubah who will hope to land a Super-6 place with a win while Ali heads out of Kano with his teammates to face relegation-threatened Abia Warriors. Interestingly, Udoh scored the goal that won Akwa United the full points against FC Ifeanyiubah in the reverse fixture in Uyo.
Sunusi, also in the race for the most assists this season, will be available for Nasarawa United’s trip to the northeast town of Damaturu to play against relegated Yobe Desert Stars.
As for Tasiu, he will enjoy the comfort of playing at their home turf the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium when playoffs-chasing Enyimba come into town.
THE OUTSIDERS MAY NOT COUNT ANY LONGER
Apart from the quartet who now are genuine contenders for the top scorer’s award, there are a list of players who are regarded as outsiders in the race.
Yobe Stars striker Philip Auta has accounted for seven of his club’s 10 goals this season, and unfortunately could not save the Damaturu side from getting relegated. Auta can only pull off what would be a miracle if he scores loads of goals as it will be difficult to upstage the like of Udoh who will still feature in the playoffs in the coming days.
There are nine players on six goals apiece. Usman Musa (Gombe United), Lobi’s Yaya Kone, Ndifreke Effiong of Akwa United, Abba Umar (Wikki Tourists), Rangers midfielder Godwin Aguda, Rivers United’s Ossy Martins, Martins Usule of Katsina United, Enyimba defender Ifeanyi Anaemena and Abia Warriors striker Samson Obi.
Realistically, only Aguda and Effiong are still in the race as outsiders since their clubs have secured their places in the Super-6. The door into the contest is slightly open for the pair of Anaemena and Kone, only if Enyimba and Lobi reach the playoffs at the end of Sunday’s matches.
THE LEADING SCORERS
Mfon Udoh (Akwa United)
Tasiu Lawal (Katsina United)
Sunusi Ibrahim (Nasarawa United)
Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars)
Philip Auta (Yobe Stars)
Usman Musa (Gombe United)
Yaya Kone (Lobi Stars)
Ndifreke Effiong (Akwa United)
Abba Umar (Wikki Tourists)
Godwin Aguda (Rangers)
Ossy Martins (Rivers United)
Martins Usule (Katsina United)
Ifeanyi Anaemena (Enyimba)
Samson Obi (Abia Warriors)