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Man of the Match, Andy Okpe, Coach Ogunbote still in blue cloud as Ikenne host its first NPFL match

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The 3-0 defeat of one of Nigerian football powerhouses, Heartland by Remo Stars on Sunday was the first ever Nigeria Professional Football League match in the town known more for its political significance as the home of some legendary politicians such as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Tai Solarin, Chief Kehinde Sofola and the current Nigeria Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibajo.

Little wonder, the home stadium of Remo Stars was filled to the brim in the only pavilion designed for spectators.

They were not disappointed as the result squared with expectation. Coach Gbenga Ogunbote, a veteran of the league remarked that he was delighted with his boys for grinding out all three points.

With the win, the club is having a perfect run in the league having gathered maximum six points in two matches and not conceding any goal.

Speaking with RSFC Media, Gbenga Ogunbote disclosed that he is worried that two of his first team players (Isah Ali and Qudus Akanni) were injured in the Sunday match.

“I am happy and delighted we won the game, but we lost the grip of the game. I had spoken to them about it and it showed in how they expressed themselves in the second half. It is good it happened while we were two goals up, it would have been as mess if they have scored a goal, but we have learned for it.”

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“It calls for concern on my paths losing two first team players, it is massive on my side. We have capable medical crew, we will wait to see what they can do but if they cannot do anything, we will be forced to pick from the substitutes.”

“The next game is a tempting one, we just need to try everything humanly possible to get the result we desire, positive result in that game will make us stabilize and it will give the players the massive confident to know that we can remain in the league.”

So far, the Remo Stars have not picked the ball out of their own net. Goalkeeper, Kayode Bankole has dedicated his clean sheets to God, his coaches and his teammates.

Goalkeeper, Kayode Bankole has clean sheet so far in the league

He helped his side to a 2-0 victory against MFM FC in Lagos and now a 3-0 victory with two clean sheets in two games in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Remo Stars defeated Heartland FC 3-0 at the Remo Stars Stadium all thanks to Andy Okpe’s brace and a half volley from Samuel Anakwe to give the host all three points.

Speaking with RSFC Media, Kayode indicated that he is hopeful of getting another clean sheets and all three points against Nasarawa United in matchday three of the NPFL.

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Two goal hero, Andy Okpe

“I am glad, I want to thank God Almighty and my teammates for making it possible for him to achieve the clean sheets. I can’t do it alone and that’s why it’s called a team work.”

“We play Nasarawa United on Wednesday and I hope we get another victory come Wednesday, it’s not going to be easy, but I am hopeful that we will get another win and another clean sheet by God’s grace.”

“Like we have always said, our major target is to remain in the league, and we will accept any other addition that come our way.”

Meanwhile, the hero of Sunday victory, Andy Okpe has remarked that the game with Heartland was very tough.

He put the Sky Blue Stars in front three minutes into the game before getting his brace two minutes after his first goal to give the host a comfortable win.

Speaking with RSFC Media, he made it known that they came into the game with the mentality of winning and it really assisted them in getting the deserved victory.

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‘It was a nice game for me though the game was tough, but we had to put in a lot of effort to get the win, we came into the game with the mentality of winning, and we are not expected to lose on this home ground because we call it the slaughter ground.”

“We are already preparing for the game against Nasarawa United and we will go into it with a bigger mentally than this and we hope to get the victory.”

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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