Month: March 2018

Nigerian League Round-Up: Five home teams get controversial penalties

March 25, 2018Tunde Eludini

Lobi Stars required a penalty kick in the last minute of stoppage time to secure a 3-2 win over Rivers United in their Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Match Day 14 tie in Makurdi on Sunday.

The game, played at the Aper Aku Stadium, looked like it will end in a stalemate before the host were given a penalty (second in the match) in stoppage time. This was converted by Austin Ogunye.

The victory recorded by Lobi Stars saw them increase their points tally to 26 after 14 games as they stay top for another week.

In Owerri, there was another late penalty drama as Heartland piped Nasarawa United 2-1 at the Dan Ayiam stadium.

Nasarawa United team manager, Solomon Babanja, bemoaned the manner in which his side lost to Heartland in Owerri on Sunday.

According to him, he had never seen such officiating in his life.

“I am not a happy man today, why will a man that is supposed to do justice to the game end up to be a killjoy?

“The Coaches did a good job to prepare the team for this game but look at what the man from Ondo state did to deny the efforts of my boys with two dubious penalty calls gifting the home side the win.”

The long-serving team manager added that he would appeal to the LMC to look into the game again stating that if officiating continues like this then, “we will never reach the promised land as expected”.

The late penalty drama also played out in the Go Round Fc and Enugu Rangers tie with the home team needing a dying minute spot kick to rescue a 2-2 draw against the Flying Antelopes.

In all, seven penalties kicks were given to five home teams in the NPFL matches today.

Five of those penalties were awarded when the home teams were losing or drawing and three were very late in extra time.

Away from the penalty dramas, the NPFL Match Day 14 games produced 29 goals; the most this season in any Match Day.

NPFL Results

Heartland 2-1 Nasarawa Utd

Lobi 3-2 Rivers Utd

Akwa Utd 1-1 Abia Warriors

Wikki 3-0 El-Kanemi

FCIU 3-0 Plateau Utd

Kwara Utd 2-1 Kano Pillars

Tornadoes 1-0 Sunshine Stars

Yobe DS 1-1 Enyimba

Go Round 2-2 Rangers

MFM 2-1 Katsina Utd


Goals:- 29

Home Wins:- 7

Draws:- 3

Home Goals:- 20

Away Goals:- 9

Culled from by Ike Onwubuya


Top five Nigerian goalkeepers of all time

By Ajibade Olusesan March 17, 2018

Nigeria has produced some great goalkeepers, with most of them so good that it is almost impossible to come up with the best among them. From Sam Ibiam, Carl O’Dwyer , Eyo Essien, Emmanuel Ominunu, Olu Onagoruwa, Joe Erico to the likes of Amusa Adisa, Alloy Agwu, Willy Okpara, David Ngodigha, to Wilfred Agbonavbare Nigeria’s history is replete with great shot stoppers.

The five below are arguably the best the country has ever produced.

Peter Fregene:

He’s regarded as the longest serving goalkeeper in the history of Nigeria as he played across three decades from the 1960s up till the 1980s.

Fregene broke into national consciousness in the 60’s with stellar showing for ECN FC and got rewarded with a slot in the team to the 1968 Olympics; he was best remembered for his heroics in Nigeria’s 2-2 draw with Brazil at the Games. He was the first choice until 1971 when he lost his place in the then Green Eagles.

His international career in seemed over for more than a decade until he resurfaced to the lead the line for the then defending champions in the 1982 African Cup of Nations in Libya, although it was a calamitous campaign for Nigeria in Libya as the team that had won the AFCON trophy two years earlier terribly capitulated.

Emmanuel Okala

He was larger than life during his time; a goalkeeper with a frightening height. Whether he featured for Enugu Rangers, his club side, or the national team, he was the most feared last man standing. He had a long reach that complemented his reflexes; his goal kicks were as vicious as a rocket; Okala was the master.

The former Onitsha Red Devils goalie spent less than a decade in the national team but made a lasting impression with his remarkable achievement which included victory at the African Cup of Nations in 1980. His exploits with Rangers were more pronounced; he was the most outstanding player as the Flying Antelopes won the 1977 African Cup Winners tournament. He was even named the African Player of the Year in 1978 by African Sports Journalists Union.

Sadly, Okala left the national team in acrimonious circumstances after he was overlooked in Nigeria’s triumph at AFCON in 1980 but he had done enough to etch his name in history.

Best Ogedegbe

Segun Odegbami was arguably the most popular figure as Nigeria won her maiden AFCON title in 1980 on home soil, but Ogedegbe was one of the top performers held in high esteem by jubilant fans. He had helped his club side IICC of Ibadan to victory in the African Cup Winners title in 1976, the first by a Nigerian outfit, but was constantly behind Enugu Rangers’ Okala in pecking order in the national team. Surprisingly, Coach Otto Gloria dropped the more illustrious Okala for Best who kept the goal throughout the tournament. He was arguably the most skillful goalkeeper the country had ever had; as a goalie he scored many penalties for his club IICC and frightened many opponents into losing theirs with his usual psychological tricks. He would go into a game boasting no one would get a ball past him and most times it turned out that way, he was a master trickster.

Inua Lawal Rigogo:

So much folklore about the former ECN shot stopper; he reigned in the 60’s and many old generation of football fans who are still alive today regard him as the most flamboyant goalie. He was a showman, his usual acrobatic displays made many people believed he was not ordinary. He was so good at the tricks that even revered Ghana President Kwame Nkurmah was so enamored he nicknamed the Nigerian as ‘the Flying Cat’ when the Eagles played against the Black Stars.

He possesses the record as the goalkeeper that conceded the least number of goals for the national team having conceded just four despite playing for more than eight years for the country.

Peter Rufai:

He might not have the flamboyance of Ogedegbe, Rigogo or the frightening reputation of Okala, to the new generation of Nigerian football fans, Rufai is the best the country has ever produced. He was the first man to be in goal for the country at the FIFA World Cup in 1994 and one of the longest serving shot stoppers in the country. He became so popular through his efforts at Stationery Stores in the late 80s and even took his career to Europe where he featured for Lokeren, Beveren, GoAhead Eagles and Deportivo la Coruna. There were good goalkeepers during his time with the national team but anytime he was around he would still be picked ahead of the likes of Agu, Ngodigha, Okpara and even Agbonvbare.

Anytime Nigeria ran into trouble, he was always the man the country turned to just like in the 1994 and 1998 World Cup.

Culled from By Ike Onwubuya

‘I love defeating my former teams’ – Enugu Rangers’ Ogunbote relishes Enyimba victory

The Flying Antelopes secured their first win in four meetings with the People’s Elephants and the gaffer is pleased subduing his former side

Gbenga Ogunbote is delighted after Enugu Rangers recorded a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Enyimba at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium on Sunday.

Prior to the encounter, the Flying Antelopes were without a win in their last three league games and had hoped to bounce back against the People’s Elephants.

Luckily, Bright Silas’ fifth-minute header was all the Enugu based side required to earn their first win in four games against Paul Aigbogun’s men.

And Ogunbote, who steered the Aba giants to the Caf Confederation Cup spot last season, admits joy after he led his side to victory over his former employers in an oriental derby.

“It was a derby and we saw the quality of the derby in it,” he told Goal.

“It was a difficult one for me and I expected it. You must realize that I was the former coach of Enyimba last season and they were coming to play against me for the first time.

“It was beyond playing against Rangers for them, so they wanted to do everything to make sure they win. Like I told the players before the game that they must raise their game and play for me and not Rangers this time around.

“I thank God it turned out well. It was just like any other game, though I love defeating my former team when I play them.”

“I try as much as I can, not celebrate it. It was a good one because it shows you were a factor when you were there,” he continued.

“It is not the first time because I’ve been in the kind of system for a long time. Derbies are always difficult and the fans are not always patience because they want their team to win.

“But of course, it was a good one for Enugu Rangers because we were able to manage that one goal, though in a derby game you don’t expect a huge number of goals the one we got, we were able to defend it and got the three points.”

Culled from Goal.Com by Ike Onwubuya