Confidence is very important feature in football. Have an excess of it and the underdog could shock you. Have it in low amounts and even the worse teams can take you out. But with just the right amount of it, you are unplayable and Rangers have just the right amount at the moment. Just before the season started, Coach Amapakabo’s [below] role was being debated. Should be be allowed to stay? Should he be fired? The former prevailed and look, Rangers are in cloud 9, playing football without the handbrakes and there’s even talk of breaking a 32 year old title drought.
They were impressive against Abia Warriors, a side that has not beaten them since their inception. Rather than lose, Rangers almost got maximum points in front of the Warriors’ home support in Umuahia after going ahead twice. They look the real deal, unbeaten in five now.
Flashpoint Moment of the Week: (Omotayo Adegbogun, Giwa FC vs Sunshine Stars)
Struggling Sunshine Stars without a win all season made the trip to Jos to face Giwa FC. Managerial and boardroom tussles will always have an adverse effect on a team’s performance so it was all perfectly set up for a field day for the home team, Giwa FC. But football had different plans for us and Sunshine Stars stood tall, repelling all the side from Jos threw at them. 90 minutes of regulation time played, five minutes would be added for stoppages and the visitors were hanging on but in the last minute of the five added, their resistance eventually buckled. Omotayo Adegbogun who was just introduced minutes prior broke the deadlock that meant the battling visitors left Jos empty handed.
Goal of the Week: Nico Dao (FC Ifeanyi Ubah vs Ikorodu United)
Inarguably, the best goal scored in the country at the weekend was Mfon Udoh’s first against Vital’O FC of Burundi but that would not count as this is strictly NPFL arena. Next up hence has to be Nico Dao’s opener for FC Ifeanyi Ubah against Ikorodu United. Making his home debut, the Malian introduced himself to the home faithful in spectacular fashion, putting his team ahead with just ten minutes played. The goal itself was classic as well; neatly plucking off Chibuzor Okonkwo’s long punt before turning and volleying home from edge of the area in a flash. Nnewi fans have gone beyond just celebrating their exciting array of foreigners, they are now being treated to beautiful goals.
Gaffer of the Week: Mitko Dobrev:
About this time last season, the Bulgarian was working wonders with this team, trashing whoever they lured into their Beverly hill den. But someone felt he wasn’t doing his job well and got him fired. His exit was the start of a slump and the team barely hung on to survive. But this season, he is back and somehow he keeps legion of foreigners on song weekly. Home or away, they do give a good account of themselves and there’s hardly a week here we don’t mention their heroics. Dobrev tried out new man in attack against FC Ikorodu and his choice was a perfect one, the new striker getting a brace of the quartet scored. They are quietly going about their work, staying in touch with the League leaders and as long as no one repeats last season’s mistake, they look good enough for some landmark achievement.
Inspirational Man of the Week: Friday Ubong (Akwa United vs Plateau United).
Football can be cruel and ruthless a times. Zachary Baraje made a return to the club he coached last season. He had not only kept the side head above water but he helped them to their first ever trophy. By the end of the celebrations, both parties part ways and while the Uyo based club went for Maurice Cooreman, Zachary Baraje was snapped up by newly promoted side Plateau United. Match Day 6’s first fixture was homecoming for Baraje as he led his Plateau United side to Uyo.
The home team showed no mercy for the former gaffer as they were all over his young inexperienced team from the opening minutes but for all of their attacking intent, they could find no breakthrough. Until Friday Ubong, a player that Coach Baraje discovered and handed his first professional contract with Akwa United stepped up and settled matters. His glancing header put Akwa ahead in the first period before his second half strike put the game firmly beyond Baraje and the visitors.