Port Harcourt sides Sharks and Dolphins opened the New Year with difficult wins, at home to Enyimba and away to Crown respectively.
Those wins have seen the two Garden City clubs annex a huge chunk of the NPL’s first Team of the Week for the New Year.
Six of the top picks for this week’s team of the week, including coach Stanley Eguma, have come from Port Harcourt, and who can say they do not deserve it.
Sharks’ Senegalese center half Ousmane Pape Sane becomes the first foreign player to break into the weekly selection.
But there are also some interesting picks. Isiaka Olawale continues to make a case for veteran legs as he nipped in again after his two-goal display, and Warri Wolves’ Goodluck Onamado, who was applauded off the pitch, also earns his spot.
NPL WEEK 9 TEAM OF THE WEEK
GK: ROTIMI SUNDAY (DOLPHINS)
For a commanding performance in Ilaro against crown, helping his team not just to their second away victory of the season but also to the top of the log.
RIGHT BACK: VICTOR EZEMA (KADUNA UTD)
His adventurous exploits from the defence for his team contributed in no small measure to the victory recorded against the very gifted and tactically disciplined Sunshine Stars of Akure in Kaduna. Oh, and the goal helped too.
LEFT BACK: ABUBAKAR YUSUF (BUKOLA BABES)
Captain who led by example, driving his team on in a lung-bursting display against Niger Tornadoes.
CENTRE-BACK: OUSMANE PAPE SANE (SHARKS)
The Senegalese was massive in the centre of defence for the Blue Angels. His performance was one of the reasons that Sharks edged Enyimba by 2-1. Dolphins captain Emmah Godwin only just missed out here.
CENTRE-BACK: GOODLUCK ONAMADO (WOLVES)
How many times does a player get applauded off the pitch at the end by both sets of supporters, especially a defender? And yes, he scored, too against Zamfara United.
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD: ISIAKA OLAWALE (KWARA)
He won’t go away now, will he? An inspiring display from his deep lying position capped with two well taken goals kept his youthful but very hardworking team in the top 4 again.
RIGHT-MIDFIELDER: TOCHUKWU LINUS (GOMBE)
He is a forward, and scored again in the week under review, but such is the glut of attacking options that he ends up on the right hand side of the team as a midfielder cum forward.
ATTACKING MIDFIELD-CHIDI OSUCHUKWU(DOLPHINS)
Intelligent and extremely creative playmaker who marked his return from a short injury spell with the winner away from home for Dolphins against Crown in IIaro on Sunday.This former Gateway star is surely one of the shining prospects in the Nigeria premier league.
LEFT-MIDFIELDER-OMOH OJABU (DOLPHINS)
The under20 star slots into the left side of midfield in an attacking style. The former under17 midfielder ran the right side of Crown’s defence ragged. It was also Ojabu’s assist that led to Chidi Osuchukwu’s goal on 48 mins.
Efficient and pacy Ejike led the lines well for Sharks against a very determined Enyimba side that worked hard at getting something on the road in Port Harcourt in week 9.This Flying Eagles forward did his rising profiIe a lot of good with another outstanding performance last saturday.
COACH OF THE WEEK-STANLEY EGUMA(DOLPHINS)
For leading his wards back to the top of the log after picking up his second away victory of the season