Hattrick Boy, Alhassan Ibrahim
By Ekine Moseph
ElKanemi Warriors continued their winning streak at
home with yet another win; Enyimba grab bragging rights in the Oriental Derby handing
Imama Amapakabo’s Rangers International yet another defeat and high flying MFM
FC were thrashed  but here are 5 things
we learned from NPFL match day 17.
Enyimba rule the
East but what next for Imama?
Though they were playing in the Nigerian-Southern
city of Calabar, Enyimba came from behind to defeat eastern neighbours, Rangers
International 2-1 adding more wore to the flying Antelopes.
Trailing by a lone goal at halftime, substitute
Chukwude Stephen drew the people’s elephants level ten minutes after the
restart with talismanic striker and captain Mfon Udoh scoring a late winner to
hand Rangers a fourth defeat in five games in the NPFL.
Enyimba might have won the three points, but much of
the talk will be about the fate of Rangers boss, Imama Amapakabo.
After the team’s ouster in the CAF Champions League,
the Management of Rangers lead by Christian Chukwu handed Imama and his
coaching crew a three match ultimatum to save their jobs.
He’s failed to win in any of those three games, in
fact to put it in context Rangers have lost 2 and drawn 1 of the three must-win
Yet again his team let a lead slip just like they
did on match day 16 against Remo Stars having lead 1-0.
Supporters of the club unfurled a banner in support
of the coach who won Rangers’ first league title after a 32-year wait in that
match but it remains to be seen what the Management of Rangers might do next.
Could this be bye-bye Imama?
Remo Stars
finding form
Check this stat out: Remo Stars have won three of
their last four games in the NPFL. Surprised eh? The sky blues started the
season with results reminiscent of last season’s league campaigners, Ikorodu
United which led many to predict they could suffer the same fate as did Ikorodu
United, but Remo Stars are beginning to find their feet in the Nigeria Professional
Football League.
Up against fellow newly promoted side, Katsina
United in Sagamu under the watchful eyes of Super Eagles assistant coach Salisu
Yusuf, the Sky Blues left it late to put Katsina United to the sword.
Dufegha Eric scored on 89th minute to send the home
fans into delirium.
They might still find themselves near the bottom of
the table when the other bottom sides; Rivers United and Rangers play their
outstanding games, but coach Fatai Osho will definitely be pleased with the positive
run of results they’ve put together.
Nasarawa United turn
on the style on MFM
Not very often do we see such a score line in the
NPFL, especially against an in-form side in the league but Nasarawa United did
put on a show for their paying customers with a walloping of Mountain of Fire and
Miracles Ministries Football Club.
MFM FC’s coach, Fidelis Ilechukwu took the bold
approach of naming the deadly trio of Chukwuka Onuwa, Sikiru Olatunbosun and
Stephen Odey in the starting line-up signalling his intent to go on the
Nasarawa United raced out of the blocks scoring as
early as in the first minute through Adamu Hassan’s header leaving the Olukoya
boys rattled.
As expected, MFM held their own until the 61st when
they went two goals down.
Yinka Onaolapo who assisted the first goal got his name
on the score sheet.
Anthony Oussou and Abdulrahman Bashir scored the
third and fourth goal in the closing stages of the game to condemn MFM FC to a
4-0 defeat for the second time this season (FC Ifeanyi Ubah also thrashed MFM
4-0 on matchday 2)
Mathias Samuel,
Sunday Adetunji proving to be indispensables
Where will ElKanemi Warriors and in particular Abia
Warriors be without Mathias Samuel and Sunday Adetunji?
Both players yet again showed how important they are
to their sides.
Mathias Samuel’s solitary strike, his ninth goal of
the season proved decisive in settling a northern derby against Kano Pillars. A
victory that sees the Borno Army continue their streak of consecutive​ wins at
the Maiduguri stadium.
While Samuel was producing the goods in Maiduguri,
Sunday Adetunji went one better by scoring a brace in Abia Warriors’ 2-0 destruction
of ABS FC at the Umuahia Township Stadium.
Having joined from Shooting Stars where he scored 10
goals in the 2015/2016 season, Adetunji is proving last season’s exploits was
no fluke at all.
With just 17 match days gone, he has scored 9 goals
already just 4 goals behind NPFL top scorer Stephen Odey.
If ElKanemi Warriors and Abia Warriors harbour any
hopes of finishing​ in the top-3 positions which I think they do, they must hope
their key men stay fit.
Alhassan Ibrahim
dazzles for Promise Keepers
Not very often do Players joining a new club hit the
ground running in the NPFL (just ask Gabriel Wassa at Rivers United) but Akwa
United’s Alhassan Ibrahim has taken little time to repay the faith Akwa United
coach Abdu Maikaba has shown in him.
Alhassan became only the third player to score a
hat-trick this season joining the illustrious company of Plateau United’s
Reuben Bala and MFM FC’s Stephen Odey.
For a Central midfielder, it epitomises the
potential Alhassan has to be a box-to-box midfielder.

With a gangly looking physique and a good eye for
goal, Alhassan Ibrahim has all the necessary ingredients to one day make it into
the Super Eagles squad.

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