By Fisayo Dario
Abia Warriors recorded back-to-back wins in the league for the first time since May 2019 after an impressive 4-1 win over Warri Wolves in Okigwe on Sunday.
For a team so troubled after failing to win any of their first seven games this season, achieving such result by MatchDay 11 seemed such an impossible ask within that time frame.
The wins have however not come easy as Abia Warriors were made to work extremely hard for them. On MatchDay 10, midfielder Daniel Wotlai was sent off with over thirty minutes to play but Warriors held on for a 1-0 win over Rangers while Sunday’s emphatic win over Wolves came after the hosts had found themselves behind within the opening three minutes.
Striker Godwin Obaje started both games (his first consecutive starts for the club) and repaid his manager’s confidence with two well taken goals either side of half time. They were his first goals for the club and an elated Obaje was particularly delighted that his side won.
“I’m very very happy because as a striker, you need to contribute to your team by scoring even if you’re not in the game. Our main objectives as strikers is to score so I’m very happy. Though we conceded early, we had to show character and at the end we’re happy to win the game,” he told www.npfl.ng after the game.
Sunday’s win moved Warriors a little up the log to 16th position, out of the relegation zone for the first time in nine matchdays. Obaje, returning to the league after a brief spell in North Africa gives credit to head coach Imama Amapakabo for the mini-turnaround, describing him as “one of the best coaches in the country”.
“Well, as you can see, we have one of the best coaches in the country in the team because when things were not going well, it wasn’t as if we were playing badly. Just that sometimes you need luck and at first I think luck was not on our side.
“So, now we’ve made some amendments and more training so I believe that it’s the training and then, luck seem to have swung our way now. So things are going well,” added the former Wikki Tourists striker.
Competition for striking role
Obaje has been sharing the lone striking position with Utibe Arit Archibong and Lukman Bello this season with Obaje the only one among them yet to score this term until his brace on Sunday.
He comes with plenty of pedigree after winning the league’s top scorer gong in 2016 and followed it up with a couple of seasons laden with goals at Abia Warriors’ Oriental rivals FC Ifeanyiubah. The player says he and his attacking teammates see no competition among themselves but a friendly attitude to work for the team.
“There is no competition among us because we love ourselves as brothers. Anyone that the coach starts depending on the situation of the game, we encourage each other and love each other as brothers.
“Normally as a striker, I know all eyes will be on me and people are waiting for my goals so my plan as a striker is to keep on scoring and even if I don’t score, let my team win, that’s my main objective, to keep on doing my best for the team,” Obaje submitted.
Abia Warriors are already on the road to Ilorin for a crunchy date with Kwara United on Wednesday in a MatchDay 12 clash.