Posted by: westafricanfootball | 26/12/2010

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE NIGERIAN PREMIER LEAUGE (PART ONE)

BUKOLA BABES FC

List of scorers after Round 8:

Abdulrahman Bashir 2, Abdullahi Ganni Ali 1, Akeem Audu 1, Ismaila Gata 1.

Observations:

* Right-back Cletus Promise James has been the talking point so far this season. James was signed from OUK FC Umuahia, a second level club, before 2010-2011. James was actually named in the squad of Nigeria B back in February 2010 and was regarded as one of the best defenders at second level in 2009-2010. In a fresh article from CompleteSportsNigeria, James is described as a confident and consistent right-back with a superb work rate. He apparently has “good shots and crosses with his stronger right-foot”, “great ball skills” and is quick, strong and sharp going forward. Further, he is described as a “modern-day right wing back, who bombs through the right flank before delivering measured crosses to the strikers”. James is most likely born in 1991.

CROWN FC

List of scorers after Round 8:

Gabriel Agu 2, Harrison Egbune 2, Moses Ayoola 1, Daniel Bode 1.

Observations:

* The creative central midfielder Philip Asuquo and attacking midfielder / left-winger Harrison Egbune has gotten the most headlines for Crown FC. Asuquo is described as s “maestro” in a recent article from MTN Football and apparently is a “great passer of the ball, creative, intelligent yet combative and a good marker”. Asuquo played for Plateau United FC in 2009-2010 (second level). Asuquo is most likely born in 1992.

1993-born Egbune has also been profiled by MTN Football in November and was described as a “raw gem” and a “left-footed player who is strong, fast and has a great technique, which makes him almost unstoppable when he is with the ball.”

* Other players that deserve attention are strong central defender John Fayoseh Fashanu (born 07.05.1990) and midfielder Nehemiah Ekong.

* Crown FC has signed on talented striker Yusuf Otubanjo (born 12.09.1992), who played for Nigeria in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Otubanjo was also part of Nigeria B earlier this year and featured for relegated Gateway FC in 2009-2010.

DOLPHINS FC

List of scorers after Round 8:

Captain Ejindu 2, Owusu Addai 1, Abdul Ajagun 1, Emma Godwin 1, Victor Michael 1, Uche Oguchi 1, Omoh Ojabu 1.

Observations:

* Attacker Abdul Ajagun (born 10.02.1993) was a few days ago included in the Nigeria B-squad for an invitational tournament to be held In USA in February 2011.

* Top striker Captain Ejindu is back in form. Ejindu was linked to Enyimba FC before the new season but fortunately for Dolphins, decided to stay. Ejindu has been a key player for Dolphins for the last three years, but played for city rivals Sharks FC in 2007-2008.

* Emem Eduok is a player that has caught my eye. The new signing from second level club Akwa United FC has forced his way into the first team and is a lively winger.

ENYIMBA FC

List of scorers after Round 8:

Ifeanyi Ede 2, John Chukwudi 1, Chijioke Ejiogu 1, Josiah Maduabuchi 1.

Observations:

* Left-back Valentine Nwabili and winger Uche Kalu (born 14.11.1987) was a few days ago included in the Nigeria B-squad for an invitational tournament to be held In USA in February 2011.

* Experienced central midfielder Chidozie Johnson (born 06.03.1983) appears to be captain of Enyimba FC this season.

* Central midfielder Rasheed Olabiyi is back at Enyimba FC after trials at Greek outfit Asteras Tripoli in November 2010. Olabiyi featured for Enyimba against Rangers International FC on 23.12.2010.

GOMBE UNITED FC

List of scores after Round 8:

Ahmed Aliyu 2, Lazarus Chukwu 2, Mustapha Babadidi 1, George Chinwuba 1, Idris Habu 1, MacMarcel Obioha 1, Ifeanyi Okoro 1, Rafiu Salaudeen 1.

Observations:

* The official webpage of Gombe United FC recently published the squad-list for 2010-2011:

Tijjani Adamu, Ayuba Aliyu, Lawan Salisu, Umar Ahmed, Mustapha Babadidi, Jelly Yekini, Rafiu Salaudeen, Sanusi Sani, Idris Habu, Yusuf Alhassan, Ifeanyi Okoro, Ahmed Yusuf, Manu Sunday Gidado, Kenneth Ehis, George Chinwuba, MacMarcel Obioha, Bright Ebighagha, Yakubu Gambo, Linus Tochukwu, Danjuma Hassani, Durba Dibi, Samuel Chinedu, Saleem Sulieman, Alhaji Kwaranga, Bala Manu, Suleman Usman, Ibrahim Ndala, Timothy Simon, Ibrahim Abdullahi, Uche Azubike, Jude Ebitowa, Ahmed Aliyu, Sunday Eleseku, Okemmiri Ikechukwu, Lazarus Chukwu.

* Midfielder Lazarus Chukwu, the former Warri Wolves FC and Zamfara United FC player, was a few days ago included in the Nigeria B-squad for an invitational tournament to be held In USA in February 2011.

* Winger Rafiu Salaudeen (born 14.07.1983) is an experienced performer who played for ES Setif of Algeria in 2006-2007. He has also played for Al-Ittihad (Libya) and Olympique de Béja(Tunisia).

* Attacker Linus Tochukwu (born 10.10.1988) is a former member of Nigeria U-17.

* Winger Ikechukwu Okemmiri is the brother of Ogbonnaya Okemmiri and Anthony Okemmiri of Kwara United. He was formerly of Lobi Stars FC and Nasarawa United FC.

HEARTLAND FC

List of scores after Round 8:

Osas Okoro 3, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu 1, Bello Musa Kofarmata 1, Okey Nwadike 1, Joshua Obaja 1, Stanley Ohawuchi 1, Olusesi Temitope 1.

Observations:

* The official webpage of Heartland FC recently published the squad-list for 2010-2011:

Bello Musa Kofarmata, Chibuzor Okonkwo, Chigozie Ntagbu, Emmanuel Olowo, Obinna Stephen Nwachukwu, Michael Babatunde, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, Chukwuka Onuwa, Kenneth Edozue, Bethel Nwogu, Gege Soriola, Daniel Akpeyi, Joseph Jackson, Kingsley Udoh, Joshua Obaje, Austin Brown, Julius Ubido, Okey Nwadike, James Mmaju, Chinedu Efugh, Okesieme Okeahialam, Uchenna Orisakwe, Morris Enete, Osas Okoro, Olusesi Temitope, Rafiu Monsuru, Akpan Bassey, Samuel Chukwudi, Orji Kalu Okagbue, Hamzat Jamiu, Anthony Chinedu Udeh.

* After months of rumors, it can also be confirmed that Stanley Ohawuchi (born 27.05.1990) has joined Heartland FC. Ohawuchi scored 14 goals for Bayelsa United FC in 2008-2009 and was part of Nigeria U-20 in 2008 and 2009. Ohawuchi is a petit, very quick and tricky striker.

* Versatile attacker Hamzat Jamiu has made an impressive start to his career in Nigerian football. Jamiu was profiled by MTN Football earlier this month and was described as a player with “superb balance”, “great technique” who is skillful, powerful and fast. Jamiu can play on both wings but also has enough aerial power enough to play as a center forward. Jamiu is most likely born in 1991.

* Heartland FC are currently focusing on young players. Creative midfielder Obinna Stephen Nwachukwu (born 18.01.1992), striker Michael Babatunde, midfield dynamo Chukwuka Onuwa, Bethel Nwogu, striker Olusesi Temitope, Rafiu Monsuru, as well as the mentioned Hamzat Jamiu, are all teenagers who have made some impressive performances so far this season.

* Goalkeeper Akpan Bassey (born 06.01.1984), versatile defender Chibuzor Okonkwo (born 16.12.1988), central defender Gege Soriola (born 21.11.1988), playmaker Ikechukwu Ibenegbu (born 22.02.1986), captain and all-round midfielder Julius Ubido (born 29.12.1984) and Heartland’s top goalscorer, the talented striker Osas Okoro, were a few days ago included in the Nigeria B-squad for an invitational tournament to be held In USA in February 2011.

JUTH FC

List of scores after Round 8:

James Amankwe 3, Chris Madaki 1.

Observations:

* Attacker Uche Martins has joined JUTH FC. Martins was impressive for Wikki Tourists FC in 2008-2009. Hopefully he will provide Ghanaian top striker James Amankwe with much-needed support.

* JUTH FC has one of the oldest players in the Nigerian Premier League in goalkeeper Emmanuel Abah, born 28.12.1976. He is competing with the agile Eze Fidelis for the number one shirt.

* Chris Madaki, the left wing-back most likely born in 1992, was one of “Ten players to watch” for the 2010-2011 season according to SuperSport. Madaki was described as a player with a “sweet left foot that can hit the ball with so much power behind it”. His dead-ball skills and pace on the left-flank is very important to JUTH FC.

KADUNA UNITED FC

List of scorers after Round 8:

Jude Aneke 4, Yusuf Siman 3, Rabiu Yusuf Baita 1, Emmanuel Bivan 1, Elvis Kingsley 1.

Observations:

* I have a theory that striker Jude Aneke, born 07.01.1989, currently must have the best average goal scoring record in the Nigeria Premier League. He has scored all together 14 goals in the league in less than 28 performances. According to a fresh interview, Aneke joined Kaduna United FC in the middle of 2009-2010 from Ebonyi Angels FC, a club that I think performed on third level of the Nigeria football pyramid.

* Experienced midfielder Elvis Kingsley (born 27.05.1982) could prove to be a genius signing. Kingsley has been described as a creative player with speed, skills, excellent passes and a good shot. He performed for top-clubs Enyimba FC and Heartland FC before joining Kaduna United FC before the season.

* Goalkeeper Chinedu Agwu and left-winger Femi Emmanuel Balogun, presented in my post from 16.11.2010, were a few days ago included in the Nigeria B-squad for an invitational tournament to be held In USA in February 2011.

KANO PILLARS FC

List of scorers after Round 8:

Mohammed Gambo 3, Nasiru Ali 2, Sheriff Isa 2, Rabiu Ali 1, Mohammed Shehu Shagari 1, Mannir Ubale 1.

Observations:

* Lanky midfield general Reuben Gabriel was recently profiled by MTN Football and was described as the best midfielder in the Nigeria Premier League, as well as a player with “a big engine” and “great staying power”. He also is a good ball winner, packs a good shot and is good on both land and air. According to the article, Gabriel is 19 years old. When Gabriel was included in the squad of Nigeria Earlier this year, a Japanese website claimed Gabriel was born 19.11.1985. However, Gabriel was part of Nigeria U-20 during 2008 so I personally find it hard to believe that he currently is 25 years old.

* Attacker Sheriff Isa, born 10.11.1990, is currently on fire. Isa scored 3 goals for Nigeria in the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup. He was also part of Nigeria B earlier this year.

* Mohammed Gambo (born 10.03.1988) is one of the best target men in Nigeria, apparently 192 centimeters. He is big, strong and blessed with great aerial power.

* Central defender Abdulwasiu Showemimo (born 10.10.1988), that I wrote about in my post from 27.10.2010, playmaker Rabiu Ali, attacking midfielder Moses Ogaga (born 03.08.1987) and John Huan, the creative attacker signed from Dolphins FC, were a few days ago included in the Nigeria B-squad for an invitational tournament to be held In USA in February 2011. Huan is apparently on his way to a trial period at a Turkish club.

KWARA UNITED FC

List of scorers after Round 8:

Gbenga Arokoyo 1, Imenger Barnabas 1, Sherif Jimoh 1, Anthony Okemmiri 1, Isiaka Olawale, Femi Omotayo 1.

Observations:

* Youngster Anthony Okemmiri has been impressive this season and was profiled by MTN Football earlier this month. Okemmiri is a skillful, strong and very fast right-winger who is a dead ball specialist. His versatility means he can play as both a winger and a side-back. According to MTN Football, good dribbles are amongst his top qualities.

* According to SuperSport, strong and pacy left-winger Kelvin Kpakor and natural striker Barnabas Imenger, both teenagers, are two players to watch this season. Both players have already forced their way into the first team of Kwara United FC. According to the same article, Gbenga Arokoyo is a talented goalkeeper which obviously is incorrect. Arokoyo is an outfield-player who featured in central defence when he scored his first league goal in Round 6.

* Philip Auta, the talented right-winger, made his debut for Kwara United FC on 18.12.2010 against Lobi Stars FC. Auta featured for Enyimba FC last season.


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