Posted by: westafricanfootball | 05/02/2011

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE NIGERIAN PREMIER LEAGUE (PART ONE)

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE NIGERIAN PREMIER LEAGUE (PART ONE)

BUKOLA BABES FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Abdulrahman Bashir 4, Fade Adebayo 2, Effiom Otu Bassey 2, Abdullahi Ganni Ali 1, Akeem Audu 1, Ismaila Gata 1, Alhassan Saleh 1.

Observations:

* In my report from 29.01.2011 I was not able to define the position of key-player Fade Adebayo. Adebayo played as a central defender against Heartland FC on 29.01.2011.

* It was Alhassan Saleh who scored the only goal of the match against Heartland FC. Saleh was signed from Taraba FC, a second division side from Jalingo, during the January transfer window. Saleh is apparently a winger.

* Goalkeeper James Ayeyemi and left-back Abubakar Yusuf were named in the Nigeria Premier League Team of the week after the match against Heartland FC. Ayeyemi kept a clean sheet for the fifth match in a row.

* Highly regarded right-back Cletus Promise James was a few days ago included in the squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team.

CROWN FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

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

Observations:

* Midfielder Ibrahim Babalola, described as a “box-to-box” kind of player, has been one of the key performers for Crown FC this season. Babalola was named in the Nigeria Premier League Team of the week after the match against Shooting Stars FC on 30.01.2011. Babalola can also play in the defence.

* According to several reports, wonderboy Harrison Egbune, an attacking midfielder, and Philip Asuquo, a creative playmaker, have both joined Sunshine Stars FC. I am not able to confirm these transfers at the time of writing, although it seems highly likely that the transfer of Egbune has taken place. If this is the case, the transfer represents a major loss for Crown FC. Egbune has been training with the Nigeria B national football team earlier this year.

* Central defender John Fayoseh Fashanu (born 07.05.1990) has had an impressive season so far and is definitely a player to watch.

* Crown FC are struggling to score goals and will be hoping that strikers Gabriel Agu (born 15.06.1985), Moses Ayoola and Daniel Bode manages to improve their performances.

* Ayo Babalola, not to be confused with Ibrahim Babalola, was a few days ago included in the squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team.

DOLPHINS FC PORT HARCOURT

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Captain Ejindu 3, Abdul Ajagun 2, Uche Oguchi 2, Owusu Addai 1, Emma Godwin 1, Victor Michael 1, Omoh Ojabu 1, Chidi Osuchukwu 1.

Observations:

* Towering goalkeeper Sunday Rotimi (born 08.03.1980) and lively winger Abdul Ajagun (born 10.02.1993) have been training with the Nigeria B national football team in January and looks set for the Obama Invitational Tournament that will be played in the United States later this month.

* The talented winger Omoh Ojabu (born 14.12.1992) is apparently suspended by the club, guilty of leaving the camp without permission.

* Joseph Obinna Nwafor (born 05.05.1983), the lanky striker who had an impressive season at Dolphins in 2009-2010, is now playing for Vietnamese club Becamex Binh Duong.

* The players of Dolphins FC are presented in my post from 22.01.2011. From my point of view, Abdul Ajagun and playmaker Chidi Osuchukwu (born 16.02.1990) are the two most interesting players of Dolphins FC.

ENYIMBA FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Ifeanyi Ede 2, John Chukwudi 1, Chijioke Ejiogu 1, Amakiri George 1, Chidozie Johnson 1,

Josiah Maduabuchi 1, Junior Osagie 1.

Observations:

* Enyimba FC have signed experienced defender John Agbawu and the up and coming striker Victor Barnabas (born 04.05.1988), presented in my post from 07.12.2010, both from Lobi Stars FC. Agbawu is a versatile defender who can play as a right wing-back or left wing-back. Barnabas was a shining star for Lobi Stars FC but will experience a lot more pressure at top club Enyimba FC.

* Nnaemeka Anyanwu (born 21.10.1988) has developed into an excellent central defender who I think deserves a change in a bigger league than the Nigerian. Anyanwu’s style of play can sometimes be compared to the old-fashioned libero, as he sweeps up the ball if the opponent manages to breach the defensive line. His ability to read the game is impressive. Anyanwu played for Enugu Rangers FC for several years before joining Enyimba FC before the 2009-2010 season.

* The tricky and extremely fast winger Philip Auta played a couple of matches for Kwara United FC earlier this season, but is now back at Enyimba FC.

* Charles Ikenna, Enyimba’s young midfielder, was in January 2011 included in the preliminary squad of the Nigeria U-20 national football team. Ikenna is a rather unknown player to me at the time of writing. The petit attacking midfielder Ahmed Kadiri (born 13.09.1992), signed from Bayelsa United FC before the season, and attacker Nonso Elias, signed from Enugu Rangers FC before the season, were both included in the same squad.

* Left-back Valentine Nwabili and midfielder Bernard Okorowanta (born 11.12.1986) have been training with the Nigeria B national football team in January, trying to get into the squad for the Obama Invitational Tournament that will be played in the United States later this month. Okorowanta was signed from Bayelsa United FC before the season and is apparently in top form after a rather slow start at the club.  Okorowanta has previously played for Maccabi Tel-Aviv (Israel) and Sivaspor (Turkey). He has been part of both Nigeria U-20, Nigeria U-23 and Nigeria B during the last seven years. A quality player that Enyimba FC will expect big things from.

* Earlier this month, left-back Emmanuel Anyanwu, right-back Mackson Ojobo, defensive midfielder Eneji Otekpa (born 05.02.1989), creative midfielder Temitope Alao and striker Ifeanyi Ede, were all included in the preliminary squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team.

* Enyimba FC have been struggling hard to get goals this season but I expect things to improve. Junior Osagie (born 15.01.1985), has been injury-plagued but has played the last couple of matches and should become the top striker of the club this season. Ifeanyi Ede, Victor Barnabas and Nonso Elias are all highly talented players but I think they need an experienced performer like Osagie to lead the way. Sakibu Atanda (born 20.03.1988) and Amakiri George will also be hoping for time on the field but competition is tough at Enyimba FC.

* Uche Kalu (born 14.11.1987), the injury plagued attacker, has left Enyimba FC and joined Vietnamese club Vissai Ninh Binh. It can now also be confirmed that Osas Idehen (born 13.05.1990), Enyimba FC’s top striker for the last couple of seasons, is playing in Vietnam for Hai Phong FC.

GOMBE UNITED FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

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

Observations:

* Gombe United FC have signed experienced goalkeeper Uche Akubuike (born 17.03.1980).

* Central defender Kenneth Ehis and midfielder Lazarus Chukwu are both having strong seasons and has been training with the Nigeria B national football team in January, trying to get into the squad for the Obama Invitational Tournament that will be played in the United States later this month.

* Earlier this month, Ibrahim Abdullahi was included in the preliminary squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team. As far as I know, this is the third season of Abdullahi at Gombe United FC but there is not much information to find about the player.

HEARTLAND FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Osas Okoro 3, Bello Musa Kofarmata 2, Joshua Obaje 2, Chinedu Efugh 1, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu 1, Okey Nwadike 1, Stanley Ohawuchi 1, Temitope Olusesi 1, Own Goals 1.

Observations:

* Morris Enete is definitely a player to watch. Enete, born in 1991, is a midfielder who has been training with the Nigeria U-20 national football team in January. Apparently, Enete was spotted by Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia when he was playing football for a non-league side from Owerri. Enete joined Heartland FC early on in the current season and although he is not yet fully established at the Heartland first team his progress during few months has been nothing less than impressive.

* Three other Heartland-players have been training with the Nigeria U-20 national football team in January. These include goalkeeper Anthony Chinedu Udeh (born 13.06.1991), winger Hamzat Jamiu (born 16.01.1991) and midfielder Obinna Stephen Nwachukwu (born 18.01.1992). It is interesting to see that Heartland FC obviously have been focusing on the development of talent instead of buying experienced players.

* Some of the more experienced players of Heartland FC have been working hard to get into the squad for the Obama Invitational Tournament that will be played in the United States later this month. The players include goalkeeper Akpan Bassey (born 06.01.1984), wing-back Chibuzor Okonwko (born 16.12.1988), central defender Gege Soriola (born 21.11.1988), playmaker Ikechukwu Ibenegbu (born 22.02.1986), attacking midfielder Julius Ubido (born 29.12.1984) and striker Osas Okoro.

* Highly regarded central defender Kingsley Udoh (born 07.12.1990) was earlier this month included in the preliminary squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team. Udoh was one of the heroes of Nigeria’s all-conquering Golden Eaglets class of 2007.

JUTH FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

James Amankwe 3, Chris Madaki 1, Kabir Umar 1.

Observations:

* With only five scored goals in 11 matches, it is easy to see where the problems of JUTH FC lie. Ghanaian striker James Amankwe has done well and I know that other clubs have noticed the young striker. If he travels abroad for trials JUTH FC will have a serious problem.

* Hopefully strong striker Victor Yakubu, who apparently was top goalscorer in 2009-2010, will soon find his scoring boots. He has yet to score goals this season.

* JUTH FC signed three exciting players before the season that have yet to make a mark. Iloe Malachy is a striker who played for Al-Amal Atbara from Sudan in 2010. Malachy is actually a rather experienced performer from the Sudanese league. He played for Ahli Wad Medani in 2007 and 2008 before he joined Al-Hilal Port Sudan in 2009. In 2010 he played for Al-Amal Atbara in the African Confederations Cup. Malachy has been scoring regularly in Sudan and big things were expected from him. The other player is Williams Targaba Adams (born 04.10.1988) who played for the Nigeria U-18 national football team in the 2005 UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup. Apparently he was playing together with Malachy at Al-Amal Atbara. The third player was Tochukwu Nwankwo (born 27.04.1988) who played for NK Koper in Slovenia in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. According to www.prvaliga.si he played 21 matches and scored one goal for NK Koper. Nwankwo is a midfielder.

KADUNA UNITED FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Jude Aneke 4, Yusuf Siman 4, Fidelis Saviour 2, Rabiu Yusuf Baita 1, Emmanuel Bivan 1,Victor Ezema 1, Elvis Kingsley 1.

Observations:

* Sani Aruwa and Yusuf Siman were earlier this month included in the preliminary squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team. I have previously written that Aruwa is born 24.04.1987 so I was a bit surprised to read about his inclusion. Yusuf Siman was profiled by SuperSport in January 2011 and he was described as a rather small, sharp-shooting striker who has previously been with amateur-club El-Cruzeiro and Ranchers Bees FC.

* Experienced goalkeeper Chinedu Agwu and winger Femi Emmanuel Balogun, presented in my post from 16.11.2010, are both Nigeria B candidates for the Obama Invitational Tournament that will be played in the United States later this month.

* Right-back Victor Ezema has gotten some rave reviews this season and looks set for a breakthrough in Nigerian football.

* Experienced midfielder Elvis Kingsley (born 27.05.1982) has apparently joined Lobi Stars FC during January 2011.

KANO PILLARS FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Mohammed Gambo 4, Nasiru Ali 2, Sheriff Isa 2, Victor Namo 2, Mohammed Shehu Shagari 2, Joseph Atang Thompson 1, Mannir Ubale 1.

Observations:

* I personally think Kano Pillars FC have the best team in Nigeria when all players are fit and available. However, I believe Pillars will experience problems later this season as a lot of players could be heading for trials abroad. Top goalscorer Mohammed Gambo (born 10.03.1988), one of the best target men in Nigerian football, deserves a chance in a bigger leagues after several good seasons in Nigeria. Reuben Gabriel, arguably the best defensive midfielder in the Nigerian Premier League, has already had trials in Turkey. Sheriff Isa (born 10.11.1990), the former Nigeria U-17 international player, will soon be on the radar of foreign clubs. Joseph Atang Thompson (born 14.02.1989), has been strongly linked to American club Sporting Kansas City. Striker Victor Namo (born 03.11.1988) and central defender Abdulwasiu Showemimo (born 10.10.1988) are players of such quality that I doubt they will be staying in Nigeria all season.

* Abdulwasiu Showemimo, playmaker Rabiu Ali, midfielder Moses Ogaga (born 03.08.1987), attacker John Huan, Mohammed Gambo, Reuben Gabriel, Joseph Atang Thompson and Sheriff Isa have all been training with the Nigeria B national football team in January, trying to get into the squad for the Obama Invitational Tournament that will be played in the United States later this month.

* Goalkeeper Joel Afelokhai Theophilus (born 07.04.1988) and Reuben Gabriel were earlier this month included in the preliminary squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team. I have previously written that Reuben Gabriel was born 19.11.1985, based on a Japanese source, but I now believe that this is incorrect.

* Kano Pillars FC have signed midfielder Eugene Obi Ohunta (born 06.12.1987), formerly of NK Drava of Slovenia.

KWARA UNITED FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Isiaka Olawale 3, Gbenga Arokoyo 1, Imenger Barnabas 1, Sherif Jimoh 1, Anthony Okemmiri 1, Femi Omotayo 1, Kabiru Sanusi 1.

Observations:

* Gbenga Arokoyo is definitely a player to watch. The teenage central defender has been a revelation this season. Arokoyo has been training with the Nigeria B national football team in January and looks set for the Obama Invitational Tournament that will be played in the United States later this month. Attacking midfielder Yusuf Jaiyeola (born 11.11.1984) has also participated in training sessions.

* According to http://naijaligue.blogspot.com, Kwara United FC have suspended several important players, apparently for missing training without permission. Goalkeeper Mustapha Salihu (born 01.12.1987), central defender Monday Osagie, the wonderboy Kevin Kpakor, defender Chinedu Ajanah and the experienced attacker Ganiyu Anifowoshe (born 03.02.1985) are amongst the players.

* I personally cannot understand why the talented goalkeeper Kazeem Yekeen is not included in the Nigeria U-20 national football team. The officials of the team seem to prefer Abiodun Akande (born 10.12.1992) of Shooting Stars FC and Anthony Chinedu Udeh (born 13.06.1991) of Heartland FC, both talented goalkeepers but third choices at their club. Yekeen is first choice at Kwara United FC and have been impressive for two straight seasons.

* Obadaki Halilu, the talented left-back, was earlier this month included in the preliminary squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: