Posted by: westafricanfootball | 06/02/2011

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE NIGERIAN PREMIER LEAGUE (PART TWO)

LOBI STARS FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Victor Barnabas 3, Chimaobi Nwaogu 3, Kingsley Odoh 2, Anthony Okpotu 1, Moses Orkuma 1.

Observations:

* Lobi Stars FC will be missing the services of top striker Victor Barnabas and right-back John Agbawu, who both have joined Enyimba FC. However, Lobi Stars FC are a team strongly focusing on developing young, local players – which they are good at. Emmanuel Ajia, Anthony Okpotu and Moses Orkuma are three up and coming players who fit the Lobi Stars-profile.

* According to SuperSport, Moses Bunde played for Lobi Stars FC against Dolphins FC on 15.01.2011. Most sources state that the talented striker is at Vitoria Setubal (Portugal) but apparently something went wrong with this transfer, alternatively Bunde has been loaned back to Nigeria. Bunde had an impressive 2009-2010 season and was actually training with the Nigeria national football team in late 2010. Bunde is apparently born in 1993.

NIGER TORNADOES FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Joshua Garba 1, Kelechi Iheanacho 1, Darlington Ihejiene 1, Chinedu Justice 1, Chibuzor Osigwe 1, Emmanuel Osita 1, Eugene Salami 1, Jimoh Shehu 1, Baba Sule 1.

Observations:

* Not a single player of Niger Tornadoes FC have been scoring more than one goal this season. Fans of Tornadoes will be hoping that new signing Kelechi Iheanacho (born 12.07.1981) could provide goals. The strong striker, 186 centimeters and 78 kilos, have been playing in Poland for more than 10 years but have apparently returned to his homeland. The versatile Darlington Ihejiene should also be able to chip in with a few goals. Eugene Salami (born 05.02.1989), the star striker of Tornadoes that has been training with the Nigeria B national football team during January, looks almost certain to leave the club and he should not be relied on for more goals this season.

* Mohammed Hamidu Kawu is obviously a player to watch. The young central midfielder joined Tornadoes before the season from the Frimpong Football Academy. Only a few months later he was included in the squad of the Nigeria U-20 national football team. A Tornadoes-striker called Odili Tosin was also included in the squad but this is a completely unknown player to me at the time of writing.

* Usman Mohammed, also a rather unknown player, was earlier this month included in the preliminary squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team.

* Experienced central defender Michael Vangreg is apparently the current captain of Niger Tornadoes FC. Vangreg has actually been with Tornadoes for more than 10 years.

OCEAN BOYS FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Charles Omokaro 3, Felix Benjamin 2, Andrew Michael 2, Ndubuisi Nkoro 2, Christopher Chigozie 1, Collins Nwaneri 1, Ayo Saka 1.

Observations:

* Could Christopher Chigozie be the next star midfielder to come out from the Nigerian Premier League? Chigozie, a central midfielder, is getting rave reviews for his brilliant ball control, accurate passes and blending technique.

* Attacking midfielder / striker Felix Benjamin recently stated to SuperSport that he hoped for 15 goals this season. Possibly a bit ambitious but the 1992-born wonderboy is obviously a player to watch.

* Andrew Michael (born 04.08.1992) is closing in on his top form. The young striker, signed from Bayelsa United FC before the season, has been a bit wasteful in front of goal but with some concentration he could very well reach double figures this season. Michael will have a lot of pressure on his young shoulders as Ocean Boys have lost the services of burly striker Charles Omokaro (born 25.11.1984), who decided to join Warri Wolves FC. Central defender Chimezie Mba has also signed for Warri Wolves FC.

* In December 2010, Ocean Boys player Bartholomew Akakem was training with the Nigeria B national football team. I have previously written that I thought this was well-known defender Nkereuwem Bassey, which was wrong. Akakem is a new revelation at Ocean Boys but should be referred to as Onyekachi Akakem.

* Attacking midfielder Ayo Saka, who I wrote about in my post from 06.11.2010, was earlier this month included in the preliminary squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team.

PLATEAU UNITED FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

George Akpabio 2, Amos Emmanuel Odafe 2, Shehu Abdullahi 1, Solomon Bitrus 1, John Daddy 1, Akpos Egborge 1, Ibrahim Kabiru Waziri 1, Paul Kelly 1.

Observations:

* Playmaker Ibrahim Kabiru Waziri 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.

* Amos Emmanuel Odafe, often referred to as Emma Odafe, is an attacker signed from First Bank FC before the season. He has been scoring two goals in the latest three matches for Plateau United FC.

RANGERS INTERNATIONAL FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Fred Okwara 4, Uche Nwafor 3, Musa Najare 2, Emeka Nwanna 2, Brendan Ogbu 2, Ejike Uzoenyi 1, Chinedu Sunday 1, Ugonna Uzochukwu 1.

Observations:

* Rangers have several interesting players, which also mean that the club will struggle hard to keep key players away from trials at foreign clubs. Striker Uche Nwafor (born 28.02.1989), top goalscorer Fred Okwara (born 19.03.1989) and winger Ejike Uzoenyi all looks highly motivated for a stint abroad.

* Ejike Uzoenyi 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.

* Central midfielders Chinedu Sunday and Emeka Christian Eze (born 22.12.1992), as well as talented strikers Brendan Ogbu and Uche Nwafor, have all been training with the Nigeria U-20 national football team during January 2011. When Nwafor was playing for Anambra Pillars FC his date of birth was reported to be 28.02.1989 at their official homepage, so I was surprised to see him included in the Nigeria U-20 squad.

* Musa Najare is an interesting player who I am trying to find more information about. Najare is obviously a young, versatile player, most likely a wing-back / winger, who has impressed with his attacking style of play.

SHARKS FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Victor Ezeji 5, Bright Ejike 3, Thankgod Amaefule 2, Gomo Onduku 2, Kola Anubi 1, Stanley Okoronkwo 1.

Observations:

* The versatile ThankGod Amaefule (born 16.12.1984), central midfielder Stanley Okoronkwo and top goalscorer Victor Ezeji (born 09.06.1981) 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.

* Midfielder Gideon Gambo has been training with the Nigeria U-20 national football team during January 2011. Gambo is basically a fringe player at Sharks FC.

* Bright Ejike, who I wrote about on 10.10.2010, is reaching top form these days and the striking pair of Ejike and Ezeji is arguable the best in the Nigerian Premier League.

SHOOTING STARS FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Fuad Gbolahan Salami 4, Kabiru Alausa 3, Raheem Owolabi 3, Chima Akas 2, Abraham Akindele 1, Kabiru Shaibu 1.

Observations:

* Unfortunately, the promising striker Gbolahan Salami (born 15.04.1991) has gotten some kind of a bad boy reputation. He is currently suspended, apparently for attacking a match official. Nevertheless, Salami has been training with the Nigeria U-20 national football team in January 2011 and he was recently included in the squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team. Salami could become a star if he improves his disciplinary record.

* The strong striker Raheem Owolabi (born 14.06.1991) and goalkeeper Laide Okanlawon (born 31.12.1990) were also included in the squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team earlier this month.

* The third choice goalkeeper of Shooting Stars FC, Abiodun Akande (born 10.12.1992), is currently part of the Nigeria U-20 national football team. This is also the case for the wonderful talent Chima Akas (born 03.05.1994), one of the most promising left-sided players in Nigerian local football.

SUNSHINE STARS FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Ajani Ibrahim 5, Ukeyima Akombo 4, Cletus Itodo 2, Onyi Chiemeka 1, Daudu Alilu Eboh 1, Christian Iyam Ifeanyi 1, Ofem Inah 1, Daniel Mende 1, Godfrey Oboabona 1, Emmanuel Sunday 1.

Observations:

* Central defender Kenneth Omeruo (born 17.10.1993), midfielder Cletus Itodo (born 01.01.1984), left-backs Daniel Mende and Adeyinka Michael Adedeji (born 25.03.1985), and top striker Ukeyima Akombo (born 25.11.1987) 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.

* Oluwatosin Yinusa could be an emerging star at the right-wing. Yinusa has been training with the Nigeria U-20 national football team in January 2011 – together with powerful winger Abiodun Kayode (born 06.11.1992). Kayode had an impressive season for Gateway FC in 2009-2010 and had trials at Norwegian outfit Aalesunds FK after the season.

* Sunshine Stars FC have signed an experienced striker called Daudu Alilu Eboh (born 25.01.1983) who has been playing in Egypt for Al-Koroum, a second division side, for several seasons.

* Ajani Ibrahim recently stated that he had actually scored six goals and not five. He claimed to have scored two goals against Gombe United FC but according to my sources Ukeyima Akombo, Ofem Inah and Emmanuel Sunday scored the goals.

* A player called Emmanuel Sunday recently signed for Vietnamese club Lam Son Thanh Hoa. I am still not able to find out if this is the talented midfielder of Sunshine Stars FC, who I wrote about on 16.12.2010.

WARRI WOLVES FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Ekigho Ehiosun 4, Mbachu Tochukwu 3, Efe Yarhere 2, Amanze Elekwachi 1, Kpenosen  Samson 1, Emmanuel Omodiagbe 1, Goodluck Onomado 1, Nelson Onyekachi 1, Ike Thankgod 1,

Observations:

* Warri Wolves FC will struggle hard to keep top striker Ekigho Ehiosun. The strongman is reportedly on the radar of several clubs in the Middle East. Ehiosun has been training with the Nigeria B national football team in January. Charles Omokaro (born 25.11.1984) has been signed from Ocean Boys FC and is a similar kind of player, big and strong and a hard worker.

* Fast attacker Mbachu Tochukwu (born 04.03.1989), formerly of Enyimba FC, and newly signed central defender Chimezie Mba, were included in the squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team earlier this month.

* Goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim (born 20.08.1984) is arguably the best goalkeeper in the league at the time of writing. Agbim has been training with the Nigeria B national football team in January, together with Ehiosun and central defender Ike Thankgod (born 04.04.1985).

* Adama Coulibaly, the tall left-back from Mali, is currently one of the best left-backs in the country.

* Winger Amanze Elekwachi was highly regarded back in 2008 when he was playing for Jigawa Golden Stars FC and training with the Nigeria B national football team.

ZAMFARA UNITED FC

List of scorers per 03.02.2011:

Eni Obasesam 3, Peter Bako 2, Anas Abdullahi 1, Oba Dada 1, Austin Kadiri 1, Muritala Salisu 1, Lucas Wayo 1, Own Goals 1.

Observations:

* Ola Ogundele was included in the squad of the Nigeria U-23 national football team earlier this month. Ogundele was actually asked to leave Zamfara United FC in July 2009 but is now back in form.

* Olabisi David Adewunmi is the new goalkeeper at Zamfara United FC. Adewunmi played for Kano Pillars FC in 2008-2009 but was mostly a substitute.

* Central defender Austin Kadiri is again one of the key performers at Zamfara United FC. Petit winger Peter Bako and the up and coming striker Eni Obasesam are other important players.


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