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Nigerian League

Goals Rain As NLO Cup Kicks Off

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It was a carnival of goals, with seven victories, a combined 30 goals scored, and Ifeanyi Uzorchukwu going home with a match ball following his hat-trick, as the inaugural NLO Cup- sponsored by telecommunications giant MTN and FirstCentral Credit Bureau kicked off on Friday in Kano and Uyo.

Eight Matchday One fixtures, four each in Group 1 and Group 2 were concluded at the Sani Abacha Stadium and Uyo Township Stadium respectively, to the delight of anxious fans who came to catch a glimpse of the Nationwide League One brand of football.

It was an interesting curtain raiser in Kano, as Like Minds FC ace Ifeanyi Uzorchukwu was a torn in the flesh for Zeal Minds FC defence, after he fired three goals past them, to became the first player to score a hat-trick and helped his team to a 4-3 win.

Another 7-goal thriller was in Uyo after Jaguar FC needed a late penalty to edge RORO FC 4-3. The game produced six different goal scorers, with Awhana Silas scoring a brace for losing Roro FC.

Ikechukwu Chukwudi opened the scoring for Jaguar FC with a fine finish in the 25th minute to the delight of his team at the Uyo Township Stadium.

Two quick goals were recorded in the space of four minutes after Hassan Joshua doubled the lead for Jaguar FC in the 27th minute while Abraham Samson pulled one back for RORO FC from a scramble two minutes later.

In the 33rd minute, Anyaegbunam Pacian increased the tally with a stunning strike, as Jaguar FC took a 3-1 lead into half-time.

On the one-hour mark, Awhana Silas scored a sensational strike to keep RORO FC’s hope alive to make it 3-2. He then completed what looked like a comeback for his team with his second to draw RORO FC level at 3-3 in the 69th minute. RORO FC will rue hard-luck after Jaguar FC was awarded a spot kick and Godwin Onoja stepped forward to send goalkeeper Tubobo Saheed the wrong way to make it 4-3 for Jaguar FC.

In the second fixture of Matchday One,
Alex Sunday also made history as he scored a hat-trick in the NLO Cup after his team Kun Khalifa FC put four goals past FC Chimoski, who managed just one goal in the game.

It took Alex Sunday 12 minutes to find the back of the net after he put Kun Khalifa ahead with a superb stunning strike from the edge of the box. He then scored his second and third in the 37th and 50th minute.

From the other results, Abuja-based Green Lock FC pipped NA Royal FC 2-1, while Kwankwasiyya FC was also 2-1 better than FC Sheika.
Palm Syrup FC were the first team to keep a clean sheet after they edged Krane FC 2-0.

Tudun Wada FC also kept it decent with their defending after they pipped Barau/Murtala by a lone goal while Olegacy FC and Vandrezzer JNR shared the spoils as the game ended 1-1.

RESULTS

KANO CENTRE
Like Minds FC 4-3 Zeal Minds FC
Green Lock FC 2-1 NA Royal FC
FC Sheika 1-2 Kwankwasiyya FC
Barau/Murtala 0-1 Tudun Wada FC

UYO CENTRE
RORO FC 3-4 Jaguar FC
Krane FC 0-2 Palm Syrup FC
Kun Khalifa FC 4-1 FC Chimoski
Olegacy FC 1-1 Vandrezzer JNR

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Nigerian League

There’s a twist’ – Springbok hopeful rejects South African homecoming

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Ruan Ackermann will not be returning to South Africa after signing a contract extension with Premiership club Gloucester Rugby.

 

The powerhouse forward’s contract was expiring at the end of the current season and looked set to return to South Africa but has instead opted to remain in the West Country.

 

The Sharks and his former employers, the Lions, were two of the teams that Ackerman was reportedly in talks with, but ultimately, he decided to remain at the club he joined back in 2017.

“I miss playing in South Africa, I see the stadiums are getting more and more full,” Ackermann told Afrikaans newspaper Rapport in January.

 

But on Thursday, Gloucester and Ackermann revealed that the player had changed his mind.

 

“There is a little twist, I can’t see myself leaving yet, I want to stay on, so we are staying on,” he said in an interview confirming his extension.

 

He added: “The players, the staff, the people, the coaches, everyone has been really good to me. It’s basically like a second home, so that’s what makes things, when it comes to a decision, so tough.”

His re-signing with the Premiership side means that he will head into his eighth season at Gloucester this year, having arrived along with his father Johan, who was head coach at the time.

 

The Kingsholm favourite is consistently one of the top players in the Premiership for carries and metres made and was voted Gloucester Rugby’s Players’ Player of the Season for 2021/22.

 

His ability to play across the back-row, and even at lock, is a huge asset for the Cherry and Whites, with director of rugby, George Skivington, hailing the club’s ability to retain his services.

 

“There was lots of competition for Ruan’s signature, so it’s a huge coup for the Club,” Skivington said.

 

“Ruan has been fantastic for us and to have a player of his quality committing his future to the Club is a massive statement of trust in the direction we are heading in.

 

“Everyone at Gloucester Rugby is delighted that Ruan will be in Cherry & White next season.”

International ambitions

Ackermann is qualified to represent England through residency and his potential move back to South Africa was seen as an attempt to better his chances of cracking the Springboks squad.

 

In fact, he was reportedly on the cusp of making the Red Rose squad before injury struck and ruled him out of the World Cup and a debut in the England jersey.

 

However, he still hopes to make it on the international stage.

 

“I just want to play at the highest level, it’s a dream of mine, but the Springboks are my first choice,” he said in an interview in January.

 

“I feel like I have been here [England] long enough to prove myself, and that chance or option never came. I think they have their eyes on other players.”

 

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Nigerian League

Sunshine Stars unveil Boboye, Oboabona

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Sunshine Stars FC on Thursday in Akure unveiled former Plateau United coach Kennedy Boboye and AFCON 2013 winner Godfrey Oboabona as the team’s coach and player respectively.

The club employed the services of the former Abia Warriors and Heartland manager following the sacking of Edith Agoye, who led the team to 14th place in the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League season.

The appointments were contained in a statement issued by Sunshine Stars media officer, Michael Akintunde.

According to the statement, other technical crew members unveiled alongside Kennedy Boboye include Kayode Julius (chief coach), Nwachukwu Ifeanyi (assistant coach) and John Gaadi (goalkeeper trainer).

Oboabona, a member of the Super Eagles that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, has made a return to the team after playing for various clubs in Europe.

The statement read, “He (Oboabona) is expected to add his wealth of experience to the team as Kennedy Boboye gets set to lead the team back to winning ways.”

Boboye, in his remarks, thanked the management of the team for giving him an opportunity to serve and lead the team again, seeking the corporations of the stakeholders and promised to give his best with the support of everyone.

“I’m glad I’m back home, Sunshine Stars remain in my heart, with God and the collective support of everyone we shall succeed and achieve the desired results,” the coach stated.

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Nigerian League

NPFL Youth league finals hold in Benin

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(NPFL) Youth League

Benin, the Edo State capital has been announced as the host city for the Championship finals of the inaugural edition of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) Youth League.

The zonal qualifiers held in five centres from February 1-3 from where teams emerged for the championship finals.

Chairman of the NPFL YOUTH league Committee, Pastor Emeka Inyama, on Tuesday, confirmed that the championship finals will take place in Benin.

He also announced that the finals will be held from February 24th to March 2nd at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin.

Teams that progressed from the zonal qualifiers are Rangers International from the South East, Rivers United from South South, Remo Stars from the southwest, katsina United from North East/west and Plateau United from North Central.

“We expect the teams to arrive Benin on the 24th, and first rounds of matches will begin on February 25th,” Pastor Inyama told NPFL Media.

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