It’s Again Kano Pillars

By Anayo Ezugwu  |

KANO Pillars Football club has successfully defended the 2012/2013 Nigeria Glo Premier League title despite losing 2-0 to Lobi Stars of Makurdi on the final match-day. The Kano team became the first team from the northern part of the country to win the title back-to-back. The title also earned the team a N10million prize. The Pillars finished top of the league on 63 points, while Enyimba was second after it defeated Sharks 1-0 at home to record 62 points. This is Pillars’ third league championship and it will represent Nigeria along with Enyimba at next year’s Confederation of African Football, CAF, Champions League.

Final Standings
Final Standings

Abba Yola Abdullahi, chairman Kano Pillars’ management board, boasted that winning the Glo Premier League back-to-back was a deserved one for the Kano team. “We want to thank all our supporters and other Nigerians who motivated us all through the season. It was a tough season that could have gone to any of the top runners,” he said, adding that the club was looking forward to reinforcing the team ahead of its continental campaign next season.

The race to the title was undecided until the final day of the season as Bayelsa United with 61 points also had the chance of claiming the top spot. However, like the Pillars, it also lost 1-0 away to Gombe United. At the bottom of the table, Wikki Tourist, Kwara United and ABS FC joined the Shooting Stars Sport Club to the lower league. It was double tragedy for Kwara State football fans as both teams from the state, Kwara United and ABS FC, will campaign in the lower division next season following their relegation. Kwara United had a better chance to stay put when it hosted Akwa United at Lokoja, but it could not get the needed three points as Akwa United, who needed just a point to remain in the top league, did just that as the match ended 1-1. 3SC finished at the bottom with 46 points from 38 games, followed by Wikki Tourists on 49 points, while ABS FC had 50 points, same with Kwara United.

Home Eagles versus Jordan

As part of its preparation for the 2014 African Nations Championship, CHAN tournament in South Africa, the home based Super Eagles of Nigeria will on October 26, play the national team of Jordan in an international friendly. This is the first time both countries will be meeting in any football category.

Keshi
Keshi

Chigozie Agbim, a home based Super Eagles captain, has declared that the international friendly would help the team to showcase its talent once again with an national team. Agbim, who was among the 28-man squad invited by Coach Stephen Keshi for the match in Amman, capital city of Jordan, is looking forward to the big match saying that it would be a big opportunity for him to prove what he can do again in the national team.
“I feel happy that the Nigeria Football Federation is bringing this opportunity to us; it is going to be a big opportunity for me to play again and I promise to do my best if given the chance to start the game. Like one of the coaches told me, the match is also going to help us to start preparing for the CHAN tournament and I am sure that it will help us to do well in South Africa. Personally, I look forward to start against Jordan and I will give my best,” he said.
It would be recalled that Agbim, who had an impressive performance during the qualifying series of the CHAN tournament has not been able to command a starting shirt in the Super Eagles following the presence of Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide in the team.

Nigeria will make its debut at the 2014 CHAN after failing to qualify twice. Nigeria is drawn against host South Africa, Mali and Mozambique in the first round of the tournament reserved for players who feature in the local leagues.

A Hard Nut for Eaglets

The Eaglets Team
The Eaglets Team

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets on Tuesday, October 22, played a 3-3 with Sweden in its second FIFA Under-17 World Cup group F match in United Arab Emirates. After winning their first game against the defending champion, Mexico, 6-1 last Saturday, the Eaglets were expected to make a mince meat of the boys from Sweden but such prediction went off the mark.

Nigeria, however, remained the group F leader with the same four points, the same as Sweden but with a superior goals difference. Mexico trails in the third position with three points, leaving Iraq with no point at the bottom of the group. Nigeria needs to win Iraq to qualify for the knockout stage.

The game was keenly contested in the first half, with Nigeria’s Chidera Eze and Abdulahi Alfa combining beautifully with Akinjide Idowu. But it was the Swedes that shot into the lead through Valmin Berisha in the 11th minute, when he jabbed in a Rakip header. The Eaglets’ goalkeeper, Dele Alampasu, was off his line after fumbling with an aerial ball to allow the cheeky curtain raiser.

Nigeria went close instantly with a left back Samuel Okon’s long-range effort in the 12th minute deflected for a corner kick. Berisha completed a brace in the 19th minute with a header after he was set up from the left flank. Three minutes later, Isaac Success scored with a superb volley when he connected Kelechi Iheanacho’s long pass into the box.

Alampasu, however, made up for his earlier slip with a good save in the 31st minute to deny Sweden another goal. Success was forced to leave the pitch in the 32nd minute for what looked like a hamstring injury and was replaced by Taiwo Awoniyi.

Okon almost made it 2-2 for Nigeria when his 30-yard chip was tipped over the bar for a corner kick. Yahaya Musa equalised for Nigeria with a hopeful 25-yard shot which was fumbled by the Swedis goalkeeper to take the tally to 2-2 in the 48th minute. First-half substitute Halvandzic then restored the Swedish lead in the 65th minute when he tapped in from a close range.

The Swedish keeper make a double save in the 71st minute from the efforts of Yahaya Musa and Taiwo Awoniyi. However, the never-say-die Eaglets almost equalised when Awoniyi shot directly into the waiting hands of the goalkeeper in the 80th minute. However, he made amends with a glancing header a minute later off Iheanacho’s cross to make it 3-3.

— Nov. 4, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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