Katsina United’s head coach Abullahi Biffo says the poor conversion rate of his strikers is to be faulted for their slim 1-0 win over Heartland FC in their Matchday 13 game of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on Sunday.
A well-taken penalty in the third minute of play converted by Lukman Muhammed gave Katsina United all three points, but Biffo believes it could have been more if his players had taken their chances in the game.
Katsina United failed to score despite creating numerous chances especially after Heartland were reduced to ten men following the sending off of Abiodun Thompson for two bookable offences in the second half.
“My boys were not on top of their game in terms of goalscoring. We had chances to kill this game off right from the first half but we didn’t make use of them. Normally we convert such chances. It’s just one of those days,” Biffo said.
Heartland was unfortunate to concede an early penalty when Odeh Uche handled a cross from Tasiu Lawal in his bid to clear the danger with Eric Dufegha waiting to pounce for Katsina United in the box.
Although goalkeeper, Opubo Japhet guessed the right way, the power in the strike from Lukman Muhammed took the ball away from him. Heartland almost responded immediately but Fuad Ekelojuoti failed to utilise a one-on-one chance against goalkeeper Dami Paul.
Ekelojuoti hit his effort straight at the goalkeeper after a through-ball from Thompson sliced open the defence of the home side, leaving him through on goal with the goalkeeper at his mercy in the final action of the first half.
Heartland started the second half with intent to draw level but their course was made worse when Thompson got himself sent off for dissent, after vehemently protesting a call that went against him five minutes after the restart.
The striker was ruled to have handled the ball by the referee while trying to cushion a pass on his chest, he protested the call claiming he was pushed from behind by the defender marking him. His protest earned him another booking after his first caution in the first half.
His dismissal killed the momentum which Heartland started in the half, and Katsina United seized the initiative to pile more pressure in search of a second goal, but Opubo was up to whatever was thrown at his goal.
Opubo and the defence line of ýHeartland were brave when they had to, as they were not scared of putting their body on the line to frustrate the home side from extending their lead.
Heartland head coach Ramson Madu praised his players for raising their game beyond the level they performed in their last away game against MFM FC, despite playing with ten men for majority of the second half.
“Many people will understand ýwhen you lose a game due to an early penalty and a red card in the early minutes of the second half. My players raised their game, and their performance is better than our last away game against MFM FC,” coach Madu said.
“We played with ten players for a very long time and we didn’t concede another goal. The positives from this game are many, and we will work on the grey areas we noticed during the game.”
ICC U-19: Nigeria Battles Big Wigs In Abuja
Nigeria was presented the tough task of battling with Rwanda in the opening game of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) U-19 Men’s World Cup Africa Division 2 Qualifiers, which began at the twin-ovals of the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, yesterday.
The One Day International (ODI) format championship also had in contention such tough nations as Kenya, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana and Sierra Leone. They were all trying to be among the top-three nations to move from the qualifiers to the next level.
Ahead of the competition, Ghana and majority of Bostwana’s team arrived late Thursday night, which development caused slight changes in the tournament fixtures.
According to the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Ogbonnaya Okogeri, the big win for Nigeria is being able to put up the standard required for hosting this international event.
“This is the second ICC event that Nigeria will host, but this is unique in that it is on a higher level because of the quality of facility and personnel required to pull it off.
“So far, we have been able to meet up on so many fronts and as the event gets off the ground formally, our joy will be to coast home smoothly with a successful hosting.”
ICC Global Developmental Manager, William Glenwright, who was around earlier in the week, had said the country’s feat in cricket developmental index has been impressive and has earned a look in from the global body for more support.
Nigeria between 2018 and 2019 scaled the U-19 World Cup ticket for her maiden appearance on the global stage at the World Cup in January 2020 in South Africa, an achievement Nigeria’s team handler, Daniel Gim, has assured they have set as benchmark.
“We have put in the hard work and I am sure, as a team, we are hungry to scale to the next stage and above all return to the World Cup,” he ahead of today’s opener. The tournament will end on October 9.
Globacom Unveils Amusan As New Ambassador
Telecommunications services provider, Globacom, has unveiled current African, Commonwealth and World 100m hurdles champion, Tobi Amusan, as its latest brand ambassador.
Tobi became the first Nigerian world champion in an athletic event, when she won the gold medal in metres hurdles at the 2022 World Athletics Championships. She set a new world record of 12.12 seconds in the semifinal, and followed this up with 12.06 seconds (wind aided) in the final to take the gold medal.
Speaking at the event, Globacom’s Regional Manager, Sales, Lagos, Lawrence Odediran, said the company’s decision to make Amusan its ambassador was not just to reward her for her sterling accomplishments, but also to help the growth of sports in Nigeria. Odediran also said the endorsement would encourage the country’s teeming youths to aspire toward realising their dreams by looking up to the new ambassador as mentor.
“At Globacom, we are very proud of what Tobi Amusan has achieved in her athletics career. She is an embodiment of the Nigerian spirit of resilience, hard work and enterprise, which enabled her to excel irrespective of the enormity of the challenges she encountered in her quest for success. These are qualities that Globacom identifies with,” Odediran stated.
He explained that Amusan has become a testimony to the famous saying by Malcolm X that “the future belongs to those who prepare for it today,” adding, “she prepared very hard in the previous years and today belongs to her.
“Tomorrow is also waiting for other determined Nigerian and African youths who begin their preparations today. We, therefore, urge them not to be discouraged by present challenges, but to continue to strive to realise their dreams.”
Gusau Emerges NFF President
Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau has been elected the new President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
He was elected yesterday at the NFF’s 78th Elective Congress in Benin, the Edo State capital.
In the first ballot, Gusau polled 21 votes to finish first ahead of former Ist Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi who got 12 votes while the erstwhile League Management Committee (LMC) Chairman, Shehu Dikko got just six votes. Peteside Idah and Abbah Yola got one vote each.
While the trio of Akinwunmi, Dikko, Yola opted out of a possible rerun since Gusau did not get the mandatory 22 votes to win in the first ballot, Idah pressed for a rerun and it was conducted by the electoral body.
In the ensuing rerun, Gusau polled 39 votes while Idah got one vote, while one was voided.
With that, the former Chairman of Chairmen in the last board led by Amaju Melvin Pinnick becomes the 40th man to lead Nigerian football.
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