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.”
Obuah Lauds Nwabali Over Chieftaincy Title
The proprietor of Go Round FC , Bro. Felix Obuah cups he was on cloud nine seeing his former ward, Super Eagles’ first choice goalkeeper at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 in Cote d’Ivoire, Stanley Bobo Nwabali, being conferred with a chieftaincy title at his Egbema Kingdom home in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) of Rivers State .
The 27-year-old Chippa United goalie was led to the ceremony on Sunday by Bro. Obuah as he first paid a courtesy call to the ONELGA council headquarters where the Chairman, at the Nzeobi’s palace in Aggah-Egbema, HRM Eze Everestus Amuda conferred the chieftaincy title ‘Ugo Egbema 1 of Egbema Land’ which means the Pride of Egbema on the Chippa United goalkeeper.
Amuda eulogised Nwabali for his performance especially his penalty saving heroics which he noted, engraved him in the hearts of many Nigerians both home and abroad.
Sir Vincent Job announced a cash gift of N5 million in addition to a street being named after .
At the Nzeobi’s palace in Aggah-Egbema, HRM Eze Everestus Amuda conferred the chieftaincy title ‘Ugo Egbema 1 of Egbema Land’ which means the Pride of Egbema on the Chippa United goalkeeper.
Amuda eulogised Nwabali for his performance especially his penalty saving heroics “This is the dream of every father, that his son or daughter makes it to the top. When we started, I had the dream that one day if they put in their best, they will reach the zenith of their careers,” Bro Obuah said.which he noted , engraved him in the hearts of many Nigerians both home and abroad.
A grand reception was later held in Nwabali’s honour at the Community Primary School, Okwuzi where top dignitaries including Sir Job, Chief Whip of the Rivers State House of Assembly and member Representing ONELGA Constituency I, Hon Franklin Nwabochi as well as member representing ONELGA Constituency II, Hon Dcns Nkemjika Ezekwe showered encomiums on the Super Eagles shot stopper.
Rivers Hoopers Coach Sure To Make Statement
Rivers Hoopers head coach Ogoh Odaudu says his team will face a huge task after Thursday’s 2024 Basketball Africa League draw.
Hoopers were drawn against former champions US Monastir, APR of Rwanda, and Senegal’s AS Douanes in the Sahara Conference.
Top two teams will advance to the BAL playoffs scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from May 24 to the first of June.
There will also be a slot for two best third-placed teams from across the three conferences (Kalahari, Nile, and Sahara).
“The group is obviously a very tough one, Odaudu said.”
‘’Former champions US Monastir, APR who defeated the Rwandan team (REG), who were at the BAL last year; they are a very tough team too. Of course, last year’s finalist, AS Douanes, is in that group, so we have been placed in the group of death.
While the other two conferences will hold in March and April, the Nigeria Premier League Champions won’t play until May 4.
Odaudu added, ‘’Notwithstanding, we have enough time to prepare and be there. We will overcome once the jump ball comes.’’
Since the inaugural edition in 2021, Rivers Hoopers and Kwara Falcons are the only Nigerian teams who have played in the BAL, and neither have gone past the group stage.
The former Nigeria international wants his team to be the first Nigerian team to make it to the playoffs of the Basketball Africa League.
“First and foremost, getting out of the group is our target for this year’s BAL. We are tired of just going to participate and coming back home after the first round.
“For us this season, we want to ensure we get to Kigali and be in the playoffs. Whatever happens from there on is a bonus.
SWAN Gets New Leaders In Rivers
The Rivers State Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has elected a new leadership.
On Monday, February 19, Peter Abaje of DAAR Communication was voted Chairman alongside other executive members: Vice Chairman – Deinma Abaku; Secretary, Ekpor Temple; Financial Secretary, Bath Ndubuwa, and Eyo Kelvin, Welfare Officer, who will pilot the administrative activities of the association for three years.
While other officers were elected unopposed, Mr. Abaje beat the out gone Chairman, Ms Sarah Atonye David by 10 votes to five to emerge.
The election was held under the supervision of Mr. Gabriel Nwanetanya National Ex Officio, who represented the Zonal Vice President, Azuka Chiemeka.
Inaugurating the newly elected officials, Mr. Gabriel Nwanetanya described the electoral process as peaceful and orderly and charged the Executive members to live above board by re-positioning the association in the state as no excuses would be given for non-performance.
He encouraged them to be creative and look inward to discover and showcase the abundant sports talents existing in Rivers State and also appealed to them not to apply personal interest to move the association forward.
In his inaugural speech shortly after the election, Peter Abaje, the newly elected Chairman of SWAN in Rivers State, said that the conclusion of this election signaled a new dawn in the state chapter of the association and vowed to lift the association to greater heights.
The Chairman also promised to carry every member along in the scheme of things as well as operate an open-door policy.
“The new leadership under my watch would collaborate with the private institutions and Rivers State Government to promote and develop community sports as well as encourage the education of members in areas of sports journalism, he assured.
Members of the association who voted and witnessed the election process, applauded the SWANECO for delivering a hitch-free, fair and transparent election.
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