Mixed Fortunes For NPFL Giants At FA Cup | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Mixed Fortunes For NPFL Giants At FA Cup

Posted: May 16, 2015 at 2:17 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The humiliation suffered by some NPFL/Glo Premier League giant clubs of the on-going season during the 2015 FA Cup Round of 64 games lives eyes wide, shut and a harbinger of more to happen as the season progresses.

However, it was good news as well for the other teams as Lobi Stars of Makurdi, Heartland of Owerri, Enugu Rangers among others that seemed to be finding it difficult to find their bearing since the 2014/2015 season kicked off.

Sunshine players

Sunshine players

Against all odds, Sunshine Stars of Akure and Giwa FC of Jos that are currently leading the NPFL table in that order were the biggest casualties in the Federation Cup as they lost their games shamefully to lowly, anonymous clubs.

While the smooth leadership run Sunshine is enjoying in NPFL table was demystified by minnow JAtete FC, Giwa FC that is second on the league table got its pride swallowed by another minnow, the Kukuruku Dragons FC from Edo State.

It was most unbelievable and humiliating that JAtete ran over the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) leaders Sunshine by 3-1, while hard-fighting Jos Elephants succumbed to Dragons on 4-5 penalties after playing out a 2-2 draw in regulation time.

Reports had it that Cosmas Ibereumu proved to be the star performer for Cup upstarts Kukuruku as he scored twice before Giwa FC levelled the score at 2-2 through goals from Charles Okoro and Ocheme Edoh.

Sadly, that Giwa ended the 2014 edition as a semi finalist, bowed out on spot kicks with Edoh losing his kick.

Another NPFL side that got humiliated was the Oluyole Warriors , Shooting Stars of Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan that lost 0-1 to 1999 FA Cup champions, Plateau United.

Reports said, Golbe scored the winner for the Plateau side as poor 3SC had to play 75 minutes of the match with 10 men after Sylvester Ebiaku was sent off for a foul.

Invariably, the ouster of the Ibadan side was not too much of a shock league followers as the team under the guide of Franklyn Howard is still to rediscover its form in the NPFL, while maintaining the last four position of the table since the commencement of the league.

However, Three-time Cup champions Heartland nearly suffered a scare at the hands of Nigeria Nation-Wide League (NNWL) side Bizi Cashless FC as the team overcame the lower league team by 2-1.

Heartland was said to taken the lead through Bright Ejike in the first half before Ahmat Umar levelled the score just after the break for the minnows.

Macmarcel Obioha scored the winner to ensure the Naze Millionaires progressed to the round of 32.

Another top NPFL side that survived the FA scare was Dolphins, who have won the Cup four times in 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2007, had to rely on one of their youngsters, Chinwendu Ali, to edge them past FC Inter.

Ali scored twice in the first half, including a sublime first goal, before Dolphins ran out 2-1 winners on the day.

The Enugu Flying Antelopes survived Kaduna United 9-8 vie penalties to move on to the Round of 32.

But, most interesting of the NPFL FA CUP gainers is the league bottom placed team Lobi Stars that dispatched Katsina’s Junior Spotlight 4-1.

It was the first victory in a competitive match for Lobi Stars after eight matches in the top flight without a win.

Two goals each from Lobi Junior Stars graduate, Terpase Tsafe and John Huan, ensured victory for the 2003 Cup champions.

Wednesday’s victory is a sign of good times ahead according to the experienced duo of Moses Bunde and Felix Osia.

“This is what we need to boost our confidence ahead of our trip to Wikki Tourists on match day nine. Our fans should expect more,” Bunde told supersport.com.

And Osia said “we were out to prove a point irrespective of the opposition and this good development for the team”.

Lobi also played in the 2005 as well as 2012 finals and lost in the 2013 semi-final to eventual champion, Enyimba.

All said and weighed the big lesson for all the NPFL clubs, particularly Sunshine and Giwa FC is to note that in football it is not over until it is over and pride goes before fall. The NPFL is still very young and the early lead should not get them drunk.