By Sedara Philip
It was a tough clash on Friday 14th April 2023 at the Area 3 Sport Complex between Kogi United Fc and Efcc Fc of Abuja in a Match day 5 encounter of Group A1 of the Nigeria National League.
Both side came into the encounter on the back of disappointing results in previous games and desperately in need of the maximum points at stake. Kogi United Fc who were held to a goalless draw at home by Nigeria National League Newcomers Mailantarki Care Fc at the Confluence Stadium sits in 4th position on the table while Efcc Fc are bottom of the log having lost 2-0 to Hypebuzz Fc in week 4.
The visitors got off on a bright note immediately the Referee signalled for the commencement of hostilities and it wasn’t long before their effort paid off. Garba Mohammed who was making his debut for the team this season capitalized on an Efcc defensive blunder and latched onto a loose ball which he wasted no time in placing it into the far corner of the goal.
The Anti-graft boys responded immediately as they came all out looking for the leveller pushing the visitors back into their half for most of the first half.
But no matter how hard they tried to break down the Kogi United defence,they were always disappointed as Captain Tunde Oladapo, Abdulsalam Abdulhameed, Abubakar Danlami and Femi Adewumi made sure that they are not granted easy passage into their 18 yard box.
Despite all effort to keep the Efcc attackers at bay, they came close on several occasions trying to level. Rabiu Umar who returned in-between the sticks for Kogi United after starting from the bench in their 0-0 draw with Mailantarki Care Fc was absolutely busy all afternoon.
Kogi United would have doubled their lead in 22nd Minute after Hamza Dauda got a precise pass from Left full back Femi Adewumi from the flank.He dribbled past the defence and released a volley but the Salaudeen Sherifdeen in the Efcc goal stretched full length to parry to safety.
Midfield Maestro Haruna Isah who was the link between the defenders and the Frontline combined well with Jamilu Coker to ensure that the needed stretch of passes upfront are not lacking Whatsoever while also shuttling back to provide cover for the backline. The host levelled up 4 minutes to the end of the Opening half after the Referee adjudged an Efcc player to have been fouled in the Kogi United box during a scramble. Egaji Joshua sent Rabiu Umar the wrong way to level for his side.
Both side came back from the dugout with renewed vigour and determination to outwit one another but it was the host who were more ferocious in front of goal with constant pestering of their visitors. Osadebe Gift got a clear opportunity to put his side ahead but Rabiu Umar refused to fall for his trick as he stretched to divert his effort into corner Tijani Umar also tried every trick for the visitors but every effort aimed at getting the winning goal was futile.
Umoru Omajagwu was withdrawn and in his place, the mobile Saka Adinoyi was sent in to provide more cover especially in the defence. His occasionally push upfront nearly aided Garba Mohammed to increase his sides tally. He released a curled cross to Garba Mohammed who was already in position, he rose and heads in Saka ‘s cross but it went straight into the waiting arms of Salaudeen Sherifdeen.
Juwon Memeyan was also sent in to replace Hamsa Dauda while Abubakar Tenimu also came in for Kogi United goal scorer Garba Mohammed after he was injured and it became obvious that he can’t go on.
The Changes effected by Coach Shola Ibrahim Adewuyi added more depth and cover for the team as they held on firmly to snatch a Valuable point going into the second round ,their first point on the road this season.
POST MATCH REACTION
Technical Adviser of Kogi United Fc Coach Shola Ibrahim Adewuyi told Sport Writers that he came with a game plan, which is to snatch all 3 points here in Abuja and it almost materialized if not for the penalty awarded to the host and the numerous chances that just didn’t go in.
” Getting a point away from home in the Nigeria National League is something worth celebrating even though that’s not what we came for.We came here with the aim of picking all maximum points and from the way the boys played, you guys will agree with me that we almost achieved it as we were almost running away with it but that penalty shattered everything “
This is the last match of the first round of this abridged league, we are going back home to look at areas that needs to be strengthened. We will also take stock of our first round performance, and quickly make amends ahead of the second round “
KOGI UNITED LINE UP
Rabiu Umar 1🟨 | Abubakar Danlami 29 | Femi Adewumi 36 | Tunde Oladapo 2 | Abdulsalam Abdulhameed 22 | Haruna Isah 24 | Tijani Umar 14 | Jamilu Coker 17 | Hamza Dauda 28 | Umoru Omajagwu 30 | Garba Mohammed 20 ⚽(4′)
Benjamin Osagie 16 | Salihu Abdullahi 38 | Saheed Lasisi 11 | Ibrahim Enesi 33
14th April 2023