Attacking regression and an awkward side

By Orjinmo Nduka

It was a game for the old heads, as Lobi Stars matched the heavy legs of Sharks, Victor Ezeji with one of their own, David Tyavkase, only that he boasts of a mini pot belly.

Expectedly, it was a very slow game and both sides technically were a man down.
Both old heads –attackers in their prime- respected themselves, opting to drop into midfield where their pace faced less scrutiny and their impact on the game less noticeable.

Of the two however, Tyavkase saw more of the ball as he was clearly the number 10 man for his side.

It is however difficult to tell if this was a tactical move or if the former Enyimba striker now plays as a midfielder.

With the regression from attack to midfield, it is only safe to guess that he will soon be converted into a defender-at least, he has the same pace as Ike ThankGod of Warri Wolves-

As for Victor Ezeji, he should team up with Rivers Angels to complete the cycle of playing for Rivers state owned teams.

In a match that offered little in terms of tactics or exhibition of skill, Sharks were able to get two goals from Bright Ejike and Bernard Okorowanta.

The first goal was gotten after a howler from a defender in the 26th minute, and Dominic Iorfa showed his tactical insight by immediately yanking him off before the celebration ended.

Few fans managed to sneak into the closed door session but were just in time to see Tyavkase’s influence on the game wane with the setting sun.

As is consistent with the Sharks side, there were a few sagged pants on display and they remained one man down with the introduction of George Amakiri for Ezeji.

OF AKWARD UNITED AND BANGLADESH : I knew I would be in for some thrilling football at the Liberation stadium, when with some luck, Akwa United striker Roman was not in the starting eleven for his side.

I added a healthy looking doughnut to my fortune when I also did not spot him on the bench.

However it seemed I bought the doughnut too soon as Musa Najare who replaced him upfront did nothing different than his school boy counterpart.

The only reason I continued with the doughnut was that he saw very little of the ball to be tolerated.

Akwa United would be aptly named if they are called the department of Akwa football club.

I pity the traveling band of supporters that suffer such miserable football every week.

To the match proper and I would say Akwa would have had more supporters if the match were played three seasons ago without the ban on Okada ridding in Rivers state.

I wonder what the team mascot is anyway.

It was a match for the unproductive players to shine in the absence of coach Stanley Eguma who was not on the touchline.

In his place was the blazing safari suit of Zakare Baraje, reflecting all the sunshine, his accented voice barking out instructions for the whole of the ninety minutes.

Unproductive Adamu Muhammad assisted in both goals while Kennedy Chinwo made a goal line clearance, booting the harmless ball far into the sky than it deserved.

The only variation to the 4-3-3 formation employed last week by Eguma was the continuous time wasting switch of Ifeanyi Egwim and Emem Eduok on the flanks.

In the middle, Isiaka Olawale and Seidu Abu formed a defensive midfield pair with Abduljaleel Ajagun flaunting his new yellow boots-a memento from a failed trial in Bangladesh-in front of them in the absence of Chidi Osuchukwu.

If only Ajagun had shone as brilliantly as his boots.

However, he did get a goal, a fine one it was, after a corner kick was knocked down for him by Adamu Muhammad in the 37 minute.

In added time of the first half, Adamu again did the impossible with a through ball for Ifeanyi Egwim who scored a rarity of a goal in the NPL with a fine lob over the goalkeeper.

Coach Solomon Ogbeide of Akwa showed his tactical ability on both occasions after the Dolphins goals, he made immediate changes in the 27th and 47th minutes of the game. It is not every time a coach changes a player in added time of the first half, so he must be saluted.

Though Akwa United played badly in the first half, they came back into the second half and played football like the music rendered by their supporters club-miserable.

They lacked rhythm and soul and only picked up the tempo much later in the game when Nosa Lucky got a goal through a swerving corner kick that went in albeit aided by the Dolphins goalkeeper.
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