Impressive Away Results Spice Up NPFL; Young And Rugged Ben Tanimu Leads Bendel Insurance Past J. Atete In NNL

By Nelson Dafe on November 26, 2019

A number of impressive away results were recorded in the Nigerian league over the weekend and in the context of the age-long criticism of the Nigerian top flight league as usually a no-go area for clubs seeking away triumphs, it’s interesting and maybe surprising.

Why did I say maybe? Well first off, let’s look at the results themselves.

Almighty Rangers International of Enugu were felled 2-0 at home by visiting Akwa Starlets of Uyo. Rivers United travelled to Warri in Delta and beat Warri Wolves by 1-0 while Plateau United of Jos thrashed home team Delta Force 3-1 in Asaba.

In other fixtures over the weekend, home clubs recorded draws, unable to break down their opponents.

All these rare and impressive away feats are tantalising and hold promises of an intriguing season ahead. When teams are able to win away without the fear of overt bias by match referees, it increases the interest in the Nigerian league that for years has been blighted by the win-at-home-by-all-means syndrome.

That brings us to the ‘maybe’. These results are ‘maybe’ surprising and not just outright surprising? If there are any skeptism about the results, they arise from the fact that we have seen before a flurry of early season hurrah of favorable results for away teams in the Nigerian league, but when the season advances into a more business end, it becomes business as usual as home teams win by hook or by crook.

So the big question is, “are these results a sign of a new and positive dawn in the league or not?” Only time will tell. But what is a fact is that interests in the Nigerian league can only be truly revived when we take a look at results and see that they are not wholly dominated by home wins.

When performances really matter and not how much a referee has been compromised, then you will see that fans will begin to hit the stadiums in larger numbers.

We talk about the dour nature of many of our league matches, dominated by ball hoofing and kick-and-follow unimaginativeness. These are real turn-offs that cannot be masked by empty marketing noises.

Tactical revolutions and good football are correlates of a fair system that reflect the tactical inputs of coaches. The will to win in the Nigerian league is often directly opposed to the will to teach players the right and modern tactical trends of football that could enrich the watching experience. When coaches know that the quality of their work is more directly reflected in the results and the likability of their teams, the seeds of the much needed tactical revolution of the style of play of our club sides will be sown.

One hopes the apparent fairness of the Nigerian referees so far in the league this time will be no false dawn and that it will truly spark the revival of club football in Nigeria.


Top class defender Tanimu leads Bendel Insurance to tame J. Atete

Bendel Insurance of Benin City began their campaign to return to the NPFL on a positive note with a comfortable 2-0 home win against visiting J. Atete of Ughelli in Benin City on Saturday.

It was a sloppy and scrappy opening half hour of the match played at the Uniben Sports complex. Insurance had some quite decent chances but didn’t offer hope of taking the lead, seeing plenty of the ball but doing precious little with it and couldn’t force a save from the J Atete goalkeeper.

Life was brought to the game however in the 32nd minute when Ammar drove in Odinaka’s superb corner kick to give Insurance the lead.

Insurance pushed for a second, created some decent chances and towards the 40th minute, a penalty was awarded to the home side, but Ammar’s spot kick was parried by the goalkeeper and his rebound hit the bar back to him and the keeper dealt well with his third attempt.

The main highlight of the second half was when captain Efe Enabulele pulled a Coutinho-esque curler from outside the box to give Insurance their second goal, it was a beauty of a goal.

Tried as they could, J. Atete found it difficult to make inroads into the Bendel Insurance box as the home side’s defence marshalled by Benjamin Tanimu were in uncompromising mood.

Young veteran Tanimu was in fine form for Insurance throughout the game and continues to grow in stature as his mixture of calm and rugged defending continues to impress watchers of the 17-year-old.

Tanimu has been one of the bright sparks of Insurance for 3 years now and while the club shed off some players following the drop to the NNL last season, Tanimu was one player Insurance simply could not afford to lose if they habour any serious intentions of returning to the NPFL.

The dark-skinned lad is a simply a rock at the back, timing tackles to perfection, has good passing ability as well as fantastic pace and a bulky frame that is the dream of coaches.

•Photo shows Bendel Insurance central defensive rock Benjamin Tanimu

Source Daily Sports

Posted November 26, 2019


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