Five goal mark still a long shot

25 January 2011

Going past the four-goal mark is proving to be a bridge too far for strikers in the Nigeria Premier League.

Rather than any of the strikers notching his fifth goal of the season at the weekend, two others were happy to make the four-goal club Ekigho Ehouson (Warri Wolves) and Abdulrahman Bashir (Bukola Babes).

This means that a total of 11 players have now each netted four goals thus far – Ukeyima Akombo, Ajani Ibrahim (Sunshine Stars), Gbolahan Salami, Raheem Owolabi (3SC), Gambo Mohammed (Kano Pillars), Jude Anieke, Siman Yusuf (Kaduna United), Obasesam Eniete (Zamfara United)and Fred Okwara (Enugu Rangers).

Speedster Sunshine Stars right winger Ajani Ibrahim told that he hopes to get his fifth goal on Sunday at home to Lobi Stars.

I could not score against JUTH in Kaduna last week because I was an unused substitute, but I hope to do that when we host Lobi, said an upbeat Ibrahim.

The former Enyimba star has been one of the unsung heroes of the high-flying Akure club with his goals, assists as well as all-action style.

Clubmate Akombo was in action against lowly JUTH, but he must be worried about his form as the giant striker has yet to score this year after a bright start to the season.

Gbolahan Salami and Raheem Owolabi of Shooting Stars are also on four goals each and either could go past this mark in an often hate-filled local derby against Crown FC in Abeokuta this weekend.

Last weekend, Salami was marked out by Kwara United defender Nojim Raji and deservedly fired blanks, while Owolabi played below par and to be replaced by Kabiru Alausa in the 75th minute.

The Kaduna United pair of Anieke and Yusuf have also been firing for a team who have scored in all 12 games thus far, one of these strikers could well be the first to break the four-goal barrier away to Plateau United on Saturday.

Fred Okwara of Enugu Rangers is still out of the country, reportedly on trials in Turkey. He has thus far missed his teams three games as a result, meaning he has therefore not been able to add his haul of four goals in the league.

Who would bet against the latest entrants to the four-goal club, Ehouson of Warri Wolves and Bashir from Bukola Babes, pulling away from this pack of goal scorers this weekend?

Bukola Babes team manager, Aloy Chukwuemeka, will back Bashir to get his fifth goal against Heartland on Saturday at their new home ground of Bauchi.

Bashir is a goal-a-game striker, a talent for the very near future. He has only played a limited number of games because of illness and against Heartland, he will score again, predicted Chukwuemeka.

This will be the 19-year-old strikers fourth season at the club and team manager Chukwuemeka disclosed to that no less than nine NPL clubs are interested in signing him.

Ehousons goals for Warri Wolves have been limited because he was out for two weeks with malaria and he also spent another two weeks away on trials in Qatar.

Spokesman for Warri Wolves, Timi Ebikagboro, told that the striker has featured in seven matches, meaning he nets a goal every other game.

However, one striker who will not be on the score sheet in the NPL this weekend is Gambo Mohammed, whose Kano Pillars are away in Liberia for a preliminary round match against Mighty Barolle in the CAF Champions League.

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