By Akila Matawal
A Nigeria Professional Football League season that has been full of scintillating displays from the opening week brought another remarkable round of action.
The matchday 24 fixtures, played on Sunday and Monday, produced great moments and new leaders.
Here, 234football picks its team of the week for the matchday.
Manager of the week: Baba Jibrin (Wikki Tourists)
Struggling Wikki Tourists surprised many by picking a point at Rivers United. Having gone into the fixture on the back of four straight defeats, which included an embarrassing 5-1 loss at Katsina United on May 9, many expected the Bauchi side’s losing streak to continue.
However, Baba Jibrin — who took over on the interim following the departure of Usman Abdallah — defied all odds by guiding his side to earn a point in Port Harcourt.
The Giant Elephants took the lead through Stephen Gopey’s fourth-minute goal. Until Malachi Ohawume struck a stoppage-time leveller, they looked on course to securing all three points. Such a display by Wikki Tourists surely passes Baba Jibrin fit for our manager of the week.
Goalkeeper: Surajo Ayeleso (Kano Pillars)
Pillars goalkeeper Surajo Ayeleso produced a string of outstanding saves to ensure Kano Pillars forced a 0-0 draw at Plateau United. Ayeleso finished the game on a high with six saves.
Right Back: John Lazarus (Lobi Stars)
Lobi Stars right back John Lazarus was on fire in his team’s 2-1 victory over struggling Sunshine Stars in Makurdi. To add to his defensive solidity, he bagged Lobi’s first goal.
Centre Back: Olisa Ndah (Akwa United)
The centre back’s composure is second to none. He, alongside partner, Sampson Gbadebo averted so much danger from a high-flying Kwara United side in a 2-1 win for the Promise Keepers which returned them to the summit of the log on Sunday. Olisa initiated attack by breaking away from Akwa United’s box and dribbling past his markers and delivering a fine pass to Ilechukwu Nwani who fed substitute Nasiru Jibril for the second goal of the evening.
Centre back: Tebo Franklin (Nasarawa United)
Tebo Franklin has been a revelation this season for Nasarawa United. He did his job well again in Nasarawa United’s 1-0 win over Adamawa United. Consequently, he won his team’s sixth “Man of the Match Award”.
Defensive midfielder: Daniel Wotlai (Abia Warriors)
Daniel Wotlai is one player who has not gotten much attention but he has been amazing and instrumental to Abia Warriors’s revival after a poor start to the season. Wotlai covered spaces and provided a good cover to Abia Warriors as they forced a 0-0 draw at Jigawa Golden Stars.
Central Midfielder: Samuel Nnoshiri (Katsina United)
Samuel Nnoshiri was the match winner as Katsina United pipped Warri Wolves 1-0 on Sunday. On the ball, he was a constant threat to the “Seasiders”.
Attacking Midfielder: Stephen Gopey(Wilki Tourists)
In this attacking formation, Stephen Gopey is picked slightly behind the front three. Gopey joined Wilki Tourists from Rivers United during the mid-season break and has set the ground running. His goal almost fetched all three points for Wikki but for Rivers United’s stoppage time response which led to a 1-1 final scoreline.
Left winger: Nasiru Jibril (Akwa United)
From the bench, Nasiru Jibril doubled Akwa United’s lead after being fed by Ilechukwu Nwani who made light of Olisa Ndah’s brave move.
The ex-Wikki man’s goal was his second for the Promise Keepers.
Centre forward: Ossy Martins(Lobi Stars)
When Lobi Stars were 1-0 down in the early stages of the encounter, many thought Sunshine Stars were on course for their first win in over three months. Ossy Martins would later score the winner after John Lazarus had drawn Lobi level. Ossy’s goal was decisive for the Pride of Benue who won 2-1.
Left wing forward: Oladayo Alabi(MFM FC)
Oladayo Alabi’s 69th minute strike was a beauty and deservedly got MFM FC a vital 1-0 win over Dakkada FC at the Agege Stadium. The composed control and volley were classic.