234football Team of the Week: Hat-trick hero Atshimene named alongside super subs Fernando, Mallam in attack


By Akila Matawal
Akwa United’s wait for a top-flight title came to an end on Sunday after they beat MFM 5-2 to confirm themselves as Nigeria Professional Football League champions.
And on Monday, Sunshine Stars came from behind to earn a shock 1-1 draw at Enyimba to put the Aba side’s Champions League qualificatiion hopes in jeopardy. That feat earns Owena Whales’ gaffer, Deji Ayeni, our coach-of-the-week honours.
We pick our best XI and line them up in a 4-3-3 format.
Goalkeeper: Pwadadi Bulus (Warri Wolves)
Pwadadi Bulus saved a penalty and made other outstanding saves as Warri Wolves pipped Heartland 1-0 in Ozoro to keep their slim chance of beating the drop intact.
Right-back: Chigozie Obasi (Nasarawa United)
Nasarawa United’s Chigozie Obasi provided two assists as the Solid Miners hit Enugu Rangers 3-0 in Lafia.
Left-back: Ini Edem (Nasarawa United)
Ini Edem put in a strong defensive performance and scored a spectacular goal late on to seal victory for Nasarawa United against Enugu Rangers.
Centre-back: Buhari Ibrahim (Plateau United)
Plateau United’s Buhari Ibrahim was solid in defence in their 2-0 win over Dakkada. He capped off a fine evening with a goal against the Uyo club.
Centre-back: Ejike Uzoechi (Sunshine Stars)
Sunshine Stars defender Ejike Uzoechi was right on time to score the equalizer as his team got a precious point against Enyimba in Aba.
Midfielder: Morice Chukwu (Rivers United)
Rivers United’s midfield pivot Morice Chukwu got his first goal for the Port Harcourt team as they beat Lobi Stars 3-1. It was the Ebonyi-born player’s second goal of the campaign, having netted for his former club, Akwa United, in a 3-0 victory over his current club back in February.
Midfielder: Oche Ochowechi (Plateau United)
Oche Ochowechi was on target as Plateau United beat Dakkada FC 2-0 in Jos.
Midfielder: Aliyu Abdullahi (Nasarawa United)
Aliyu Abdullahi registered his name on the scoresheet in Nasarawa United’s 3-0 thumping of Enugu Rangers. He was energetic all evening.
Right Winger: Wisdom Fernando (Akwa United)
Off the bench, Akwa United’s pacy winger Wisdom Fernando assisted Charles Atshimene twice as the Promise Keepers beat MFM FC 5-2 to seal the NPFL title.
Centre Forward: Charles Atshimene (Akwa United)
What more could you have asked for from Charles Atshimene? The Akwa United hitman bagged a hat-trick to help Kennedy Boboye’s men confirm themselves as NPFL champions.
Left Winger: Auwalu Ali Mallam
Kano Pillars faced Wikki Tourists at Ahmadu Bello Stadium, and they needed a win to keep their continental football qualificatiion hopes alive. But as the match neared its end, it looked like Pillars’ their hopes were disappearing, as they couldn’t find a way through. However, in stoppage time, substitute Auwalu Ali popped up to send the ball into the back of the net and spare Pillars’ blushes.

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