TheCable takes a look at reactions from coaches and players on the matches played in week 18 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
FC Ifeanyi Ubah 0-0 Enugu Rangers
Ladan Bosso, FC Ifeanyi Ubah coach: “It’s a point won, but the match disappointed me a bit. It was intense, with two good sides duking it out. I think we played a good match against Rangers but couldn’t score. We will make corrections to mistakes noticed and effect necessary adjustments.”
Gbenga Ogunbote, Enugu Rangers coach: “The team showed a lot of courage to bounce back from everything that happened to them during the match, and we had to play some good football to earn a draw. We had the chance to win the game when Kelvin Itoya’s effort hit the woodwork. Overall it was a courageous performance from my players.
Lobi Stars 1-0 Kano Pillars
Solomon Ogbeide, Lobi Stars coach: “I think there is a certain legitimacy in our position given the number of points we have. It’s not a surprise. We still have the momentum. Before the game against Pillars, we had 30 points, now it’s 33, which says something. We put in the same attitude each game and try to play with our identity. We mustn’t get too comfortable, we mustn’t forget where we started.”
Musa Ibrahim, Pillars coach: “The second half was more open. We tried to push higher up the pitch, particularly in midfield, and in the end, things didn’t work out for us. We will go back home and try to improve.”
Niger Tornadoes 1-0 Yobe Desert Stars
Hamza Abara, Tornadoes coach: “We played in a somewhat new system and created chances. We did it to see what it looked like, and to give confidence to our forwards. It was a relief to win. We have had a good run of six or seven games and we are in the right frame of mind.
Chidiebere Ajoku, Yobe Desert Stars striker: “It was very painful to have lost the game very late. We were very determined to pick at least a point. I was very disappointed not to have scored against my former team.”
Kwara United 1-1 Go Round
Abubakar Bala, Kwara United coach: “We always try to play when we have the opportunity. There are boys who turn up for every game, which is good for team spirit and helps us maintain our level. We weren’t happy sharing the spoils. The transfer window is almost here, the team will be beefed up.
Azu Chile, Go Round player: “We scored at the right time and defended in numbers. Better days lie ahead of us in the NPFL.
Heartland 1-1 Plateau United
Moses Akinade, Heartland player: “We dominated most of the game and were almost never found wanting by our opponent. We probably lacked a bit of luck to score two or three good chances.”
Kennedy Boboye, Plateau United coach: “It was a very good match against a Heartland team whose quality we knew about. They were aggressive. We had great difficulty in thwarting their play. Our start to the second half was much better. In the end, it is a good point for us. A point is still better than nothing, especially away from home.”
Wikki Tourists 0-0 Enyimba
Shammah Tanze, Wikki Tourists forward: “It’s just one of those days that you create chances and fail to score. We really tried to get at least one against them but luck wasn’t our friend.”
Austin Oladapo, Enyimba player: “It’s a good point. We managed to thwart Wikki by working hard, although we could have done better with two or three counter-attacks. This point will help us to believe in ourselves. That’s a positive point. I’m happy for the team.”
MFM FC 1-1 Rivers United
Fidelis Ilechukwu, MFM coach: “I’ve always said there would be complicated periods. Our strength will come only from the collective team spirit, from refusing to be beaten. The club is a unit.”
Emeka Atuloma, Rivers United midfielder: “I got at the right place and scored. The result was needed and we got it. What matters most is consolidation.”
Nasarawa United 1-0 Abia Warriors
Kabiru Dogo, Nasarawa United gaffer: “This victory means that we are not dead and that’s good. Nevertheless, we must remain focused. It’s a big sigh of relief, but we’ll have to string together more wins and stay in this form. The guys fought hard even if not everything was perfect. We have plenty of energy to go and win games and it is nice that everybody fights for each other. No one is against the grain. This win is a big step for us.”
Emmanuel Deutsch, Abia Warriors coach: “We tried our best to get a positive result. Congratulations to Toulouse. We will go back to the drawing board.”