Promoted Katsina United have got their NPFL campaign off to a winning start after they defeated Gombe United 2-1 inside the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina today.
Home team Katsina United were more determined against a team lining up several NPFL campaigners.
But for wastefulness especially in the second half, ‘The Changi Boys’ ought to have won this game by a bigger margin.
Obinna Eleje, Tasiu Lawal and Suleiman Ibrahim had good chances to take the game beyond the visitors after the interval.
All three goals were recorded in the first 45 minutes.
‘The Changi Boys’ took the lead after just eight minutes courtesy of a super strike by winger Tasiu Lawal.
However, Gombe equalized through ex-Kano Pillars striker Manir Ubale, whose free kick Katsina United goalkeeper Yinka Davis did not have an answer to.
Minutes later, Davis denied Ubale a second goal with a superb save.
An effort by Katsina striker Obinna Eleje was disallowed after 19 minutes.
Katsina United then regained their lead in the 33rd minute through Suleiman Ibrahim, when he shot home after a great cross by skipper Nasiru Sani.
Gombe United fought back for an equalising goal before the game was blown off for half time.
Start list vs Gombe United Yinka Davies 1 – Frank Kappa 12, Nasiru Sani 6 (Captain), Timothy Danladi 5, Ado Ali 2 – Usman Barau 4 Lawal Tasiu 7, Ibrahim Suleiman 9, Obinna Eleje 25 (Bidemi Abdulwahab), Usman Bello 13 (Destiny Ashadi), Agboola Joshua 8
Subs: Kenneth Okoli 34, Isah Abdulrahman 3, Janaidu Kabir 22, Ajaero Kingsley 29, Suleman Musa 18
Katsina agog as Katsina United host Gombe in first NPFL clash in 15 years
The ancient Northern Nigeria city of Katsina will come alive on Sunday afternoon when darling team Katsina United host their first NPFL game in 15 years.
Sunday’s opponents inside the magnificent Muhammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina will be another promoted club Gombe United.
‘The Changi Boys’ last played in the Nigeria top flight in 2002 when they were then owned by former NFF president Abdulmumini Aminu.
They are now financed by the Katsina State Government with Governor Aminu Bello Masari their No.1 supporter.
Katsina United are back in the big league after they won promotion from a section that included Mighty Jets, Kaduna United, Jigawa Golden Stars, Sokoto United, Kogi United, Shekarau Babes and FC Yarma Light.
They will go on to win the NNL Super 4 in Gombe to be crowned the overall champions of the country’s second-tier championship.
‘The Changi Boys’ have retained 22 players from their successful campaign last season.
These players include skipper Nasiru Sani, Timothy Danladi, Yinka Davis, Mustapha Shuaibu and Abdulkarim Ahmed.
New coach Bala Nikyu, assisted by Baldwin Bazauye, has now signed 15 new players including Bidemi Abdulwahab from FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Obinna Eleje of Warri Wolves and goalkeeper Dami Paul from Nasarawa United.
Abdulwahab and Eleje are expected to lead the attack against a Gombe United team now under the tutelage of former Nigeria U20 coach Manu Garba.
Manu will parade a more experienced team with the likes of former Kano Pillars stars Tijani Yusuf, Manir Ubale and Bala Mohammed very much part of his plans.
Katsina United petite winger Mustapha Shuaibu said his team will be victorious on Sunday.
“We will get the result against Gombe United. I believe in this team,” he predicted.
It will be a battle of two national team coaches as two promoted teams aim to get off to a winning start in the new NPFL season, which promises a lot.