Despite the 2-1 loss to hosts Warri Wolves in the match day 11 encounter of the Nigeria Professional Football League at the Warri Township Stadium on Sunday evening, coach of Kwara United FC, Abdullahi Biffo, was all praises for the Nigeria Football Federation and the League Management Company for ensuring fair officiating and level playing ground for all teams either home or away.
Ironically, coach of the winning side, Ogenyi Evans, expressed serious concern about the management of the club, pointing to fundamental lacks.
Kwara started sharply, producing a great chance in the 14th minute when Christopher Nwanze located Afolabi in the goalkeeper Richard Ocheayi punched away his c for a corner kick.
Wolves however quickly turned over the pressure with with Michael Okoye breaking loose in the 20th minute but Issa Muoghara dispossessed just before he could settle to shoot.
They advanced again in the 35th minute with Sunday Williams gaining a one-on-one with Kwara goalkeeper Abdulateef Ishola but he blew his shot wide.
Kwara recovered immediately with Issa Magaji taking a solo run on fast break but he also shot off target and they were punished in the 38th minute when Williams also gained a head on on offensive and raced up to place the ball nicely beyond goalkeeper Ishola to give Wolves the lead into the break.
Wolves started the second half quickly with Efe Yarhere producing a superb finish from his dazzling dribbling run and perfect control, losing his marker and placing the ball far from the Ishola to double the lead.
Kwara was however undaunted and soon replied with an Alap Danbani stirke that left Ocheanyi no chance to save after he received a beautiful pass from Ozor Phillip in the 58th minute.
They kept up the probe for an equaliser but Wolves knew well to keep their lines clean to hold on to maximum points.
Biffo said Wolves were lucky to have won and blamed his players for losing good chances, declaring also that with the fairness in officiating, NPFL teams are now under pressure even while playing home.
“Wolves are a good side but they were lucky to have won. We came prepared to get the win or at least a draw but we lost a lot of chances especially in the first half at which we would have sealed the game.
” We however gave a good fight to come back and we pulled one back. We could have levelled up but Wolves fought to hold on. We were confident because the officiating was very fair. I must commend the LMC and NFF for ensuring the integrity of officiating. As it is now, all teams are under pressure to work hard because the field is open for any team to win both home and away.”
Ironically, Wolves coach Ogenyi Evans, even in the victory that takes them into the mid section of the log is unhappy about the state of affairs in his club, saying the club needs some serious restructuring.
“We thank God for the victory but we don’t always have to be under pressure. Wolves is a big name in Nigeria league but things have been poorly managed here. There are many things I cannot say here but the club needs restructuring. Imagine that the club doesn’t have a doctor nor a nurse.
” An important player of the club (Abu Azeez) was injured and he could he was badly managed. That was why I couldn’t take him to Plateau and you can see that even now he came in with a bandaged arm. The people from here (Delta State) need to report these things as they are and help advise.”