Isaac George has been nothing short of a revelation for the Nigerian Professional Football League this season, helping his newly promoted Akwa Starlets to a seemingly comfortable start to their debut campaign in the topflight with impressive performances.
George had caught the eyes of many with a season-defining performance during Starlets’ navigation through the rough roads of the Nigeria National League last season. The attacking midfielder was also on the score sheet as Caleb Esu’s side shocked Shooting Stars Sports Club with a 3-0 defeat in the NNL play-offs.
At the beginning of this NPFL season, Akwa Starlets were widely fancied by many to barely survive relegation but the debutantes are pulling more than just another campaign in the topflight. Plateau United and Wikki Tourists have earned the-two spots on the log, but Starlets, in the third position, are clearly flying way above the expected region and the club appears to be yearning for higher grounds.
Starlets are the only team in the NPFL to have scored at least a goal in all its matches this season. While this achievement is a result of the team’s efforts, George has perpetually stolen the headlines after most of the club’s games. But how important is George to this run?
George, who is fondly called “Mopol” by some fans, has been pulling the strings and proving to be a dependable arrow in the Starlet’s quiver. If he is not scoring the goals, he is doing well to provide an assist. The talisman has scored four goals and provided three assists in seven appearances for Starlets this term.
Having contributed to seven of the Starlets’ eight goals this season, George has a hand in 88-percent of the team’s goals – most by any player in the division. However, while his goal contribution rate is high, he has backed it up with compelling consistency – scoring or assisting a goal in each of the games this season.
For every footballer, there is always a requirement about the talents, consistency, and adaptation. These three factors have finely defined the margin of success achieved by every footballer from the little open field in Gbagada to the historic Wembley stadium. Footballers with the right blend of these factors acclaim wide recognition and prove pivotal to their team. This is the story of George so far this season.
Without any of George’s four goals, Starlets would be placed 18th on the NPFL standings with just four points, seven points less than their currently amassed eleven points. Esu and his coaching crew will have to ensure one the club’s most prized assets is fit and ready for the hurdle that comes with every matchday this season.
With the improving synergy he has established with Femi Ajayi, George also has a player he can pick out if he is not scoring the goals, thus improving Starlet’s chances of finding the back of the net.
He is not and may not be your Mfon Udoh or Rabiu Ali kind of legendary NPFL players, but George is seamlessly making football look easy on the eyes and the stats keep molding a towering status for “Mopol”.
The attacking midfielder has not missed a game for Starlets’ this season, so it is difficult to examine how the team will fare in his absence. Ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Enyimba, George could prove to be significant as he has proven on several occasions.
Expected to come up against a famous team and a resilient goalkeeper in Femi Thomas, the Starlets ace will have a great opportunity to prove his mettle for the umpteenth time.