The League Bloggers Awards (LBA) on Monday nominated four players and four coaches to contend for the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Player and Manager for the month of March.
Shortlisted in the players’ category are Abia Warriors striker Samson Obi, Austin Ogunye of Lobi Stars and the Wikki Tourists pair of Nafiu Kabuga and Abba Umar.
Obi is named among the shortlist for playing a major role in Abia Warriors’ fine run in March. The striker scored four times in three of their four matches in the month under review. The Abia Warriors man scored in the derby at FC Ifeanyiubah that ended 1-1 and followed up with two goals against Wikki Tourists and one at Akwa United. His goals earned Abia Warriors five of their eight points.
Ogunye had his most productive period of the season in March as he was directly involved in four of Lobi’s six goals. The ex-MFM man scored twice in Lobi’s dramatic 3-2 win over Rivers United and provided an assist in same game. His other goal came in the 1-2 defeat at Nasarawa United.
No other player provided the most assists in March than Wikki’s Umar. He provided two in his team’s 3-0 win over Rivers United and got another assist when they saw off El-Kanemi Warriors 3-0. He also helped himself to a goal in the El-Kanemi fixture.
Kabuga benefited from two of Umar’s assists when he netted the season’s first hat-trick against Rivers United. The former Kano Pillars forward also got involved as a goal provider in Wikki’s win over El-Kanemi in the northeast derby.
For the manager’s prize Hamza Abara of Niger Tornadoes gets a first nomination into the monthly award. He will contend with an impressive field of trainers that include Akwa United’s Abdu Maikaba, Emmanuel Deutsch of Abia Warriors and Solomon Ogbeide of Lobi Stars.
Abara led Tornadoes to an unbeaten streak in March – defeating champions Plateau United and Sunshine Stars in home games and playing draws at Kano Pillars and El-Kanemi while Deutsch also holds similar streak having led Abia Warriors to an unbeaten sequence as well. Abia Warriors defeated Kwara United and Wikki at home and got draws at FC Ifeanyiubah and Akwa United.
Ogbeide, on the other hand guided Lobi to three wins – the most in March by any team. It included an away win at Heartland as well as successes against Katsina United and Rivers United but suffered a 2-1 reverse at Nasarawa United.
Akwa United under Maikaba managed two wins at home against Heartland and Nasarawa United before Abia Warriors took points off them in a 1-1 draw at their Nest of Champions. Maikaba’s men suffered a 1-0 defeat to table-toppers Lobi in a month they took seven out of 12 points.
The winners for the LBA Player and Manager for March will be announced later this week.
Samson Obi (Abia Warriors)
Nafiu Kabuga (Wikki Tourists)
Abba Umar (Wikki Tourists)
Austin Ogunye (Lobi Stars)
Hamza Abara (Niger Tornadoes)
Abdu Maikaba (Go Round FC)
Emmanuel Deutsch (Abia Warriors)
Solomon Ogbeide (Lobi Stars)