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NPFL: Talking Points From The First Half Of The Season -The Bad



NPFL: Talking Points From The First Half Of The Season -The Bad 15

After 19 rounds of matches in the Nigeria professional football league, 2017 season, the league goes on a break to give the 20 teams in the league a much-needed rest.

However, it is important to examine the successes and the failures recorded in the first half of the season by the League Management Company. As there were positives in the league so also were the downsides. In the earlier article:, we looked at the positives,  however in this article, we will dissect the negatives and later on in concluding part of the article, we will talk about the way out.



Just when things were going pretty fine for the NPFL, a major setback occurred when the TV rights owners of the league Supersport, decided to pull out of a three-year deal which was expected to run out in the 2018 season.

The cable TV station which has been the sole broadcaster of the league over the years claimed that the blackout of the NPFL matches on supersport is as a result of “breach of contract” by the LMC.

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Until a stable TV right owner is secured, the may not improve as expected as the importance of the TV can not be overstated because video evidence will go a long way in curbing crowd violence and poor officiating while improving fans interest and followership. The popularity of foreign leagues is majorly due to their accessibility on cable TV and should the NPFL be easily available on TV just like the EPL then more followers will be won over.

Imagine what would have happened to Sikiru Olatunbosun’s goal against Rangers, without a TV coverage of the match, your guess is as good as mine; it wouldn’t have been recognised by CNN.
However, reports claim that the LMC is trying re-negotiate with Supersport over a new deal, while others are touting Kwese sports to be the league’s new TV right owners.


One of the two major reasons why the NPFL lost its fans (the other being security), it’s quite predictable to pick all home teams to win and they all win, just recently in the match day nineteen games, not a single draw was recorded with all home teams winning.

This is what a typical person will point out when you persuade them to watch the NPFL, a league that only the home teams always win irrespective of the pedigree of their opponents.

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It’s therefore not a surprise to see Eyinmba lose to Remo stars in Sagamu or see Pillars defeated by Kastina united in Kastina. The contributing factors to this include biased officiating which was actually was aided by LMC albeit unintentionally in 2013 when home teams were told to pay referees indemnity, of course, this led to a case of “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”.

Fatigue on the part of the away teams having to play and travel twice in a week is another reason for the home winning syndrome.


The league has been plagued with a lot of bad officiating from referees so far this season, the opening match of the season between Kano Pillars and Ifeanyi Ubah was abandoned 50 minutes into the game after the referee, Fulosho Ajayi had disallowed a clear goal scored by Ifeanyi Ubah and later sent off the official to the stands.

That hasn’t been the only controversial officiating so far this season as Remo stars (against Sunshine stars in Akure), Rivers united (against Gombe united) and a host of other teams have had clear goals cancelled by referees.

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Also teams like Ifeanyi Ubah,  MFM have had late penalties giving to them, albeit some legitimately, more amusing is the fact that these controversial calls have been in favour of the home side, this could be assumed to be a result of bribery and threats against referees by officials of home teams and their fans.

All these controversies trailing the referees has further tainted the image of the NPFL as a rapid growing league and also the reputation of Nigerian referees for international tournaments.


A terrible occurrence that has continued to plague our dear league, although bad officiating, crowd trouble happens all over the world, but the case of the NPFL is quite disturbing as it happens more frequently and always violent with officials and opposing players getting injured.

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In week 18 matchday, Kano pillars lost at home to Akwa united, the result led to bloody attacks on Akwa united players and coaches by pillars fans apart from the 3 points won, Akwa united also took some bruises and injury back to Uyo.

On the same match day, Kastina united defeated Eyinmba by 2-1 after the away team had led for the most part of the game, yet violence erupted as Enyimba players were attacked by Kastina fans after the game, with reports that Enyimba’s Ghanaian goalkeeper Fatau Dauda punched a ball boy to coma.


Although this issue has reduced compared to the recent past, some teams still owe their players backlog of salaries.

Players of Sunshine stars had earlier threatened to boycott their matchday 10 match against Rivers united in a bid to get the state government pay their salaries, with the team storming the Ondo state governor’s office in protest of their allowances.

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Similarly, league champions, Enugu Rangers had their second leg of the CAF confederations cup qualifiers against Zesco united shifted by 2 hours after players refused to travel in protest of their unpaid allowances.

Until players are paid as at when due, they cannot be expected to give their 100% on the pitch of play, one of the reasons why privatisation of the clubs is needed.


One can count the number of standard stadia in the league with the tip of the fingers, many of the stadia pitches look more or less a public secondary school playground surrounded by open stands.

The few natural grass pitches are poorly maintained while the few good looking pitches are mostly artificial turfs.
Apart from the Godswill Akpabio’s stadium in Uyo, no other stadium can boast of a decent natural turf.

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NPFL: Talking Points From The First Half Of The Season -The Bad 22

Playing at the Abia township stadium is a nightmare for players, the turf of the stadium can be likened to a Cassava plantation, yet it was approved by the LMC at the start of the season. The UJ Esuene stadium inCalabarr which used to host super eagles matches in the past, looked awful and painful as it were, was shown to the world on Supersport when MFM FC visited Enyimba in one of the league matches. Also recently parts of the stadium collapsed during one of the heavy rains in Calabar.

The LMC need to take actions on some other gory pitches like the Rwan pam stadium Jos, Gateway Intl stadium Sagamu, and most especially the Abia township stadium.

In the concluding part of this article, we will look at the viable solutions to this problem with statistics from the first stanza of the league.



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3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere



3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.

The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.

Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues

  • Paulinho

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.

Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.

They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.

He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.

The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.

In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.

Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.

Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”

  • Iago Aspas

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.

After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.

At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.

In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.

READ ALSO: 10 Premier League Players With Most Own Goals

  • Diego Forlan

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.

Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.

In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.

The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.

With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.

Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.

Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.



There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.

These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.




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Top 10 Football Dribblers Of All Time




Top 10 Football Dribblers Of All Time

The beautiful game of football is arguably the only sport that entertains its fans with the opportunity to witness a genuine instance of sheer genius with a series of beautiful nutmegs. The display of skills, footwork, eye-catching dribbles by different players makes the game more entertaining.

A lot of players around the world can dribble, go past a defender with a single flick and pace. However, good dribblers can be considered as one of the most important key players of a team, as they can unlock any kind of defense.

There are tons of Football dribblers, but only the best have made it onto the CheapGoals list.

10. Roberto Rivelino

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Rivelino’s magic with the ball was unbelievable, doing things nobody ever has or will do on a football pitch, and also had a quality of certainty about himself when he was on the ball.

He would not only wind past his opponents but also mortify them and smash defenders’ confidence. Sudden speeding up, various body bluffs would see him outfox defenders on numerous occasions, as some would say Garrincha made the ball talk to his feet.

9. Pelé

Other than being authoritatively one of the best footballers to ever graced the beautiful game and lived with three World Cup medals, this iconic Brazilian player was incredible at dribbling. Being able to control the ball in front of defenders and going past them with ease and confidence is something an aspiring footballer would dream of.

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8. George Best

Undoubtedly one of England’s greatest players, having scored 137 goals in 361 appearances for Manchester United in a career that spread over more than a decade for the Red Devils. He had the confidence to make use of the ball within and outside of his boot so well that he could cut around players quickly and easily.

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7. Ronaldo

De Lima is known for dribbling past defenders and after that going ahead to score a goal. only a few players have aced the popular ‘step over’ dribble as Ronaldo always proved to be a match-winner time over time with his solo dribbles.

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6. Johan Cruyff

One of Cruyff’s best abilities was that he had the ability to recognize any weakness and shortcoming in a defender. Like De-lima, he had a move named after him called “The Cruyff Turn”. It would appear as though he was passing the ball to a teammate but instead to kick the ball, he would turn 90 degrees and drag the ball within his foot behind his back leg. This sudden 90-degree move always left the opponent over to the cleaners.

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READ: Top Ten Female Football Players From 2005 Till 2017

5. Garrincha

Talking about football dribblers, Garrincha compared to Pele was generally viewed as the best dribbler ever. His extraordinary speed combined with his stunning ball control always leaves defenders powerless, and unfit to deal with his mesmerizing dribbles. At just 5ft 6inches Garrincha’s low center of gravity helped him weave around opponents effortlessly.

Top 10 Football Dribblers Of All Time

4. Diego Maradona

Maradona uses a style of dribbling called “Gambetta” in which he would use his body position to trick into going the wrong way.

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Maradona is an impudent, supreme football dribbler – who uses his small stature to make an extraordinary impact which made him one of the best dribblers in football. His strength and control made it difficult to knock him off the ball.

3. Okocha

Considered by many as a standout amongst one of the most skillful players in football, he was commended for his abilities and inventiveness. only if his prime had lasted longer, he may very well have been crowned with Ballon d’Or but Okocha is one of the best football dribblers. Be that as it may, it always a joy to watch the Nigerian dazzle on the football pitch.

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2. Ronaldinho

The former PSG forward and Brazil legend came into the limelight amid his time with Barcelona scoring 70 goals in 145 caps for the club. Dinho brought his mesmerizing pattern of football from the streets of Brazil onto the world stage, and defenders couldn’t deal with his skills and frills.

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Every little thing about him appeared to be so superb. From his sly bluffs to his sudden change in increasing speed, all that he did was accompanied by a smile all over his face. His most popular trick was  ‘Snake Bite’ where he would trick defenders by pushing the ball sideways, however, all of a sudden pulling the ball back the other way. He is considered one of the best football dribblers.

1.Lionel Messi

Having for all intents and purposes wins everything minus a World Cup, the four-time Balon d’Or winner is magnificently unstoppable on his day. The Barcelona forward has scored lots of stunning goals, beating three, four, even five players before firing it in the back of the net.

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Honourable Mentions

Mathias Sindelar, Zinedine Zidane, Micheal Laudrup, Adama Toure, Magico Gonzalez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Ariel Ortega, Eden Hazard,Dennis Bergkamp.


This is CheapGoal’s top 10 football dribblers, if any of our loving readers feel otherwise or have their preferred special list, pls don’t hesitate to drop and comment…

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