Prior to the beginning of the current Nigeria Professional football league, Abia Warriors were on the lips of everyone, some section of the league enthusiast already handed the Umuahia warlords the league title owing to the quality additions the club had in the transfer market, from the capture of one of the best coach in the league down to the caliber of experienced players who joined the Umuahia based outfit.
Inflicting defeats on many top clubs during the pre-seasons, everyone tipped the Umuahia warlords for glory as the team began to play a total brand of football, a brand which is only peculiar and associated with league winning coach, Imama Amapakabo.
After match day 19 which ushered in the mid season break, The Umuahia warlords are currently occupying the 10th position on the log with 27 points regardless the club slow start in the new campaign, the first of its kind since the Umuahia based outfit promoted to the Nigerian topflight in the 2012/2013 season.
Under this piece, we will have a review of all 19th matches played in the first stanza of the Nigerian Professional Football League, 2020/2021 season.
ENYIMBA v ABIA WARRIORS (1-0)
The Umuahia warlords welcomed the new season with the ‘ABIA DERBY’. Enyimbas new boy Samad Kadiri strike from the spot was all the Peoples Elephant needed to kick start the new season with all three points in the kitty while Abia Warriors suffered its first lose of the new campaign.
In the highly explosive game played at the Enyimba international Stadium ended in a barren draw after the first half and the much sorted curtain raiser came at the 55minute as Fatai Abdullahi was adjudged to have handed the ball with his hands right inside the 18yard box as the defensive midfielder tried blocking Enyimba’s midfielder, Ozor, strike.
Samad Kadiri stepped forth and slotted from the spot, sending Ojo Olorunleke who was in goal for Abia warriors the wrong way. kadiris strike turned out to be the only goal and the match winner for Enyimba FC.
ABIA WARRIORS v RIVERS UNITED (0-1)
The team had their hands full as they went toe to toe with ‘The Pride Of Rivers’ in its first home game of the new season at the Enyimba stadium, the adopted home of the Umuahia based team.
Outplayed the Coach Stanley Egwuma tutored side but failed to convert the begging chance, the chance which the team failed to capitalize on thus felled to the Opponents and it was experienced Rivers United forward, Fortune Omariwari, who made no mistake to convert the team first and only chance in the game.
All effort by Abia warriors to level up was futile till the blast of the final whistle with the Rivers state based side running away with all 3points. Disheartning!
AKWA UNITED v ABIA WARRIORS (2-1)
Ndifreke Effiong brace was all the Coach Kennedy Boboye side needed to compound the woes of the Umuahia warlords in one of the matchday 3 fixtures played inside the main bowl of the Godswill Akapabio Stadium.
The promise keepers were the first to draw the first blood and it was the former Abia warriors talisman who reacted first in a goal mouth scramble to put his side in an early lead in the highly entertaining game.
Abia warriors were thus privileged to score its first goal in the new season and it was off the boots of former Dakada and Akwa United defender, Harrison Ibukun. The defender who was left unmarked inside the opponents box had Paul Samson delivery fell to his feet, the defender calmed all nerves, picked a spot and the ball was held unto by the net thereby restoring parity for the Abia warriors side as both teams retire to the locker room all level.
Ndifreke netted his second goal in the game few minutes into the second half as Abia warriors goalkeeper, Vincent Edafe, was adjudged to have clattered into on rushing Fernado, Effiong made no mistake from the spot and it was all they needed to record another home win of the new season.
ABIA WARRIORS v JIGAWA GS(1-3)
After match-day three, Imama and his Abia warriors side were determined to turn around their fortune as they have already lost a total of 9points after Match-day three.
Surprisingly, the Umuahia warlords received another shocker of their lives as Jigawa GS ran away with all three points with a embarassing scoreline which was absolutely a big disgrace for a team who were tipped top title contenders.
Former Dakada striker, Utibe Arit, drew the first blood minutes into the game, the striker header seemed hot for the Jigawa GS goalie as the ball slipped from his hands into the net, a big sigh of relieve it was for the whole Abia Warriors family.
What seemed like a tiny light at the end of the tunnel went off completely, cutting the joy of the Abia warriors team as the visitors drew level with some minutes left for the interval break.
Former Kano Pillars strike, Stone Onukwube, who has been inflicting pains on the Abia warriors side since his days with GO-ROUND FC continued from where he stopped the last time as he inspired his side away win against Abia Warriors at the Umuahia township during the 2018 season.
The striker brace in the second halve sent chills down the spines of the Abia Warriors team, a result which was the shocker in all the match-day 4 fixtures.
With the suprising defeat against Jigawa GS, the Abia warriros management led by the astute and widely expereinced football administrator, Pastor Emeka Inyama did a reverse of what many football enthusiast expected, the guru in football administration handed the Imama Ampakabo led team a three match ultimatum or face the music as the press release signed by the club sporting director read.
FCIU v ABIA WARRIORS (1-1)
The three match ultimatum started counting from the next game at Nnewi, a familiar ground Abia warriors were yet to test defeat since its sojourn in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
A determined Abia Warriors filed against the Nnewi based club side, it was Christian Samuel who made the team intentions known to the host as the winger struck pass Goalkeeper Sharp Uzoigwe who was between the sticks for the FCIU side.
An early lead guided with all jealousy it was till the teams retired to the locker room. With some minutes left to bring the proceedings to an end, FCIU winger, Christian Molokwu restored parity for his side as the teams shared the spoils.
The shared spoils handed the Abia Warriros side its first point in the new season after 5matches.
CHANGE OF VENUE AND THE MAGIC AFTERWARDS
ABIA WARRIORS v MFM (0-0)
In a bid to salvage the situation and sort for a favorable fortune else where, the Umuahia based side thus changed venue from the Enyimba Stadium down to the Okigwe township stadium.
Breath of relieve, fresh air and momentum gradually creeped into the team, the Umuahia warlords returned home to trade tackles with THE CHURCH BOYS, the team first game in their adopted abode.
A determined Abia Warriors outplayed the visitors from the blast of the whistle down to the end but MOTHER LUCK, seemed to have deserted the team as the team missed a couple of chances and equally had a well worked out goal flanked for an offside leaving the team sitting pretty in the relegation zone on the log with just 2points outta 6games.
LOBI STARS v ABIA WARRIORS (0-0)
The Umuahia warlords on match-day 7 ambushed in-form Lobi stars side at the Aper Aku stadium in Makurdi. An outstanding performance it was from Coach Imama lads as the team who were in dare need of points threw all ammunition in the team Arsenal on the Makurdi based team, the host were lucky to run away with a point as all efforts by the highly spirited Abia warriors proved abortive.
ABIA WARRIORS v SUNSHINE STARS (4-1)
On return for match-day 8 home fixture at home against Sunshine Stars, everyone was thus jittery as the track records shows the Abia warriors side are yet to record a favorable result against the Akure based team but it was a different story under Imama Ampakabo.
Goals from Fatai Abdullahi, Emmanuel Ugwuka and a second halve brace from Super Sub, Bello Lukman, was enough for the team first win of the season, a win earned in a grand style.
DAKKADA v ABIA WARRIORS (2-1)
Haven gotten its first win of the season in a grand style, the team traveled to Uyo with high shoulders to trade tackles with the Uyo based side, a journey which slipped away from the Abia warriors hands as the team conceded two goals in the second half after the first stanza ended in a stalemate.
Mercurial midfielder, Fatai Abdullahi, brought a little hope with his well struck freekick but the resolute Dakkada team defended stoutly to ensure Abia warriors return to Umuahia empty handed.
ABIA WARRIORS v RANGERS INT’L (1-0)
Struggling Abia warriors returned home to an Oriental derby against Rangers International in a double header played at the Okigwe township stadium, broadcasted Live on NPFL.TV.
Another Litmus test it was for Coach Imama and his wards against the gaffer former club, a club the Okirika born gaffer made history after 32years the Enugu based club tested the league cup
The match lived up-to its billing as both teams showed off great football artistry, all thanks to Paul Samson 25th minute strike, a strike ranking amongst Goal of the season contender.
The brave warriors showed off character as the team guided the lead jealously till the blast of the final whistle regardless finishing the game with 10men
ABIA WARRIORS v WARRI WOLVES (4-1)
Second win of the season in the bag, the team spirit grew from strength to strength and the lost confidence regained, Abia warriors geared up for another tricky home game against Warri Wolves.
The Wolves were the first to draw the first blood in the early minutes of the game, the team smiles faded in split seconds, an upset ran through the minds of the Warriors but Obioma Chukwuemeka goal, the striker first goal of the season brought hope and smiles back on the faces of Imama and his coaching crew. Godwin Obaje completed the comeback to ensure the team led heading back to the locker room.
Returned from the locker room, Godwin Obaje completed his brace while dashing winger, Paul Samson, registered his name on the goalscorers chat for the second time in the season.
KWARA UNITED v ABIA WARRIORS (1-1)
Second 4-1 scoreline at the weekend, the warriors sent a signal to many sides as the team have caught its groove back. The team jet off for a date with in form Kwara United team in one of the midweek fixture of the season.
A cagey game it was, both teams were clever enough not to give room for silly mistakes as the first halve ended in a stalemate.
On return for the second stanza, Imama Amapakabo showed his in depth of experience, the former Rangers boss threw in the attacking duo of Mustpha Jibreel and Emmanuel Ugwuka into the foray, an instant positive result showed up as the two super subs combined to take the lead as Ugwuka clever pass found Mustapha Jibreel, the youngster showed off class to fire in from a blind side.
Unfortunately,the Ilorin based side drew level in a suprise manner
ABIA WARRIORS v WIKKI TOURIST (1-0)
Another tricky game at home on return from Ilorin as the team traded tackles with Bauchi based side at the Okigwe township stadium, a game broadcasted Live on the NPFL.TV
A cagey game it was, the first half produced no goal(s) with many misses by both teams recorded but Fatai Abdullahi spot kick was enough to record maximum points .
HEARTLAND v ABIA WARRIORS (2-2)
Many tongues that wagged in criticism and jest of Coach Imama Amapakabo during the team sag period still wagged in praise and admiration for Coach Imama. In life never write off anyone, miracles do happen.
Abia warriros took a short trip to the Eastern Heartland for its second Oriental derby of the season against Heartland FC.
A familiar ground, a ground the Abia Warriors side are yet to record a defeat, it ended with the track record unchanged as Godwin Obaje first halve brace were cancelled off as the two teams shared the spoils.
ABIA WARRIORS v KANO PILLARS (4-1)
A tough game it seemed but the in form Warriors changed the narratives as the team spanked Kano Pillars with a surprise scoreline, Abia Warriors third home win with same 4-1 scoreline.
Obioma Chukwuemeka brace, Godwin Obaje goal and Daniel Wotlai worldie were enough to extend the team unbeaten run.
ADAMAWA UNITED v ABIA WARRIORS (1-1)
The umuahia warlords engaged in another midweek fixture as the team traveled to honor a date with struggling Adamawa side.
Obioma Chukwuemeka goal was cancelled off by former Abia Warriors midfielder, Jamilu Danjuma, as the entertaining game ended in stalemate stretching Abia Warriors unbeaten run.
ABIA WARRIORS v KATSINA UNITED (3-1)
After the team positive result away to Adamawa united at the midweek, the Warriors returned home to gear up against struggling Katsina United.
An outright victory it was for the team, Godwin Obaje, Fatai Abdullahi and Paul Samson strike were enough to see off the game for the team, unbeaten run strecthed to 8matches, the highest so far in the season as at then.
NASARAWA UNITED V ABIA WARRIORS (5-3)
A formidable side the team who were mocked and condemned turned out to be as at the mention of the team name opponents always tremble as the team who has scored in all its away matches were in town.
Abia Warriors hope to exceed the number 8 unbeaten tally suffered a huge blow as the team succumbed to the Solid Miners in an 8goals thriller.
Godwin Obaje goal and Fatai Abdullahi double couldn’t rescue the day for team as the Lafia side had all points to themselves regardless Godwin Obaje goals disallowed on two occasions.
ABIA WARRIORS v PLATEAU UNITED (2-1)
With the first round clock ticking fast,Abia Warriors had its final game of the first round postponed to Easter Monday as to accommodate a double header, a game broadcasted Live on NPFL.TV.
Following the pedigree and style of play of the two clubs handlers, the game looked all interesting and surely lived up to its billing. Abia Warriors were the first to show business ways as Paul Samson 10min curler found the back of the net, a celebration which which was short lived as Mustpha Yuga Ibrahim drew level from the spot as Markson Ojobo was adjudged to have fouled Plateau United midfielder, Oche , inside the box.
The brave warriors restored its lead and it was Godwin Obaje who rightly positioned himself to score off Obioma Chukwuemeka assist.
The Abia warriors side guided the lead just as the Mother Hen guides its chicks against preys till the blast of the final whistle thus bringing the league first stanza to an end on a high.
Arguably one of the best side in the league who changed its fortunes to end the first stanza on the 10th position on the log with 27points ranking among the highest scoring sides with 30goalss, scored most at away with the duo of Godwin Obaje and Obioma Chuwuemeka as the team highest goalscorers with 7goals and 6goals respectively.
IN IMAMA AMAPAKABO WE TRUST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!