In a season that saw Akwa United move mightily out of the gate, the Promise Keepers ultimately managed to steady the ship and sail smoothly into the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Super Six on top of Group B. NPFL record goal scorer Mfon Udoh had 10 goals in his account for them.
The 2018/19 campaign was also the season of Ibrahim Sunusi, who carried Nasarawa United to fourth place with 10 goals, whilst Kano Pillars made the second spot their own in Group B, after a wonderful second half of the season.
The second stanza brought aspirations of NPFL playoffs contention for Lobi Stars, FC Ifeanyi Ubah and Enyimba which at the home stretch had their dreams for Super 6 football realised, the two clubs settling for the season ending competition
The relegation battle was fought until the very last matchday, with Plateau United dramatically escaping the drop at the cost of a surging Gombe United, who would join Go Round, Elkanemi Warriors, Remo Stars, Yobe Desert Stars, Kwara United, Niger Tornadoes and Bendel Insurance in the descension to the Nigeria National League.
Whilst the temptation may be there to list just Akwa United’s starting XI in the Team of the Season, Futbalgalore.com recognises the other individual talent to have shone alongside the Promise Keepers’ best this term.
Do you agree with our selection? Have your say in the comments below or get in touch on Twitter @Futballg!
Dele Ajiboye [Plateau United]
Yet another commanding season for the former Golden Eaglets and Flying Eagles ‘keeper, whose world-class saves and positioning won many crucial points for Plateau United. Without doubt his shots-to-save percentage is the best in the NPFL.
Etboy Akpan [Akwa United]
Never afraid to burst out of defence, the Akwa United defender ace had a season to remember with series of overlapping runs to the box. With an excellent average of 92 per cent of his passes on target, he was always ready to turn a tackle into an attack.
Ifeanyi Anaemena [Enyimba]
An absolute monster in Enyimba’s defence, combining composure on the ball with unmatched physicality that enabled him to shut down most strikers. Anaemena has demonstrated rapid growth as a defender. His fresh energy was vital to Enyimba’s cause with a blend of awareness and purpose that helped his team qualify for the playoffs. He netted six goals in the process.
Charles Okafor [FC Ifeanyi Ubah]
The former Plateau United defender has had an extra spring in his step this season and his personality and playing style perfectly suited FC Ifeanyi Ubah’s back four back. His development in determination and decision-making made him particularly stand out and he has been the silk to the Anambra Warriors’ steel.
Ebube Duru [Lobi Stars]
He was devastating down the left side and brought a crucial width to the team, running beyond defenders while stretching the play and switching defence into attack in a heartbeat. He was always a dependable outlet for teammates.
Anthony Omaka [Sunshine Stars]
As the team’s engine room the midfielder inspired his side throughout with his movement on and off the ball. The former COD United star Spaniard has shown yet again what an intelligent midfielder he really is, assimilating the ideas of coach Kabiru Dogo and playing further up the pitch to pull the strings and inspire the Owena Whales’ attack.
Godwin Aguda [Rangers]
Continued his stunning performances from the first half of the season utilising his pace, creativity and delivery. Aguda combines strength and quality in a manner that very few players in the NPFL can match. He is complete, and has been one of the few Rangers players to play at such a level throughout the entire campaign. He showed consistency and provided continuous quality to the Rangers attack, delivering three assists and scoring six times.
Rabiu Ali [Kano Pillars]
It’s no exaggeration that the technical, tall, powerfully-built Pillars legend has become one of the NPFL best players. The completely modern midfielder, he can change direction in a split-second, set up play and destroy the opposition’s as well. He putting together eight goals and four assists to help lead Masu Gida to the playoffs. He did a little bit of everything for the Pillars attack with his combination of vision, trickery and finishing ability and acted as the link between the midfield and forward line.
Mfon Udoh [Akwa United]
There has been no stopping the charismatic striker, who apart from firing the Promise Keepers to Super 6, dragged defenders out of position from deep and worked absolutely tirelessly for the team. Add his goals, assists and regular appearances in Futbalgalore.com’s Team of the Week and they exemplify the consistency, continuity and control he has shown all season. It grows difficult to continue finding ways in which to address the Mfon’s greatness this season. Tallying 10 goals is difficult to fathom. He was the Promise Keepers’ leader.
Tasiu Lawal [Katsina United]
Tasiu Lawal was always there when a goal was needed by the Changi Boys.He enhanced his growing reputation as one of the best wingers in the NPFL. His magnificent explorations down the right flank helped Katsina United beat the drop. He is practically taken for granted these days, and his return of 8 goals is simply the norm for one of NPFL’s greatest assets.
Ibrahim Sunusi [Nasarawa United]
As Nasarawa United’s top scorer and mischief-maker supreme, the young striker had a standout season. An absolute livewire in and around the box, he made himself really difficult to defend against. With 10 goals and six assists he excited fans with his dashing, positive runs, dribbles and terrific strikes. This season Sunusi has emerged as a genuine star. Bala Nikyu allowed the youngster to slowly grow into the Solid Miners starting lineup and it paid dividends. A constant threat throughout the season, and worked beautifully with Abubakar Lawal, Anas Yusuf and Thomas Adesina.
Manager: Rafael Everton [Akwa United]
In only his first season, the former FC Ifeanyi Ubah Manager has made astounding progress. He has ensured those players brought in have looked like the right decisions, whist he inspired the rest to greater heights with his exciting interpretation of the 4-2-3-1 system. Allows his players to express themselves to the admiration of fans and critics alike.