Matchday 5 would probably go down as the day a tsunami broke and swept away a number of coaches in its wake following a series of results that has already cost one head coach his job.
Benedict Ugwu became the first casualty of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League season following his brutal dismissal after his Rangers side succumbed to a shocking 2-0 loss at home to newbies Akwa Starlet.
The Flying Antelopes had been on a run of two straight losses in the league before Femi Ajayi and Isaac George scored the goals that condemned Rangers to their third straight loss and second on the bounce at home to leave them loitering in 15th place on the 20-team log.
The former Rangers stalwart was dismissed in the technical area before the referee sounded his whistle for full time.
News of Ugwu’s dismissal would have caused serious heart palpitations for Kano Pillars technical adviser Ibrahim Musa whose side were held to a barren stalemate by Wikki Tourists at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
Four-time league champions Pillars have now failed to score in any of their four matches this season and find themselves mired in early relegation trouble in 17th place.
Musa had been handed a three-game ultimatum to turn his side’s fortunes around or face “sanctions” but he’s been unable to hurt the Sai Masu Gida slide with the draw against Tourists coming on the back of a loss to Jigawa Golden Stars in the first game after the ultimatum.
With a trip to unbeaten league leaders Plateau United up next, Musa might well be living on borrowed time and could be out of a job sooner than later.
Another coach that would be casting nervous glances over his shoulders is John Obuh whose Akwa United side are yet to pick up a win this season and were held at home by Nasarawa United.
Fresh from feeling the wrath of home fans who descended on him following the 1-1 draw against Katsina United at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Matchday 4, Obuh masterminded yet another 1-1 draw to take Akwa’s tally of stalemates to four for the season.
The Promise Keepers took the lead through Ndifreke Effiong’s 45th minute penalty but the Lafia side ensured a share of the spoils through Godfrey West’s 52nd minute equaliser to leave Obuh skating on thin ice.
Meanwhile, Fidelis Ilechukwu can breathe a little easier after Ugochukwu Leornard’s 48th minute goal against Nasarawa United in Okigwe gave the struggling Owerri side their first win of the season.
Abdu Maikaba’s Plateau United consolidated their stranglehold at the top of the log with a hugely impressive 3-1 win away in Asaba to newly-promoted Delta Force.
The league leaders came from behind to score three times with goals by Uche Onwuasoanya, Michael Ibeh and Mustapha Ibrahim cancelling out Kazie Enyinnaya’s first-half penalty for the hosts.
Rivers United also scored an away win with a 1-0 defeat of newcomers Warri Wolves at the Warri Township Stadium. Stephen Gopey scored the winning goal for Stanley Eguma’s side in the 38th minute.
Veteran warhorse Gambo Muhammad added a late second for Katsina United after Tasiu Lawal’s fourth of the season set the ball rolling against Sunshine United at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium.
In Nnewi, FC Ifeanyiubah and Lobi Stars shared the points in a barren stalemate.
In Aba, Victor Mbaoma’s first-half heroics earned Enyimba a straightforward 2-0 win over Adamawa United. The former Remo Stars striker scored in the 20th and 26th minute to move the league champions up to the third on the log.
A few kilometres away, Abia Warriors moved up to sixth on the NPFL table after a 1-0 victory over MFM in Umuahia.
Oghenetega Ebetomane’s 6th minute condemned the Lagos side to their first loss of the season.
2019/2020 NPFL Matchday 5 Results
Kano Pillars 0-0 Wikki Tourists
Akwa United 1-1 Nasarawa United
(Ndifreke Effiong 45+2’ (PEN) – Godfrey West 54’)
Warri Wolves 0-1 Rivers United
(Stephen Gopey 37′)
FC Ifeanyiubah 0-0 Lobi Stars
Katsina Utd 2-0 Sunshine Stars
(Tasiu Lawal 80’. Gambo Muhammad 89’)
Heartland 1-0 Jigawa Golden Stars
(Ugochukwu Leonard 48’)
Rangers 0-2 Akwa Starlets
(Femi Ajayi 18’, Isaac George 44’)
Enyimba 2-0 Adamawa United
(Victor Mbaoma 20’, 26’)
Delta Force 1-3 Plateau United
(Kazie Enyinnaya 38’ (PEN) – Uche Onwuasoanya 44’, Michael Ibeh 71’, Ibrahim Mustapha 90+3’)
Abia Warriors 1-0 MFM
(Oghenetega Ebetomane 6’)