“I’m happy with the way we have started the season and I believe we will do well in the league this season.”
Not many people took these Kennedy Boboye’s prophetic words beyond mere light-hearted optimism displayed by coaches at the beginning of a new campaign with a new club, perhaps, because it came barely 4 days into the new season but there is something that set this augural statement apart from all those PR antics that gaffers pull. This statement came after Plateau United had won 2-1 away at Remo Stars and walloped Enyimba 3-1 in their first home game of the NPFL season at the Rwang Pam stadium.
Like glittering lints, those impactful wins ignited an impressive 7-match unbeaten run which comprised the clubbing of Boboye’s former teams; Sunshine Stars and Abia Warriors and vital away draws in Nassarawa and Gombe as his new charges culled improbable 17 points from an available 21.
When Akwa United halted the rollercoaster run on Matchday 8, they’ve comfortably perched on the apex of the log 3 points afloat the nearest team, ABS. Only a defeat in Lagos to eventual second placed finishers MFM FC proved a smear in the resplendent fabric of another, but even more fantastic, 7-game run during which they plundered 11 goals and conceded just 2.
By the time the Peace keepers from the middle belt of the country trounced Gombe United 5-1 after coming from behind to do the double on Sunshine 2-1 in Akure, the Gaffer’s sandy words were beginning to hold substantial amount of water.
Ruthless group of players whose uber-attacking approach to every game regardless of its location beats the customary NPFL ideology of “hold your backyard make I hold mine,” and their impressive 13 away points couldn’t have been more potent as they pitched their tent right at the summit of the league for incredible 34 of the 38 matchdays of the season.
A team with an almost insatiable appetite for goals and even greater penchant for the prosaic act of defending. They are the highest scoring team, purged 49 goals and chipped in the division’s lowest – 27 goals, as they swept everything in front of them.
So, when the final matchday came running in with din coming with it about how MFM FC might smash-grab the title from these bunch of anointed champions, not many people took it more seriously than they took Boboye’s words 8 months ago.
Few hours later, Elijah Golbe lifted the beribboned Cup aloft as the entire Rwang Pam stadium cheered on and welcomed it’s first NPFL title after it was founded 42 years ago.