Former Abubakar Bukola Saraki FC player Seun Sogbeso’s double from the spot for Nasarawa United sent ABS to relegation as they lost 2-1 in Lafia on the final matchday of the Nigeria Professional Football League season.
Although, the visitors understood a win for them in Lafia would probably keep them up provided results elsewhere went in their favour. The solid miners put the Saraki boys to the sword at the Lafia township stadium in a keenly contested affair.
Nasarawa United defender, Sogbeso broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute from the spot after Luqman Hameed had brought down Sibi Gwar in the box. Sogbeso sent Abdullahi Boje the wrong with his spot kick.
The hosts were denied what could have been a second goal by the woodwork on 62 minutes when Mohammed Shamasu’s thunderous shot hit the cross bar.
The visitors then won a penalty when Wasiu Alalade skipped past his marker before he was upheld in the box. Samuel Oyedeji stepped up and made no mistake to level the scores for the Saraki boys after 75 minutes.
The Ilorin based outfit could have made it 2-1 in the 81st minutes. Gata Adeshina picked the ball from the edge of the Nasarawa United box and dribbled past two defenders, but his close range effort was nicely saved by Umar Danlami in between the sticks for the solid miners.
Nasarawa United was presented with another advantage with some seconds left on the clock to play as Chinedu Ajanah awkwardly brought down Shamasu in the area. Sogbeso made it 2-1 for the solid miners and sent Saraki boys back to the lower division after just one season in the top flight.
ABS FC joined the likes of Shooting Stars, Gombe United and Remo Stars as relegated clubs of the 2016/2017 NPFL season. Thus, they will campaign in the Nigeria National League next season.
Nasarawa United gaffer Kabiru Dogo in his reaction after the game felt sorry for ABS – a team which gives young players a chance to become a big player.
“I’m sure this team will quickly return to the NPFL but then I hope they get it right. I’m not happy and I’m disappointed because there was nothing I can do to help this team to maintain their NPFL status. This is my former club and it pained me really bad but I wish them quick return to the NPFL because I think that’s where they belong.
ABS FC coach, Henry Makinwa on his part said it was a big experience for him. He prosecuted the season with young boys.
“This is the team that paraded younger boys most in this season. I think the boys were tired physically, mentally and emotionally at some points.
“They really did so well in the first stanza of the season. I think they went to sleep because at some points. We aren’t a bigger side like Enyimba; Ifeanyi Ubah, Akwa United, Lobi Stars and co, but I think we have done our best and that’s how God want it. We will be back soon. The objective of the proprietor is to build young guys so that they will become super stars and I think we have tried in achieving that.”
ABS FC next game is the Aiteo cup round of 16 against Unicem Rovers on Wednesday.