Curtains fell on the 2023 NPFL Super Six tournament on Sunday in Lagos with Enyimba winning the title for a ninth time. The tournament had everything a football competition offers and our team of reporters at www.aclsports.com which covered the tournament put forward their Team of the Tournament.
The team is arranged in a 4321 formation with players selected with utmost objectivity hence the due explanations offered by Calvin Onwuka, Fisayo Dairo and Samuel Areo.
1. Olorunleke Ojo (Enyimba): Ojo is obviously one of the most talented goalkeepers in the league and this tournament proved that once again. He was on the bench for Enyimba’s opening game against Remo which they drew 2-2 with Bassa Djeri partly at fault with at least one of the goals. Ojo came in for the second game and retained his spot till the end of the tournament churning out superb saves to lead his team to the title.
2. Sodiq Ismail (Remo Stars): The right-back started the tournament slowly, but eventually came to the party in the final games with solid performances. His exquisite deliveries from wide got him two assists, which no other player had more in the tournament. Aside from his strong attack presence, Ismail was reliable defensively and started every game for the Sky Blue Stars.
☑️Six assists in the regular season — Remo Stars Sports Club (@RemoStarsSC) June 8, 2023
🆕One in the playoffs
Sodiq Ismail with seven assists thus far in #NPFL23 👏, that number for a right back is 🔥 #WeAreRemoStars | #NPFL23Super6 pic.twitter.com/2oOerXJQiQ
3. Chidiebube Gideon Duru (Rivers United): Duru once again cemented his rating as one of the league’s best left backs in this tournament. He was menacing on the overlap and solid defensively. His set-pieces were also important outlets for Rivers United to get goals including the one against Enyimba on the final day. Capped a great tournament with another Super Eagles invite.
4. Ikenna Cooper (Enyimba): Just like Ojo, Cooper missed the opening game but due to a stomach bug. His absence was so conspicuous that the technical crew could not wait to have him back. He returned from the next game and his impact was felt by all so much that many clamoured for his invitation to the Super Eagles.
5. Nduka Junior (Remo Stars): Captain Fantastic showed composure and confidence at the heart of the defense to lead the Ikenne side to pick a CAF Champions League ticket. He was crucial to the team’s build-up from the back with his intelligent passing. He scored a crucial late goal against Enyimba in the opening game and never looked back from there
6. Somiari Alalibo (Enyimba): Easily the best ball playing centre back in the league. Finidi George said before the tournament that Alalibo reminds him of peak Okechukwu Uche, the Gentle Giant and it was easy to see what he meant at this tournament. Alalibo’s composure, intelligence and dexterity is a rare attribute for an NPFL defender and by the time he copped an injury when Enyimba were leading Sunshine Stars 2-0 in their penultimate match, he had already sealed his place in our team.
One player that I admire in World Football: Somiari Alalibo (Defender, Enyimba)— Emeka Nwani (@mekus102) June 8, 2023
7. Divine Nwachukwu (Bendel Insurance): The midfielder distinguished himself in the playoffs. He scored three goals – the most by any player in Lagos. He also went on to create chances for his teammates, but they were not on the same wavelength. Disappointedly, Insurance failed to win a game and missed out on a continental ticket, but Divine’s performances were noticed and he was rightly invited to the Super Eagles squad.
The journey of Bendel Insurance this season has been impressive.— Adepoju Tobi Samuel 🇳🇬 (@OgaNlaMedia) June 9, 2023
* Unbeaten run of 21 NPFL games.
* 5 Cup games unbeaten.
* 26-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
📷 Divine Nwachukwu has been the most impressive & consistent player, he should start against Sierra Leone. pic.twitter.com/zaUvM264XU
8. Lekan Adebayo (Remo Stars): The hardworking midfielder could well pass for his side’s best player at the tournament. He was involved in everything Remo Stars did, as his well-taken goals against Rivers United turned the game on its head and he also provided an assist against Enyimba in the first game. Overall, it was a colossal performance from the Remo Stars Academy product.
CAF goal of the year? This is way way outta this world 🌎.— Leagues – Reporter (@LeaguesReporter) June 6, 2023
Adebayo Lekan 45 yards stunner 😳
( 🎥 Olalekan/Twitter. ) pic.twitter.com/3xRKXngzSo
9. Emeka Obioma (Enyimba): The league’s topscorer for a reason, Obioma showed up for the People’s Elephant whenever they needed him in this competition. Provided a brilliant assist for their first goal of the tournament and scored their second, against Remo Stars. Obioma added another goal before missing the final two matches of the tournament. He had done enough though to earn his spot.
2022/2023 NPFL Championship Playoff: — Adepoju Tobi Samuel 🇳🇬 (@OgaNlaMedia) June 5, 2023
Lobi Stars 0-1 Enyimba.
Enyimba with their first win of the Championship, four points from two games. Lobi Stars with one point from two games.
Emeka Obioma's first-half goall secured the win for the Elephants. pic.twitter.com/Pewy4oPvQa
10. Morice Chukwu (Rivers United): Morice started every game for the Pride of Rivers, as the 2022 NPFL champions missed out on the title by virtue of goal difference. The former Akwa United midfielder scored a crucial goal against Bendel Insurance and was quite dominant in the middle of the park, forming a quite solid partnership with Farouk Mohammed in United’s midfield.
11. Ekene Awazie (Enyimba): Awazie played the best football of his Enyimba career in Lagos and this culminated in his first goal in over a year against Rivers United on Sunday. He was the reason Sodiq Ismail did not start the tournament well as he had him on toast in the first game and remained consistent all through, starting every game and wreaking havocs against opposing right backs.
What do you have to say concerning our team? Let’s have your say in the comment section.