SEUN Sogbeso scored a brace for Nasarawa United in a 2-1 win over Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) Ilorin FC, to send the Saraki Boys to the Nigeria National League (NNL) in the final game of the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), season.
The Saraki Boys began the match bearing in mind a win may ensure their Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), status depending on results from other centres.
ABS will have themselves to blame for the loss as they missed chances after chances in the first half.
Luqman Hameed tripped Sibi Gwar in the 18 yard box in the 51th minute to give the host an advantage.
Former ABS defender, Sogbeso stepped forward and sent Abdullahi Boje to the wrong way to put the hosts ahead in the 53rd minute.
Nasarawa United would have doubled the lead in the 61th minute when Mohammed Shamasu’s powerful shot hit the bar, leaving Boje in a no man’s land.
In the 74th minute Wasiu Alalade raced ahead of a Nasarawa United’s defender but the defender clumsily brought him down in his own box for a penalty.
Samuel Oyedeji made no mistake as he sent Umar Danlami to a wrong place for 1-1 in the 75th minute.
Nasarawa United was presented with another advantage with seconds left on the clock to play as Chinedu Ajanah awkwardly brought down Shamasu instead of shielding him from getting the ball.
Sogbeso again stepped forward and finished perfectly well to end the game 2-1.
Speaking after the game, Nasarawa United Coach, Kabiru Dogo, said it was unfortunate that a team that gives young players a chance to become big stars is relegated.
He said he is personally disappointed because there was nothing he could do to help his former team.
Dogo expressed the believe that the Saraki Boys will be back next season.
His ABS counterpart, Henry Makinwa, said he prosecuted the just concluded season with young boys who were tired at some points in the season.
He said his boys were tired, physically, mentally and emotionally in the final game of the season.
“We have 12 to 13 players that play regularly for the team.
“We don’t have money like the big boys to compete with the likes of Akwa United, Enyimba, Ifeanyi Ubah and Co.
“The objective of the proprietor of the club, Dr. Bukola Saraki, is to develop young boys to big stars.
“90% of the objective is achieved this season, because many of the players will move on” Makinwa said.
To Sogbeso, he said he was very disappointed the club he love so much is relegated.
“Many of the ABS players that played today, can’t love the club more than me.
“This is football, there is nothing I could do to help them survive the drop, it was ABS that took me to limelight” Sogbeso said.
ABS assistant captain, Chinedu Ajanah, commended his mates for giving their all throughout the season despite little or nothing to compete with the big boys.
“The fact is we are tired, the long journeys didn’t help these young boys.
“I think we are the only team which couldn’t fly to a match venue this season.
“We are not machines, even sometimes machines break down” Ajanah said.
The Saraki Boys will now depart Lafia for Calabar to lock horns with Unicem Rovers in the round of 16 of the Aiteo Cup on Wednesday at the U.J Eusene Stadium.