Officials of Nilayo FC of Abeokuta are hopeful of a better future despite the team’s 1-3 defeat to Shooting Stars s Club (3SC) of Ibadan in their Nigeria National League (NNL) encounter on Wednesday. The match played at the Ijebu-Ode saw 3SC striker, Gafar Olafimihan, grab a hat-trick with two of the goals scored in the second and seventh minutes before he converted a penalty kick in the 46th minute.
The Abeokuta-based Nilayo FC however reduced the deficit in the 82nd minute when they were awarded a penalty kick, which Kabiru Popoola converted to end the tie 3-1 in favour of the Oluyole Warriors.
The victory was the eighth for Oluyole Warriors in eight matches played so far in the NNL League. It was the striker’s second hat trick this year, having scored all the three goals in 3SC’s 3-0 win over Rovers of Calabar on matchday one, thus bringing his total haul so far to ten.
The defeat notwithstanding, the General Manager of Nilayo FC, Lekan Kilani said the team had a brighter future.
“We lost this match because of little mistakes by our players, particularly in the first ten minutes of the match,” Kilani told The Guardian shortly after the match. “But the coaches instructed the boys what to do during the halftime break and they were able to adjust quickly. You could see that the second half was far better. As I said, Nilayo FC has a very bright future. The season has not ended yet. Anything can still happen.
“ I am very happy Nilayo FC has made a bold statement this year. I thank our proprietor, Bukola Olopade for his financial commitment as well as morale banking to the club.”
We are going to Abeokuta to prepare for our next match,” Kilani said.
Meanwhile, General Manager of 3SC, Rasheed Balogun, says the team’s focus is to return to the elite Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) at the end of the season. The Ibadan soccer lords have chalked up a maximum of 24 points, having won all their eight matches, scoring 19 goals, conceding two.