Tornadoes stake unbeaten run at MFM’s Agege temple
By Idowu Bakare
MFM FC begins the 19-game second half of the season with a clash against high-riding Niger Tornadoes at the Agege Stadium on Sunday.
The two sides met last weekend, with Abubakar Nyadebo scoring a first-half penalty to hand Tornadoes a 1-0 victory over MFM.
A 1-0 defeat to Go Round FC followed for Fidelis Ilechukwu’s men in midweek, but what’s ambiguous is whether the campaign constitutes progress. Ilechukwu is still trying to transform his team into a dependable entity, while fine-tuning his frontline and sorting out the exit of key players is still a huge concern.
However, the Olukoya Boys season is far from over, and as such a conclusive assessment is hard to deliver with 19 games to go.
Despite Ilechukwu’s struggles this season at the church-owned club, his counterpart at Tornadoes Hamza Abara has been able to transform the Ikon-Allah Boys since taking over from Erasmus Onuh in February.
Abara, who won the League Bloggers Awards (LBA) for the month of March, has spent most of his career in grassroots football and has proven to be a significant addition so far.
The former Sokoto United head coach has blooded in youngsters like Moses Ugwu, Yahaya Yusuf and Abubakar Ndayebo, while bringing out the best in assistant captain Bolaji Adeyemo and flying winger Ibrahim Babawo.
The nature of Tornadoes’ outstanding form has also made a mockery of those who questioned the management after they appointed the former Abia Warriors assistant manager.
While criticism of the sack of Abubakar Bala before the start of the season was justified, it is now clear to see the building blocks Abara has put into place in his first two months in charge.
“I’m glad with the performance of the team so far, but we’re just starting and it’s better to remain focused,” Abara said ahead of this weekend’s game.
“I’m expecting a lot more from my players against MFM and we’ll have to stay disciplined and convert our chances to keep our unbeaten run intact.”
Tornadoes are currently placed third on the log, unbeaten in nine top flight games and are just four points behind leaders, Lobi Stars.
MFM’s influential duo Sikiru Olatunbosun and Chukwuka Onuwa are expected to start after being amongst the substitutes against Go Round.
For Tornadoes, there’s question marks about the availability of Ibrahim Babawo, Sunday Akinmoladun, Peter Momoh, Daniel Japhet, Uche Onwuasoanya and Ammar Abdulkarim after they missed the clash against MFM last week
Sikiru Olatunbosun: Olatunbosun will be influential in this game, as he is pivotal in driving the Olukoya Boys forward. His work rate is exceptional, and he has also married that with technical prowess.
Abubakar Nyadebo: Nyadebo was the architect of the 1-0 win over MFM in the first leg as he netted the lone goal. He has immensely impressed since making the step-up to Tornadoes and he’s a danger to any team when he gets on the ball.
HEAD TO HEAD
29/04/18: Tornadoes 1-0 MFM
28/05/17: Tornadoes 3-0 MFM
15/01/17: MFM 3-0 Tornadoes
25/09/16: Tornadoes 3-1 MFM
16/05/16: MFM 2-0 Tornadoes
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