Sunshine Stars new boys show promising signs ahead derby with Remo Stars

By Idowu Bakare

Sunshine Stars aim to continue their unbeaten streak in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) when they host Remo Stars on Sunday at Akure Township Stadium.

With both clubs in the upper half of the Group A table, this is a finely-balanced match that should determine where both teams will end up after this weekend’s matchday.

IMPACT OF NEW SIGNINGS

The Akure Gunners’ transfer dealings have revitalized a squad that played below their standards last season – in which they finished in 18th position. A draw away at Kwara United and most impressively, a 1-0 away victory at Wikki Tourists have engineered a vital sense of momentum this season.

And the name on the lips of many Sunshine Stars fans after their away win against Wikki is Chibundu Amah. Having already drawn praise for his performance against Rivers United, the Abia State-born striker’s match-winning effort against his former side had the Akure Gunners’ supporters and neutrals alike marveling about his contributions since signing.

Amah, of course, has not been the only new arrival to make an impact in Akure. Striker Barnabas Daniel, midfielder Esosa Igbinoba and defender Seun Sogbeso have impressed while there are high hopes too for former Heartland winger, Fuad Ekelojuoti (who made his debut against Kwara United).

However, it is Amah who has made the most telling impact under new head coach Kabiru Dogo this season.

“I dedicate my goal (against Wikki) to the technical adviser of my team who did not only have faith in me but also gave me the opportunity to prove myself.

“I had the opportunity of trying out with Wikki Tourists, MFM FC and a couple of other NPFL teams last season, all to no avail, but my current coach (Dogo) had faith in me since the day we met,” Amah stated ahead of Sunday’s encounter.

Dogo has done remarkably well in maintaining steady form even during this discovery process of formation and selection experimentations – with Sunshine Stars finding a way of grabbing hold of games and picking points even when they are not at their best.

As tough a challenge as Remo Stars might pose, a win is as good as a must for Sunshine with competition for survival.

Moreover, if they are going to fulfil their ambitions this season they have to overcome some tough tests.

After this encounter, a game against Niger Tornadoes follows, with Katsina United, Bendel Insurance, MFM FC and Enyimba ahead soon afterwards.