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#RoadToFinal: Is Alimosho proving to be good enough to dethrone Dannaz FC?

When Alimosho football club arrived for the 2019 Bet9jaSociaLiga season, they had just one goal in mind – to make the top four and qualify for the playoffs.

Fast forward months later, not only have the Herd achieved their target, they have done so impressively by losing just two of eight matches in the just concluded first phase of the season.

In this piece, you will get to find out how this community team from Alimosho has done well for themselves in their first-ever season in the exciting Bet9jaSociaLiga.

Genesis

Like the debutants that they really were and are, Alimosho got off their season in the most expected of manners – a comfortable defeat.

The Herd were beaten 3-1 by two-time winners, the Saints FC, who were inspired by the attacking brilliance of their striker Olayinka Adiro who netted a brace on matchday one.

That defeat proved to be the inspiration Alimosho needed as they didn’t lose another match until matchday 8 when defending champions, Dannaz FC, overpowered them at the Legacy Pitch.

Three wins and three draws in their other six matches ensured a place in the playoffs was confirmed especially in emphatic fashion on the last day of the regular season against the Cubs FC.

The wins were against Citizens, All Black and the Cubs, while the draws came against Guns and Royals, both matches ended in goalless affairs with a 2-2 draw against Raineri completing the lineup.

The Fabulous

Apart from the shaky start to their maiden campaign, Alimosho’s success so far has been built on a stoic and obdurate on-the-pitch attitude and display.

The Herd are one team that has become a difficult nut to crack, exemplified by just two defeats in eight matches and two clean sheets.

However, the highlight of their sophomore campaign so far is the impressive display against the Cubs FC in the last day of the first phase.

Alimosho apparently left the best for last, as the very popular club amongst NPFL players masterfully put five goals past a helpless Cubs team at the Legacy Pitch.

It was the biggest scoring match this season at least so far with the Herd putting in a performance that could be seen as the club finally announcing their arrival to the big boys league.

The Farcical

Alimosho has had an almost impeccable season so far, from all standard and metric anyone would want to appraise them by.

There is hardly any part of their campaign that can be viewed as farcical especially given it is their debut.

But with 11 goals conceded in eight outings, the club must fix their defence ahead of their clash against champions and top scorers, Dannaz in the crucial knockout phase.

Star Player

While feelers within the club have picked assistant captain, Akinlabi Sodiq as their standout player so far, based on the fact he featured in their eight games in the regular season, thesocialiga.com has decided to go for their captain, Garuba Muritala.

The skipper has easily been the best and most consistent Alimosho player this season, and has led the team by example with his calming influence and organisation from the back.

Not only that, aside from Muritala’s leadership quality and influence, he has also contributed one goal, that memorable beauty against Citizens FC from range that kick-started their revival en route their first-ever SociaLiga victory on matchday two.

Coach's Corner

Coming into 2019 season, Raji Yekini took over the Men’s team of the now rebranded Alimosho. While he was not new in the Liga community, coachie was managing for the first time in the more competitive Men’s Liga.

Last season, coach Yekini led then SCN Ladies to the final of the Women’s Liga but unfortunately lost narrowly to winners, Knights Ladies.

Therefore, since it was his first campaign managing an-all men’s team, Yekini set a modest target of making the playoffs. So, having achieved that goal, the grateful and talented boss has set a new target for himself and team.

“It was great,” Yekini said about what it means to make the playoffs as he promised at the start of the season.

“(Because) we’re new in SociaLiga but we can (and have) prove(n) that we are good and better.”

“You know i am new in the male game (and) that is the reason why i promised top four. Last year I worked with the female team and I was in the final. So, it was a great experience for me as a coach.”

“As the coach, I promised my team top four and God has done it for me. But now, I am praying to God that i will be in the final by his grace.”

Up Next

The Herd will have their hands full when they take on defending champions, Dannaz FC, in one of three playoffs matches scheduled for November 24 at the Campus Mini Stadium.

Dannaz is one of two teams to have beaten Alimosho this season after that 2-0 win on matchday 8 at the Legacy and their boss, Yekini, has spoken glowingly about the defending champions in the past.

Whatever the case, with a place in the playoffs for the first time of asking, Alimosho are proving that they are not just good enough, but in the words of their coach, ‘better’.

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