January, 19 2023.
Having struggled in the last two NPFL Seasons, Abia Warriors FC have started the 2022/23 Abridged League Season on a very promising note, and like a ravaging wild harmattan fire, by becoming the first side to win their first two matches when defeating Rangers International of Enugu 2-0 in Awka, and defeated Bayelsa United of Yenagoa 3-1 at home in Umuahia.
With the back-to-back wins, Abia Warriors are the clear cut early leaders in their section of the Nigeria Premier Football League, with Lukman Bello presently the leading goal scorer with 2 goals from two games, having also scored on Matchday 1, in the road win against Rangers.
While Lukman Bello savours being the leading goal scorer in the revatalised NPFL at the moment, this will be the first time in many seasons that Abia Warriors have been able to win their first two opening matches, consecutively.
Abia Warriors will play another home game against visiting Lobi Stars of Makurdi this weekend and another win for the Warriors will in addition to keeping them at the Summit of the table, make them early favourites to win the Group and qualify for the season-ending Super six (6).
Sticking with the very traditional 4-4-2 formation, Erasmus Onu who took over as Head Coachafter quitting relegated Heartland of Owerri, seems to have got his philosophy right.
Although, he claimed the squad did not have an ideal preseason, he admitted working with a group of determined and disciplined players, that have been paying attention to his instructions, and assured that the team has all what it takes, to improve with every match played.
Pundits in the NPFL believes leaving Bello Lukman, Philip as twin strikers, while playing four midfielders has been very rewarding, and could propel the side to greater heights.
In Wednesday's game, Abia Warriors went in front as early as the 2nd minute, through Kalu Nweke, but were contained for the next one hour by a resolute Prosperity Boys, until Bello Lukman struck in the 65th minute to make it 2-0.
Bayelsa United were able to halve the deficit, after Henry Udezuka found the back of the net in the 83rd minute to make it 2-1, www.ckdmedia.ng reports.
A last minute throw of the dice saw Coach Onu make two late substitutions, which paid off as the visitors, succumbed to intense pressure, when conceding the 3rd goal, in the 87th minute.