Bayelsa United return to NPFL after seven years

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor

Bayelsa United returned to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) after seven years with a deciding 2-0 victory over Abakaliki-based side, Cynosure FC at Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa, on Saturday.

The match which was graced by the wife of the Bayelsa State Governor, Dr Mrs Gloria Diri, saw the likes of Timitimi Ineikade and Robert Mizo netting two vital goals in both halves to hand Bayelsa United a crucial win.

Having failed to take the lead a few minutes into the game, following a vital miss by Daniel Ekpo whose shot went wide from the target, Ineikade capitalised on a low cross from Alex Oyowah to rattle in a goal past Cynosure goalie Akwari Franklin for the Prosperity Boys before half-time.

On return for the second half, Bayelsa United almost got a double after Robert Mizo’s cross found substitute Tonyemiete Owugha in 66 minutes but the latter failed to take advantage of the defensive slack by the visitors.

Unfortunately for the Prosperity Boys, a penalty that was awarded to them after Robert Mizo was fouled in the 18-yard box in the 73rd minute was poorly played by Ezema Ifeanyi which was parried by a goalie Franklin.

When it looked like the Prosperity Boys were going to end the game 1-0, substitute Robert Mizo compounded the woes of the visitors as he intelligently curled the ball into the net in the 76th minute to send the ecstatic crowd at the Samson Siasia Stadium into celebration.

The victory moves Bayelsa United into the promised land having failed on three occasions, 2017, 2019 and 2020 before the appointment of the current board.

The return of Bayelsa United to the NPFL was also a fulfilment of Governor Douye Diri’s drive to see that the Prosperity mantra of his administration is achieved with sports and ensuring that Bayelsans witnessed topflight football.

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An elated technical adviser of Bayelsa United, Diepreye Teibowei in a post-match interview said he was happy to guide the team back to the elite division, pointing out that the intensity of the match affected the quality of play.

While appreciating Bayelsans for their support, Coach Teibowei explained that Robert Mizo was kept on the bench due to a minor injury that he has been nursing.

Despite the defeat Cynosure FC coach Joseph Bukola noted that they planned to get three points in Yenagoa, stressing that his team gave a good account of themselves.

Also, experienced left-back Hassan Oladimeji asserted that he feels fulfilled to come back to the Nigeria Professional Football League NPFL having vowed not to leave the club in 2016 when they dropped to the lower division.

He thanked the Bayelsa State government and the management of the club for giving priority to the welfare of the players, adding that he was encouraged by coach Diepreye Teibowei to stay back when he wanted to break his vow and move on.

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