The Indigenes of Bwari Area Council in the FCT were treated to a football spectacle at the Bwari Mini-Stadium, on Tuesday afternoon by one of the country’s finest non-league playing sides, Mahanaim FC.
The 2022 FCT Aiteo Cup giant killers made a short trip to face a home side- called New Dawn FC in a friendly game; having both faced off similarly in 2021 with the score-line ending 1-1, and the Kubwa-based club was without star forward Paul Ogunkoya, who joined Norwegian side Stabæk Football on deadline day in the summer transfer window; Aliyu ‘Tiger’ who’s recuperating from injury and U-17 vice-captain Yahaya Lawali were also rested.
However, Coach Jackson was still able to call up a very strong lineup mixed with plenty of youths with Captain John Light and a tricky midfielder, Yakubu Joel ‘aka’ Spirit leading their quest for victory.
The host started the brightest and passed the ball around, however, the visitors’ high-pressing style of game caused them a plant of problems as they began to suffer plenty of turnovers in the opening exchanges.
Ten minutes into the encounter, Mahanaim Fc unleashed their first full attack with Spirit and Jamiu in the mix as they earned a corner, as the resulting corner led to the first goal but the referee spotted an infringement and ruled for a foul against the visitors.
Moments later Mahaniam had their nose in front, a lovely pass from the back from the skipper, John Light found the impressive Innocent James, who then showed good composure before feeding Jamiu Sulieman while beating his marker before firing into the net for 1-0.
James then went from provider to finisher eight minutes later as he regained his balance to tap home from close range following a lovely ball from the flanks by left-back Abdulrahman Mohammed, to make it 2-0.
The goal was what the visitors surely deserved as they continued to push for more, but a moment of madness seconds before halftime saw them concede the ball in front of their box- as the host pounced to pull one back and ended the half 2-1 in favor of the visitors.
Despite the lead at the break Coach Jackson and one of the club’s Directors, and Head of Communications, Olaoluwa Aro, showed their displeasure to the boys and urged them to uphold the club’s value on the pitch and be dominant purposefully in the second period.
Those words sure did sink into the minds of the players as they completely seized possession in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, moving the ball more quickly and precisely almost identical to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
They soon turned their domination into goals, seeing Joel clearly showed why he was nicknamed ‘Spirit’, as the attacking midfielder went past several markers before slotting into the bottom corner for a 3-1 lead. Moments later, he made it 4-1 as he controlled expertly following the goalkeeper’s clearance from Light’s well-taken set piece and then unleashed a left-footed thunder strike to wow the entire crowd and grab his brace, which obviously ended any hope of a comeback as the home-side were despondent in their display.
Spirit was then replaced with 20 minutes left to play as Coach Jackson rang in the changes to help give room for fresher legs.
However, the tempo did not drop a bit as Mahaniam FC added two more goals from Imran Aliyu and Elijah Emmanuel, both substitutes sealed an emphatic 6-1 win to the admiration of the home fans who praised the visitors for their good football intelligence on and off the ball.
Mahaniam FC next face Camp United at the Mambila Barracks later on Wednesday evening hoping to improve on the 4-0 thrashing they handed to the Barrack boys last year.