895 days after their last game in Ikot Ekpene, the Champions of Lagos return to face former local rival Ibom Youth FC, in Week 15 of the Nigeria National League Southern Conference on Saturday, June 4, 2022.
About three months after the club’s founding, VFC played their first ever home match on December 8, 2019 against Bayelsa United in a packed Ikot Ekpene Stadium. The game also marked the club’s first competitive victory, a 2-0 win over Bayelsa United in the Nigeria National League, with goals from Ekerete Udom (first ever goalscorer) and striker Sampson Husseini.
Two weeks later (December 22, 2019) the Lions of Naija hosted Lagos-based Joy Cometh FC in front of an equally packed stadium. That day, it was a sublime Aberico Da Silva spot kick and an Ekerete Udom tap-in that ensured maximum points for the Lions against a very spirited and athletic Joy Cometh side.
The visitors’ head coach Alfred Madaki, and three of his players (goalkeeper Segun Alabi, winger Michael Ipaye and full back Felix Oloye) would later join Vandrezzer FC; with only Madaki (Academy Coach) and Oloye still left in the team.
The VFC vs Joy Cometh encounter would turn out to be VFC’s final game of the truncated 2019/2020 season; and indeed, their last game at Ikot Ekpene Stadium, before a sensational relocation to Soccer Temple, Agege, Lagos.
The Champions of Lagos are 3rd in Group B1 following a run of good form which has culminated in 13 points from the last five matches. This run has seen the Lions win all their matches in the month of May, creating a new club record in the process and the only side in the group to win three straight matches since the commencement of the season’s second stanza.
VFC are 3 points ahead of today’s opponent who are sitting in 4th place. They are also the joint-top scorers in the group with 19 goals alongside Bendel Insurance. The Lions have also scored in seven consecutive matches (11 goals) and conceded 6.
Three different players have scored five or more goals for the Lions - with Isaac Saviour leading the chart with 7 goals, Samuel Edoho and Olalekan Abdulsalam both netting five times this season. Saviour’s spectacular free kick in the 62nd minute proved the match winner of last Saturday’s 3-2 win over Ekiti, in the rescheduled Week 14 tie at the Legacy Pitch of the National Stadium, Lagos.
Meanwhile, Ibom Youth FC have experienced a recent deep in form, winning just one of their last five matches. They are yet to win a game since the resumption of the second stanza of the league, picking only one point in the process with two defeats. Their latest defeat was last weekend’s three nil loss to Ikorodu City in Lagos.
HEAD TO HEAD
The two sides have met once in any competitive fixture - an entertaining, nerve racking 1-1 draw at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos in March 2022.
Saviour Isaac put the Lions in front in the first half before Godwin Ndon scored the equalizer with a header in the second half.
Before then, the former neighbors were involved in a friendly game back in 2020 which was inconclusive due fans restiveness.
WHAT OUR COACH SAYS
“The expectation is the three points at stake, but we know it would be a tough game. However we are ready tactically, technically, and physically. We are playing home, Ikot Ekpene is like home for us and we have been able to tune the mentality of the boys to believe that.”
“This is a derby, and Ibom Youths is a good side considering their position on the table. We expect a great game and the boys certainly know what is at stake.”
Midfielder Anas Hassan is back with the squad after over a month out on national assignment with the national U-20 team (Flying Eagles), which won gold at the WAFU tournament in Niger Republic. The dynamic midfielder was given a guard of honour at training on Thursday afternoon, and looks set to start from the bench in today’s encounter.
Coach Henry Makinwa is likely to stick with the same starting line-up that overcame Ekiti United last Saturday, with Samuel Edoho leading the team that should also
feature Obinna, Akpan, Odiong, Oloye, Owolabi, Popoola, Fawaz, Kabiru, Saviour, Uwem, Olalekan and Gideon.
Godwin Ekpo (c)
VFC makes history on Saturday as the first Nigerian football club-side to run live commentaries via Twitter space. Follow VFC on Twitter to follow the commentaries, and you can also catch the regular updates of the game via all our media platforms.
Kick-off is 16:00 GMT.
Vandrezzer FC...VICTORIOUS TOGETHER!
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