• Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

End-of-Season Report: Hussaini Abdullahi – Bendel Insurance FC

As the dust settles on the just-concluded NPFL season, Jokanola Bolaji of Platinumnewsng.com takes a comprehensive look at the performances of Bendel Insurance players. This report focuses on Hussaini Abdullahi, whose season was a blend of surprising opportunities and challenges.

Hussaini Abdullahi’s Season Overview

Hussaini Abdullahi’s season began with a surprise inclusion in the CAF Confederations Cup. Despite this early exposure, he didn’t make an appearance in the NPFL until the second half of the season where he played as a centre-back.

Early Season and CAF Confederations Cup

Hussaini’s campaign with Bendel Insurance, also known as the Benin Arsenal, started unspectacularly. His first appearance was against then Algerian FA Cup winners, ASO Chlef in an important CAF Confederations Cup match. Although he made his debut for Bendel Insurance as a substitute defensive midfielder in a 1-0 away victory against Nasarawa United the previous season, his first full appearance came due to travel itinerary issues that forced Monday Odigie to play him against ASO Chlef.

Despite conceding a goal on his wing, Hussaini put in a commendable defensive performance, and he confidently scored during the penalty shootout, helping his team to a 3-4 victory on penalties after a 1-1 aggregate draw.

Sudden Introduction to NPFL

With the departure of Tanimu Benjamin to Tanzania’s Ihefu SC (now Singida Black Stars), Hussaini initially remained an unused substitute, with the more experienced Joel Djodang filling in. However, a season-ending injury to Djodang during a match against Plateau United led to Hussaini’s sudden introduction in a game that ended in a 2-0 away loss.

Memorable Home Debut

Hussaini’s home debut in the NPFL was a standout performance. Playing as a center-back, he delivered a solid defensive display and recorded his only assist of the season from a quick free-kick, which Sarki Ismael converted against Gombe United in a 2-0 victory.

Challenges During Ramadan

The onset of Ramadan presented additional challenges for Hussaini, who continued to play despite fasting. This period saw mixed performances, including a 3-1 loss to Akwa United and a 4-0 victory against Doma United. He struggled in subsequent games, particularly in a 2-0 loss to Remo Stars and a 3-1 home defeat to his former team, Niger Tornadoes. Following these struggles, he was benched for the next four matches. At that point, fans of the Benin Arsenal grew impatient of him.

Redemption

Hussaini worked hard to regain his place in the starting XI. His efforts in training impressed the gaffer, Odigie, leading to his return to the lineup. In the following four games, he helped secure two goalless draws against Sunshine Stars and Abia Warriors, and victories against Rivers United and Katsina United.

His return to the pitch culminated in a match against table-toppers Enugu Rangers, where he started on the bench but made his final appearance of the season in a 2-0 home defeat against relegation-threatened Bayelsa United on matchday 38.

Statistical Overview

  • Appearances: 12 (11 Starts)
  • Minutes Played: 1050
  • Unused Substitute: 17 games
  • Goals: 0
  • Assists: 1
  • Clean Sheets: 5

Jokanola Bolaji

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