With clubs, officials and players eagerly looking forward to the kickoff of the second round of 2015/16 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season, Sunshine Stars striker Okiki Afolabi says his target is to score 25 goals to set a new record at the end of the season.
Afolabi, who netted five goals in April, is current leading scorer at Sunshine Stars with 10 goals at end of the first round.
Speaking in an interview with npfl.ng at their Akure camp, Afolabi described his performance and team’s exploits in the first stanza of the league as “very fulfilling,” saying their best would come when the second round kicks off on 5 June.
“I’m glad about the goals I scored so far but I’m not done yet because my target is to score 25 goals this season. And, with the effort of my teammates and technical crew, I believe we can get something tangible at the end of the season,” Afolabi told npfl.ng.
Should Afolabi make good his promise to score 25 goals at the end of the season, he would shatter the record of Enyimba FC man, Mfon Udoh, who scored 23 goals to set a new Nigeria Premier League record in the 2013/14 season.
Following his outstanding performance, Afolabi was named Player Of The Month of April by the League Bloggers Awards, but the striker recalls the journey to their current position on the table was not an easy one.
“It was a tough first round for Sunshine Stars but I must commend our fans for believing in the club’s ability to bounce back when things were very rough. My teammates and I have resolved to work harder during the second round,” he said.
On his purported move to Enyimba or another club during the current NPFL transfer window, Media Officer of Sunshine Stars, Wahab Bankole described such reports as mere speculations, saying: “Afolabi is happy to play for our club and he has reiterated his commitment to the team.”
Bankole, while speaking to npfl.ng, however extolled Afolabi’s sterling qualities. “Just like other players in the club, Afolabi is an asset to Sunshine Stars. He is a quality striker with high work rate and a team player. Since the exit of our former top striker Tunde Adeniji, Afolabi has been playing that role perfectly well and has proved himself as a reliable striker. I believe his best is yet to come.”
Bankole hinted that the club officials have been busy as players and their coaches are training hard and looking forward to the commencement of the second round of the NPFL.
He said the management is happy with the team’s commitment so far and has lined up some incentives to motivate the team ahead of the restart of the league.
Sunshine Stars coach Solomon Ogbeide says the team had a fair share of the spoils last term and believes the club will be the team to beat during the second round.
The Akure-based team that currently occupy the seventh position on the log with 27 points from 18 matches and will host Abia Warriors in Akure when the second round of the league resumes on 5 June.