By Kayode Ogundare
Lobi Stars of Makurdi hit-man Anthony Okpotu banged his third hat-trick of the season to take his goals tally to 17 when he hit all three goals in his team’s 3-2 defeat of El kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri at the Aper Aku Stadium on Sunday and promptly declared that he’s capable of taking his season’s number beyond 20 with just three games left to play.
Okpotu had previously scored three times each against Sunshine Stas of Akure and MFM of Lagos all in Makurdi and he’s now just a goal behind top-scorer Stephen Odey of MFM.
He said: “We had very many scoring chances and, without any disrespect to our opponent, I think the result flattered them. They scored from our mistakes at the back but if we had been more clinical, the margin would have been wider than it is. All the same, it was a very good game.”
Asked if he could break the 20-goal barrier, given the fact that there are just three more games to the end of the season, Okpotu replied in the affirmative.
“Three games are enough for me to reach that milestone provided we have fair officiating in our games. As the season is ending, I’m sure that officiating will be firmer and we’ll be able to express ourselves home and away, so yes, I can get 20 goals,” he assured.
Lobi Stars’ last three games include road trips to Akwa United of Uyo and IfeanyiUbah FC in Nnewi either side of the final home game of the season against Niger Tornadoes but Okpotu in unfazed at the prospects of facing continental ticket-chasing Akwa United and IfeanyiUbah.
“We won’t be overawed against them. Mathematically we can also get the continental ticket if you check the league table. Good results in the remaining games will help us achieve that so it will be the case of who wants it more. We’ll go there and fight for results and I will try to score to help us achieve that,” he concluded.
Lobi Stars sit in ninth place after Sunday’s result with 50 points and are nine points off second-placed MFM FC.