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 By Colin Udoh

El Kanemi Warriors stun Abia, push Okey Emordi to resign as manager

El Kanemi Warriors' (in yellow) 1-0 win saw opposition manager Okey Emordi resign from his position at Abia United.

Missed penalties, applauded away teams and coaching resignations: all part of a weekend of football in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) that saw four clubs feature in continental action and miss out on domestic play.

If there were any expectations of a calm series of fixtures due to the reduced number of domestic games, they were rudely put to bed by Sunday evening.

Akwa United found some joy in faraway Gombe, where they drew 0-0. Nasarawa United missed a win by whiskers in a 1-1 result vs. Sunshine Stars and Abia United were put to the sword at home in a 1-0 defeat to El Kanemi Warriors.

Here are three takeaways from the NPFL's Week 9 fixtures:

Awkwa earn applause away

Applause from home fans is the last thing away sides expect after denying the hosts two points, but that is exactly what Akwa United received.

What a difference a few good results make. Three matches ago, Akwa were mired at the wrong end of the table and on an abysmal run of form that had their fans nervously contemplating the potential prospects of life at the bottom. Three games, one home win and one away draw later and they were being ushered out of the stadium in Gombe to the sweet sounds of applause from the home fans whose team they had just held to a 0-0 draw.

It is just the sort of sportsmanship that Akwa will do well to take back to Uyo, where their own fans' reactions to poor results have been on the unruly end of the spectrum.

And a round of applause must go to those fans in Gombe who showed exactly the sort of attitude that is needed to paint this league in the best possible light.

Emordi resigns, Dogo makes U-turn

"Nigerians don't resign" is a commonplace saying around the country and there is plenty of evidence to support the claim, both in politics and sport.

Exceptions, however, make the rule and managers Okey Emordi and Kabiru Dogo proved themselves among the rare special cases. Well, at least one did.

Emordi's Abia United have not exactly had the worst of starts, but as if their record of just three wins from nine games was not bad enough, they had to go and lose this weekend's home game 1-0 to El Kanemi Warriors. Note that El Kanemi only arrived on Saturday and had barely enough time to rest their heads before the match on Sunday. 

It was too much for Emordi and he announced his resignation on Monday afternoon. The club were only too glad to accept.

Dogo's case is a bit more bizarre. The Nasarawa United coach barely allowed the sweat to dry on his lads' shirts before he made good on his word, ending a two-year relationship that saw him lead the club to the Nigeria Cup final, where they lost on penalties to FC Ifeanyi Ubah.

With Nasarawa flailing at the start of the season, the boss imposed a deadline on himself, promising to step down if he did not claim maximum points from his next two games.

He won the first 3-1 against Abia Warriors over the weekend, but was one late penalty miss away from winning the second on Sunday against Sunshine Stars, finishing with a 1-1 draw. Within 24 hours, he had withdrawn his resignation.

"I must respect the words of the elders. Meaning, my earlier resignation statement granted to journalists after the the 1-1 draw against Sunshine Stars of Akure in Lafia in the Week 9 fixture is reversed.

"You know how it feels when things are not going as planned? Most often, the best decision is to resign, which I did immediately after the match. But, however, after reactions from those I hold in high esteem, I must respect their stand."

Just when one was about to drop his name in the honorable section.

Assume home advantage at your own peril

For the second week running, only six games were played in the NPFL this weekend, with four clubs involved in continental exertions. But if there were any fans who thought the clubs left to contend on the domestic front would serve up bland fare, they were to be set right by the end of the day.

Of the six games, only league leaders Plateau United managed to secure a home win, one of two such results. The other victors were El Kanemi Warriors, who travelled to Umuahia and stunned Abia on their own ground.

The other four results ended in draws, with the only scoreless one being the stalemate between Gombe and Akwa United.

Clearly, assume home advantage at your own peril in the NPFL.

Colin Udoh is a Nigeria football correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @ColinUdoh.

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