•As Akwa beats Rangers in Uyo

By Joe apu

Heartland of Owerri fans who had looked forward to a glorious return to the Nigeria Premier Football League left the Dan Anyiam Stadium with mixed feelings wondering what their faith would be at the end of the season.

But Head Coach Ranson of the Maze Millionaires says there is no cause for alarm  following the  0-0 draw with visiting  Sunshine of Sure coached by former league goalador Duke Udi.

Madu told Daily Sun-sports that Sunday’s opener that ended in a draw should not be used to judge the team.  “The boys played their hearts out but were just unlucky not to score.  However, I want our fans not to load faith because this is just the beginning. We’ve seen our lapses and would work on them ahead of the other games we have. We thank all those who turned out to support the team. Our promise is that we won’t disappoint them, “ he started.

Assistant coach of Sunshine Stars of Akure, Katie Julius expressed happiness at the draw his team recorded in Owerri. “I’m glad the boys played according to instructions and kept the pressure on Heartland. We’re happy with today’s result.”

In other games of the week one fixtures,  Aiteo Cup winners Akwa United started off the new season on a rousing note beating former league Champions Rangers International of Enugu by 2-0 at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo.  Kelly Kester, who was in the books of Enyimba last season, combined with another debutante Victor Mbaoma to hand the Promise Keepers the lead in the 40th minute, while Dennis Nya added the second in the 66th minute.

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Rivers United in Port-Harcourt recorded a lone goal victory over visiting  El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri while Niger Tornadoes shocked recovering Kwara United  at the Okiri Township  Stadium.

Plateau United started the defence of their title on a brilliant note following a 1-0 away win against Nasarawa United at the Lafia Township Stadium on Sunday.

Raphael Ayagwa stunned the home fans with an excellent finish three minutes from time. At the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi, hosts Lobi Stars battled back from a goal down to secure a 1-1 draw against a resolute Enyimba side who put up a fine display despite the absence of five of their players who are on international duty

Former Enugu Rangers forward, Chinedu Udeagha, gave Enyimba the lead on his debut four minutes before the break following an assist by Wasiu Alalade.

The home side levelled scores from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute through Ezekiel Mbah.

Last season’s runners-up MFM FC started their campaign on a poor note, losing 2-0 against Abia Warriors at the Umuahia Township Stadium with former U-23 star Ndifreke Effiong scoring both goals.

Debutants  Go-Round FC of Omoku, failed to replicate their impressive form in the Bet9ja Nigeria National League Super Four competition as they lost 1-0 against Wikki Tourists in Jos.