Kelvin Itoya’s goal from a free kick in Rangers 3-0 defeat of Wikki Tourists on Match Day 19 was picked by majority of voters that participated in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) VAT Wonder Goal award, an online poll that shortlists goals scored on particular match days for fans to choose the most creative and exciting.
Itoya’s goal was listed in the race for the awards alongside goals by Kano Pillars Junior Lokosa and Malachy Ohawume of Rivers United. The polls are conducted through the NPFL website, www.npfl.ng and twitter account, @lmcnpfl.
A total of 920 votes were cast on both platforms and while Itoya emerged the runaway winner on the website poll with 319 of the 410 votes, he had a close race on the twitter poll with Lokosa, the League’s leading scorer this season with 16 goals. Itoya got 250 votes, representing 49 percent of the total while Lokosa was close with 214 or 42 percent of the total votes.
In all, Itoya had a total of 569 votes while Lokosa got a total of 241 votes and Ohawume ended with 110 votes. Interestingly, Ohawume had a stronger showing on the website than Lokosa, securing 64 votes to top scorer’s 27.
In describing Itoya’s goal off a free kick at the edge of the 18-yard box, the organizers said he ‘executed another practice session masterpiece”. His curled kick evaded the defensive wall of Wikki Tourists and had the ball firmly at the far right side of the goalkeeper who was rooted to a spot.
Other winners so far this season include the duo of Rivers United’s Emeka Ogbugh and Sochima Elum, Sunshine Stars’ Sikiru Alimi and Sikiru Olatunbosun of MFM FC.
Itoya will be presented the ceremonial award plaque during the Rangers International versus Akwa United Match Day 21 fixture at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu on Sunday. The prize money of N150,000 will be shared equally between the player and a charity he will nominate.
The VAT Wonder Goal was introduced in the NPFL by the League Management Company (LMC) and is supported by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) to strengthen club and community engagement and also create awareness for tax payment within the football community.