Dannaz produced an all-round incredible performance to claim their first ever Bet9ja title in what was their maiden season in the SociaLiga. Not only did this hitherto unknown club end the two-year dominance of the rich SociaLiga giants, Saints, they did so playing a brand of football that was mesmerizing, while breaking records and scoring goals galore.

The 2018 Bet9jaSociaLiga season will be remembered for quite a number of exciting things, but what did standout was how Dannaz football club, DFC, knocked Saints off their perch. Not only did this hitherto unknown club end the two-year dominance of the rich Bet9jaSociaLiga giants, Saints, they did so playing a brand of football that was mesmerizing, while breaking records and scoring goals galore.

Dannaz produced an all-round incredible performance to claim their first ever Bet9ja title in what was their maiden season in the SociaLiga.

The Cedars not only outscored every other side, but also conceded the least goals, won the most matches, and carted home the most individual awards in a show of superb consistency, superiority and excellence.

Players like striker, Joshua Obakimi, Fatai Bashiru, skipper of the side and the team’s heartbeat, talented attacking midfielder, Onyeka Udeozor, who was his side’s hero in the finals, and goalkeeper, Ebuka Enoch, were some of the exceptional contributors for the champions during the course of the season, with their talent and skill not only electrifying and entertaining spectators but also lighting up the competition in consonance with their manager, Danny Nazzal’s preferred style of football, total football.

Meanwhile, despite a blip against fellow Islanders, the Citizens football club, during the first phase of the season, Nazzal’s side was head and shoulders above their mates in the Liga, and this was highlighted in the manner in which they easily dispatched Bravos Knights in the grand finale, during the XmasFestival held on December 16, 2018, at the wonderful CIS stadium, Lekki Phase One, Lagos.

Joshua Obakimi and Onyeka Udeozor celebrate a goal.
Joshua Obakimi and Onyeka Udeozor celebrate a goal.

How it started.

The Cedars started by announcing their arrival with a comprehensive demolition of Cerebrone’s side, Alphas fc, in a one sided opener at CIS. That game ended 3-1, and Dannaz were off to the best possible start to life in the Bet9jaSociaLiga.

If anyone had ever doubted that their first win was a fluke, their second game doused all doubts as Dannaz obliterated another team from the Island Conference, Citizens, 3-0. The Cedars were not only flying now, but all of Nazzal’s guys were ballers.

Then came the big one, a titanic back-to-back clash with defending champions, Saints. Surely, their initial gra gra was about to meet its waterloo or so many thought.

However, the SociaLiga newbies comfortably saw off the then champions, who fell like a pack of cards, losing on both occasions 2-1. For the first time in their history, Saints lost two consecutive games in the SociaLiga.”
If anyone had ever doubted that their first win was a fluke, their second game doused all doubts as Dannaz obliterated another team from the Island Conference, Citizens, 3-0. The Cedars were not only flying now, but all of Nazzal’s guys were ballers.

Record Breaking Run

At this point, Dannaz were soaring and breaking every available record- most notable was becoming the first team in SociaLiga history to win their first four games in the Liga.

A smooth sail it was as they secured a playoff spot after four games, breaking another SociaLiga record- as the first team to ever book a place in the playoffs at that stage of the competition, before a 2-1 blip against the Citizens in their next match ended their invincible dreams.

Loss of steam.

For the first time during the campaign, the entertaining debutants looked a shadow of themselves, especially against the Proud Citizen who had only managed just a point prior to their meeting on match day five.

Nevertheless, they did bounce back in their final game of the preliminary stages, completing the double against Alphas courtesy of a very hard-fought 1-0 victory to wrap up the first phase of the league.

Home Run.

Next up, it was the playoffs, Dannaz would face Saints for the third time and this time, the stakes were higher- with a place in the final up for grabs. But like in their previous two matches, the third ended in favour of the newbies, thanks to a 3-0 win after Saints were walked over.

That game played at Magodo was suspended due to floodlights issues at the venue with 15minutes left on the clock and Dannaz leading 1-0 thanks to an own goal. Both sides were expected to show up for the final 15minutes, but it was only Dannaz who turned and the defending champions, Saints, were subsequently walked over.

Dannaz v Saints PlayOffs 2018
Dannaz v Saints PlayOffs 2018

Finally, it was Bravos Knights against Dannaz in the final, which turned out to be keenly contested, at the least in the first half which ended 1-1.

Despite a number of contentious moments which attempted to ruin the tie, inspired by Onyeka Udeozor, who scored a brace, the Cedars sealed a memorable campaign with a 3-1 victory to become the second team to ever lift the Bet9ja title, putting an end to Saints’ two-year dominance.

Did you know?
4- Dannaz are the first side in SociaLiga history to win their first four matches in the competition.
3- Danny Nazzal, and forward, Joshua Obakimi, are the first manager and player to win three consecutive manager and player of the month awards in SociaLiga history.

Stand up for the champions!!!!