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NPFL 2023 season: Player to watch; Sunshine Stars goalkeeper, Mustapha Lawal (photos)
NPFL 2023 season: Player to watch; Sunshine Stars goalkeeper, Mustapha Lawal (photos)

As actions in the Nigeria Professional Football League returns this Sunday, provides an insight into some promising players to watch in the 2023 campaign.

Let’s take a look in particular at one player to watch in the coming weeks.

Mustapha Lawal (Sunshine Stars): Goalkeeper

Mustapha Lawal has been described as a tall, agile and consistent shotstopper in Africa, with good decision-making, quick reflexes and excellent shot-stopping abilities between the posts; he is also dominant in the air, great in defending one-on-one, and effective at communicating with his defense thanks to his strong personality.


As a result of Lawal’s ability to detect the game and speed when coming off his line, he is able to anticipate his opponents outside the penalty area when they beat the offside trap. Being strongly competent with the ball at his feet, the Sunshine Stars goalie is known for his control and accurate ball distribution, and he often functions as a sweeper-keeper, because of his ability to play the ball out from the back.


Lawal often uses his legs to close down his opposition players and to make breath-taking saves in what has been described as a ‘modern goalkeeping style’. To all to that, he possesses good fundamental goalkeeping technique, and a strong positional sense.


During the 2021/2022 season which was his debut campaign in the Nigeria Professional Football League, Mustapha Lawal broke so many records and with the notable one being when he won player of the month for the month of January of 2022 after going six straight games without conceding any goal. He became the first goalkeeper in the Nigeria league to win the award in the first month of the league resumption.


Lawal also became the first Sunshine Stars goalie on record to win Player of the Month as well as the first goalkeeper to win the award in his debut season in the Nigeria topflight division. He ended his first season in Nigeria league with 12 clean sheets.


He also earned himself the nickname, “Black Spider”, from fans of Sunshine Stars following his decision to rock and all-black attire during matchdays – just like the legendary goalkeeper, Lev Yashin.



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