Adeleye dreams league title with Hapoel Jerusalem
Super Eagles goalkeeper, Adebayo Adeleye, is dreaming of a maiden league title with Hapoel Jerusalem when the Israeli Championship play-off round kicks off this weekend, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
Hapoel booked their place in the play-off round after they finished fifth in the regular season with 36 points from 26 games.
Other teams competing in the play-off include FC Ashdod, Hapoel Beer Sheva, Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Netanya and Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The top six teams from the regular season will compete for honours where they will play each other twice with the first-place team winning the Israeli championship and qualifying to participate in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.
The runners-up and third-place teams qualify for the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.
Hapoel will face five-time Israeli champions Hapoel Beer Sheva in their first game of the playoff on Saturday, and Adeleye, who kept nine clean sheets in 20 games during the regular season, admits the season has been tough.
“This season has been very tough and I think the same thing will apply to the championship playoffs,” Adeleye told PUNCH Sports Extra.
“I’m looking forward to it because it comes with a chance of winning our first league title. It’s not going to be easy, but I believe we can achieve something special. We have achieved something incredible this season and hopefully we can aim to finish in the top three and of course we know the title is in sight.
“I’m just happy to end the season in style, qualifying the team for the European qualifiers, we will continue until we reach our goal for the season.”
Adeleye is expected to be included in the Super Eagles squad for next week’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Guinea Bissau and he is confident the Eagles will beat the Wild Dogs to seal qualification.
The Eagles play the Bissau Guineans in a match-day three encounter at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on March 24 , with the reverse fixture slated for the Nacional 24 de Setembro Stadium, Bissau, three days later.
Victory in both matches against the Wild Dogs will certainly pave the Eagles’ path to Ivory Coast 2023.
“We are desperate to return to winning ways and I’m confident we will achieve that when we play against Guinea Bissau. We have a good team to do that. Qualifying for the 2023 AFCON is a task we want to achieve so we don’t put ourselves under any panic.”
Nigeria lead Group A with six points after winning their opening two games against Sierra Leone and Cape Verde.
Guinea Bissau are in second position with four points from the same number of matches, while Sierra Leone and Sao Tome occupy third and fourth place respectively.