NASSARAWA UNITED VS EL-KANEMI WARRIORS
Nassarawa United go into this game in fine form as they’re yet to taste defeat in their past five games. The Lafia based side are coming into this game after producing an upset in the Federations Cup by defeating holders Akwa United 1-0 in the quarter finals.
They also played out an entertaining 2-2 draw after coming from behind twice to pull off a 2-2 draw against an already doomed Ikorodu United at the Onikan Stadium. They are currently placed 9th, and with no relegation dogfight hovering over them, they can now focus towards moving up the upper echeleons of the league table. On the other hand, El-Kanemi Warriors are in desperate need of points coming into this game.
The Maiduguiri based side are poor travellers which is a stark contrast compared to their impeccable home record. They sit a point above the relegation zone and need to start accumulating points to starve off relegation fight. They weren’t in action last week as they were scheduled to play Giwa FC who had been expulled long ago. Its hard to look beyond a home victory here.
Prediction: Nassarawa United 2-0 El-Kanemi Warriors.
SHOOTING STARS VS SUNSHINE STARS
Coach Gbenga Ogunbote will be hoping for an impressive performance from his lads, reminiscent in their 3-1 win over Niger Tornadoes at the Lekan Salami Stadium. The Oluyole Warriors were very impressive as they blew their opponents away by racing into a three goal lead in the first half but they’ll face a more daunting task when they host Sunshine Stars. The Akure Gunners may have lost their last away game came in their shambolic performance in Lafia when they were hammered 3-0. But they bounced back to defeat Rivers United 1-0 courtsey of a stunning goal from leading talisman, Dele Olorundare. A repeat of their insipid and lethargic performance in Lafia could see them suffer another defeat as 3SC will be fired up to put in another good performance as they seek to pull clear of the relegation zone. This’ll be a very tight game but might tilt towards the host to edge it.
RIVERS UNITED VS IKORODU UNITED
Its been a terrible week for Rivers United as they go into this game on the back of two consecutive defeats. Firstly, they lost 1-0 to a Dele Olorundare’s wondergoal in last week’s game to Sunshine Stars.
They played Enyimba FC of Aba on Wednesday in the quarter-finals of the Federations Cup. The game wasn’t completed due to heavy downpour which saw the game moved to Thursday which they eventually lost.
Things got worse when the team bus had an accident on their way back from the venue of the cup tie at about 9pm on the same day. Goalkeeper Sunday Rotimi and a host of other players were seriously injured. It almost a no-brainer that this game won’t hold on Sunday although nothing has been confirmed by the League Management Company.
Ikorodu United come into this game all but doomed after another spirited performance could only muster a point as they were pegged back twice in their 2-2 draw against Nassarawa United.
A leaky defence has been their Achilles heel all season and its showing no sign of abating. It has to be noted that Stanley Eguma’s side won the reverse fixture 3-2 at the Onikan Stadium where the combination of calamitous and comical defending were the hosts undoing on the day. On paper, it should be a walk in the park for the hosts.
Prediction: Rivers United 2-0 Ikorodu United
FC IFEANYI UBAH VS KANO PILLARS
The Easterners come into this game on the back of a well earned one point in their goaless draw against Heartland FC of Owerri. They won their last home game 1-0 in Nnewi thanks to a header from one of their Brazilian imports–Alberico Da Silva.
Coach Mikto Dobrev would also want his team to build on their qualification for the semi finals of the Federation Cup following their victory over Sunshine Stars. Kano Pillars come into this game on the back of a hard-fought 1-0 win over MFM FC at the Sanni Abacha Stadium. The ‘Sai Maisu Gida’ as they’re popularly known will be confident of getting a point here as Gambon Mohammed will seek to add to his goal tally. It should be a fascinating game with a share of the spoils on the cards here.
Prediction: Ifeanyi Ubah 1-1 Kano Pillars.
MFM FC VS PLATEAU UNITED
The Olukoya Boys come into this game on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Kano Pillars. However, they will be boosted by the return of their home fans as they completed their ban which was playing behind closed doors. The punishment was as a result of the irate behaviours by hooligans in their 1-0 home defeat to 3SC weeks ago.
They’ve been impressive in their maiden season in the NPFL and have won many admirers with their attractive style of football. Plateau United will seek to pull clear of the relegation zone by getting something here.
They defeated defending champions Enyimba 2-0 at the Rwang Pang Stadium in Jos last week thanks to an wave after wave of attack as they assaulted the visitors’s goal from the outset of the game. Coach Zachary Baraje will be hoping his team puts in another spirited performance to help ease relegation fears. It’ll be tough, but I’m backing a home win here.
Prediction: MFM FC 2-1 Plateau United
ENYIMBA FC VS ENUGU RANGERS
An Oriental Derby is always a treat anytime anyday irrespective of the circumstances and this weekend, it won’t be any different as The People’s Elephant hosts The Flying Antelopes which sees Paul Aigbogun pitch his tent against Imama Amakpakabo.
The People’s Elephants come into this game on the back of a win in the Federations Cup in midweek after they saw off the resistance from Rivers United. However, their last league game saw them fall to a disappointing 2-0 defeat in Jos and will be looking for a win here to re-invigorate their league campaign as they trail this weekend’s opponent by seven points although they have two games in hand.
They will also be boosted by news from South Africa which kept their CAF Champions League hopes alive. Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Zamalek SC of Egypt 1-0 which means Enyimba have their destiny in their hand as they have to beat Sundowns in Nigeria and also pick up another win in a banana skin trip to Zamalek. They lost the reverse fixture in Enugu as Rangers came from a goal down to win 2-1 in March. Rangers on the other hand will be looking for a win here as they currently trail Wikki Tourists on goal difference. They could only manage a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Lobi Stars which saw them drop to 2nd. It should be an exciting game with goals at both ends resulting in a slim win for the people’s Elephant
Prediction: Enyimba FC 2-1 Enugu Rangers
LOBI STARS VS WARRI WOLVES
The Makurdi based side got a massive result as they picked a point against league title hopefuls Enugu Rangers last week. They drew 1-1 after rallying to equalise in the second half after one of their players was shown a red cards moments after the equaliser. It remains to be seen if goalkeeper Okemutie Odah will be fit to play after he was injured in that game.
They won their last home game 1-0 against Plateau United at the Aper Aku Stadium and will be confident of getting another win against Warri Wolves who came from a goal down to beat Akwa United last week. A positive result could see them leapfrog Sunshine Stars on the league table. The Delta based side have struggled to hit the lofty heights attained last season which they finished second. They conceded first against Akwa last week but fought back to claim an eventual 3-1 win. Its unlikely they’ll get anything from this though as the host will be too strong for them to handle.
Prediction: Lobi Stars 2-0 Warri Wolves
AKWA UNITED VS WIKKI TOURISTS
The Bird Nest Stadium comes alive this weekend as Akwa United hosts league leaders Wikki Tourists and will be looking to throw a spanner in the works of the table toppers and League title hopefuls. The Promise Keepers have been in poor form recently as they’ve lost their past three games in all competitions. A nail-biting 3-2 home defeat to Enugu Rangers was followed by an inability to build on an early 1-0 lead against Warri Wolves which saw they succumb to a 3-1 defeat and the recent spate of defeats is threatening to preponderate their early season form which saw them compete in the upper echeolons of the table, albeit, temporarily.
They also bowed out of the Federations Cup as they were shocked by giant-killers Crown FC of Ogbomosho. Coach Maurice Coremaan has been restored to his position after some internal wranglings months ago saw him suspended. They’ll also need to curb their ephemeral loss of concentration in defence which has characterized their recent games especially in the defeat to Rangers which highlighted their poor defence as Rangers kept slicing through like hot knife through butter.
Wikki Tourists on the other hand will be coming into this game in fine form after winning 2-0 at home last week. Coach Abdul MaiKaba will be relieved to see star striker Godwin Obaje break his goal drought which strectched to four months. They’re also strong at the back which will give the Bauchi based side the confidence of getting a positive result to maintain top spot and keep nearest challengers Enugu Rangers at arm’s length. A score draw looks a possible result here.