The NPFL returns this weekend and it’s Matchday Seven. The table is beginning to shape up as teams continue to announce their intention for the season.
Enugu Rangers, who started like a wild wolf, are now sixth on the log — though with just three points behind leaders Nasarawa United. Enyimba continue showing their champions credentials, as Nasarawa stay top while Rivers United remain second.
Again, the gap between seventh-placed Kwara United and table-toppers Nasarawa is just three points — meaning they can jump all the way to the top if results from other match centres go their way.
Rivers United vs Adamawa United
In Port-Harcourt, the in-form Rivers United will be playing host to Adamawa United. Stanley Eguma boys, who are currently sitting second on the log after picking 12 points from six games, will be hoping to continue their fantastic form against the NPFL weeping boys.
And given their recent results on the continent, as well as a perfect home record since the season kicked off, predicting a one-sided affair later on Saturday would not be out-of-the-ordinary.
Adamawa United, on the other hand, seemingly, will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat. Having not won any points away from home this campaign, many expect their losing streak to continue.
Plateau United vs Nasarawa
An interesting matchup awaits us in Jos as champions Plateau United host leaders, Nasarawa United. It’s difficult to outrightly pick the outcome of this one.
But it seems the odds favour Plateau United. The last outing between the two sides — a league match on March 15 last year — ended 2-1 in favour of Peace Boys.
Despite garnering seven points from a possible nine away from home and leading the summit, the trip to Abdu Maikaba’s team in Jos seems like a huge mountain for the Lafia side.
Lobi Stars vs Abia Warriors
Elsewhere in Markudi, fourth-placed Lobi Stars will be welcoming struggling Abia Warriors. Will the misery continue for Imama Amapakabo and his boys? Or, will they turn things around?
This fixture may not have come timely for Warriors as Lobi look to further climb up the log. Lobi understand what a win could do to them and will go all out to get the job done. However, given that Abia Warriors have not lost a game since their management issued Amapakabo an ultimatum, Lobi may have a difficult game on Sunday.
Enyimba vs Katsina United
The People’s Elephant will welcome Katsina United in one of the matchups billed for Matchday Seven.
Gradually closing in on top spot, Enyimba now look stronger following the return of youngsters Anayo Iwuala and Gabriel Orok. And fresh from a 2-1 victory at Adamawa United, the Aba side will be aiming to maintain the momentum.
The People’s Elephant have won all their home games, while Katsina United are yet to pick up a single point away from home so far this season. Taking these into perspective, many would be surprised to see the northwest outfit avoid defeat.
Akwa United vs Kano Pillars
Akwa United will be aiming to secure all three points against Kano Pillars at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on Saturday.
Kennedy Boboye’s men were heavily criticised following a home draw with Wikki Tourists on January 18. With six points from six, the Promise Keepers are under pressure to win on Saturday. Anything short of victory would be deemed unacceptable — and could cost Boboye his job.
The home team currently sit 15th in the table — five points behind their visitors, who are are placed fifth.
Pillars, though, look capable of causing an upset in Uyo. This season, Masu Gida have earned two points from three away games. Akwa, on the other hand, have dropped four points at home so far — meaning that a draw is not out of place.
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Sunshine Stars vs Rangers International
Sunshine Stars can climb six places up to second on the log should they gather maximum points against Rangers and results from other centers go in their favour.
The The Akure Gunners have picked up seven points from a possible nine at home, while Rangers have accumulated four points away from home so far.
Rangers sit sixth — three points shy of toppers — and will fancy their chances of moving up the table.
A difficult match this should be for both teams, but Rangers should be arriving Akure with so much confidence given their away form.
MFM vs Kwara United
At the Agege Stadium, MFM will be playing host to Kwara United.
MFM are currently sitting ninth on the table with nine points from six games and are trailing their hosts by two points.
Kwara United have had a fairly good record away from home. The Afonja Warriors have accumulated four points from three games on the road. But considering that MFM have won two and drawn one in Agege, a tough game should be expected.
A tricky tie, it seems. Points could be shared.
Jigawa Golden Stars vs Heartland
Two teams from the bottom half of the table will be holding it out in Jigawa. With both teams looking to move up the log, this looks like an interesting fixture than it should normally be.
Despite being one of the teams to have won away from home this season, Jigawa have dropped five points from their opening three home games. That record should give Heartland confidence to face Badaru Boys. Sunday’s morale-boosting comeback win against Akwa United in Owerri may also be useful to the Naze Millionaires.
FC Ifeanyi Ubah vs Wikki Tourists
Ifeanyi Ubah are surely uncomfortable where they are and will be looking to climb up as soon as possible. They play host to Wikki Tourist in one of this weekend’s fixtures.
Predicting the outcome of this tie seems pretty difficult no thanks to both side’s unconvincing runs since the season commenced.
The home side have recorded a win, draw and one loss at home so far. Wikki, meanwhile, have earned just a point from their travels. Taking these into account, it wouldn’t be out-of-place to predict a share of the spoils.
However, home advantage may help FC Ifeanyi Ubah pick all three points.
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Dakkada vs Warri Wolves
Dakkada vs Warri Wolves is one of the fixtures billed for Sunday. Both teams have two points separating them, with Dakkada currently sitting 12th and Wolves,16th.
Dakkada surrendered all three points last time out at home to Sunshine Stars, making the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium far from a fortress for them.
But given that Warri Wolves’ away form has been embarrassing, having lost all their away fixtures, Lawrence Kingsley’s men may find things easy against the Seasiders on Sunday.