Wed, 08 Feb 2017 | 09:22
Matchday 7 in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) will offer six games this midweek due to four clubs billed to take part in continental assignment this weekend.
League champions, Enugu Rangers and Rivers United play in the Caf Champions League while FC Ifeanyiubah and Wikki Tourists begin their quest for good outings in the Confederation Cup.
However that still does not change anything for me at the top as I expect Plateau United to continue their unbeaten run and also tighten their grip on top spot.
Two games take place on Thursday, including a mouthwatering contest between Akwa United and Enyimba.
Wednesday, 8 February, 2017
REMO STARS v NIGER TORNADOES
I think Remo Stars were unfortunate to drop all points at Akwa United on Sunday when Musa Newman scored a late winner to break their resistance. I find that performance impressive as it came just days after they parted ways with their head coach Nduka Ugbade leaving Daniel Ogunmodede to take up the role in acting capacity.
The Sky Blue Stars face Tornadoes who have just a win in six games in this bottom-four contest. Tornadoes have had two good outings this season when they beat Wikki 2-0 and then surprised me, including themselves, with that 1-1 draw at champions, Enugu Rangers. I doubt Tornadoes keeping their top-flight place this season and this looks like a good time for Remo Stars to play them too.
My prediction: 2-0
PLATEAU UNITED v EL-KANEMI WARRIORS
This is a game that looks like hunting where the ducks are, for league leaders Plateau United. I know last season El-Kanemi got a point in this game but Plateau United are on a roll this time and Ladan Bosso’s men will have to work their socks off to get anything in Jos, which I will not put my one kobo on to happen.
What Bosso and his El-Kanemi will find out is that Kennedy Boboye, in the running for the manager award of the independent League Bloggers Awards (LBA) for January, has mixed things in terms of playing style so far. El-Kanemi have not picked a point on the road and have managed just a goal in three away games. They are yet to score in 180 minutes on the road and for me, that will not change at the Rwang Pam Stadium on Wednesday.
My prediction: 2-0
GOMBE UNITED v NASARAWA UNITED
The two teams sit outside of the top half of the league standings going into this game. In recent seasons, it has been a trend for Nasarawa United to start slowly and then pick up around 10 rounds of matches. That pattern appears to be playing out this season again even when they are not playing on the continent. And going to the Pantami to face Gombe United, I think, is a banana peel for them.
For Gombe United, it has not been a good return to the top division despite managing to grind out seven points from 18. But their bright spots have been impressive performances by Mannir Ubale, Austin Oladapo, goalkeeper Emmanuel Fabiyi and Alhassan Yusuf among others. However, do they have enough to get the full points off Nasarawa United? I do not think so.
My prediction: 1-1
ABIA WARRIORS v SUNSHINE STARS
I am sure Sunshine Stars faithful will be afraid now when they look up the log and find their team at the base on the back of Sunday’s 0-1 loss at MFM FC at home. Things have really taken a dip at the Akure Gunners as words emerged that the players are unhappy and claim that they are owed five months salaries. I am wondering the motivation will come from to face third-placed Abia Warriors.
Okey Emordi’s Warriors have kept things tight at the back in their home games this season though one of their experienced defenders Chinedu Efugh is reportedly a doubt for this game. I do not think that should be a worry for Emordi as his team’s attack is their biggest strength going into this match-up considering how Godwin Zaki and Sunday Adetunji, who made his debut have fared so far. The Akure Gunners’ chance of avoiding defeat in this contest which they won last season now looks slim.
My prediction: 1-0
Thursday, 9 February, 2017
ABS FC v MFM FC
This game is finely matched and a top-four contest too. Second-placed MFM FC go into this on the back of a 1-0 win at Sunshine Stars while ABS FC return to Ilorin to play hosts after Adamu Mohammed’s late goal in second half stoppage time broke their hearts at Kano Pillars.
I like this match-up as the league top scorer Stephen Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun go up against an ABS defence led by Ernest Governor. MFM’s backline will have to find a way to contain Mohammed Mohammed and Chigozirim Metu who had an underwhelming outing in Kano. I expect end-to-end stuff as both teams are ball-playing sides. I am going for a share of the points in this game of evenly matches teams.
My prediction: 2-2
ENYIMBA v AKWA UNITED
Enyimba have quietly gone about their business this season and stayed within distance of the league leaders though their 0-1 reverse at El-Kanemi last weekend meant they are now four points behind Plateau United. But the Peoples Elephant still remain a formidable force and I am sure Abdu Maikaba and his men have that at the back of their minds ahead of this game.
Akwa United under Maikaba are still stuttering despite hogging some of the best players in the country before the start of the season. I think this game is coming too early for them just after they got their first full points on the board especially knowing that Mfon Udoh and Ibrahim Mustapha are getting the goals for Enyimba. Also, Akwa United have not beaten Enyimba in the league since September 2014 and I think that is an edge for the Peoples Elephant.
My prediction: 1-0
•Out of the 10 games played on Sunday, The Predictor correctly called SIX of the results including two exact scores.