Thursday, March 25, 2010


Gateway FC v Ranch Bees
The Rock City Boys has sacked its technical crew led by Loveday Omoruyi and replaced with Toyin Ayinla and co. Many observers are wondering what will happen if Ayinla and co fail to save the club from dropping into the lower division. But after last week’s disappointing one-nil loss at Gombe United, the Abeokuta side goes into this tie with so much hope of winning following its signing of more than five players in the transfer window that closed March 15. The big news for Gateway is that Bees has not won any game on the road and that should not change in this tie, as Ayinla should open his career with the Rock City Boys with a win.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Nov 18, 2009: Ranch Bees 0 – 0 Gateway FC

Kano Pillars v Gombe Utd
In the first meeting this season, Pillars crashed at Gombe by two-nil and for this game, the former Premier League winner would be without influential teenage striker, Ahmad Musa and Solomon Okpako. Both are in the Super Eagles’ Team B for this weekend’s Championship for African Nations (CHAN) qualifier against Niger Republic in Kano on Sunday. Pillars has won three games in its last five and remains the only side that has dropped just two points at home in 36 points while Gombe Utd has picked just two points from 36 on the road with a form guide of three wins and two losses in its last five games. But in Kano, Gombe United stands no chance even with the absence of the league’s top scorer, Musa.
Prediction:  2 – 0
Nov 18, 2009:            Gombe Utd 2 – 0 Kano Pillars
May 9, 2009: Kano Pillars 3 – 2 Gombe Utd
Dec 21, 2008: Gombe Utd 0 – 1 Kano Pillars
March 27, 2008: Gombe Utd 1 – 0 Kano Pillars
Sept 29, 2007: Kano Pillars 1 – 0 Gombe Utd
Nov 5, 2005: Kano Pillars 1 – 1 Gombe Utd
May 28, 2005: Gombe Utd 2 – 1 Kano Pillars

Wikki v Zamfara Utd
Both sides met on the same day in last season’s reverse fixture on March 27, 2009 with Wikki winning three-nil. When both sides met in the first clash this season in November in Gusau, Wikki held Zamfara United to a scoreless draw. In spite of its poor form on the road, Zamfara United would be keen to evoke the performance of August 5, 2005 in Bauchi when it shocked the Tourist by 2 – 0. Both clubs are in the dogfight with an almost identical form guide in their last five matches. But Wikki should edge this game by just a goal.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Nov 18, 2009:            Zamfara Utd 0 – 0 Wikki
March 27, 2009: Wikki 3 – 1 Zamfara Utd
Oct 13, 2008: Zamfara Utd 2 – 1 Wikki
Feb 24, 2008: Zamfara Utd 1 – 0 Wikki
Oct 24, 2007:  Wikki 2 – 1 Zamfara Utd
Aug 5, 2005: Wikki 0 – 2 Zamfara Utd
Feb 27, 2005: Zamfara Utd 3 – 1 Wikki

Bayelsa Utd v Enugu Rangers
In seven games between the two sides between June 2006 and November 2009, Premier League champion, Bayelsa United, has defeated the Flying Antelopes just once – when it won by 2 – 0 on August 12, 2006 (at home). Two other visits to Bayelsa United has seen Rangers picking draws. But Rangers has won just once in five games and that has been sandwiched with three draws and a loss while the titleholder has lost just once with three wins and a draw in its last five games. Though Rangers has won once on the road, it stands the risk of dropping out of the top four by the end of this weekend, as Bayelsa United would be out to continue its climb away from the drop zone.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Nov 18, 2009: Enugu Rangers 1 – 0 Bayelsa Utd
March 22, 2009: Enugu Rangers 1 – 1 Bayelsa Utd
Nov 9, 2008: Bayelsa Utd 1 – 1 Enugu Rangers
March 26, 2008: Enugu Rangers 1 – 1 Bayelsa Utd
Sept 30, 2007: Bayelsa Utd 0 – 0 Enugu Rangers
Aug 12, 2006:            Bayelsa Utd 2 – 0 Enugu Rangers
June 3, 2006: Enugu Rangers 2 – 0 Bayelsa Utd

Enyimba v Sharks
The Blue Angels is likely to be without its head coach, John Obuh, for this game, as he has resumed national team duty with the Flying Eagles. The Peoples Elephant is aiming to complete a double on relegation-bound Sharks in Aba after a 3 – 2 win in Port Harcourt on November 18, 2009. Enyimba has had to cope without its top scorer this season – Osas Idehen – who has played just once in four games due to national team duties. But the five-time winner has coped well in its last five games without losing having won three and drawn two while Sharks has been on a run of three losses, a draw and a win. After last week’s failure to win in the Port Harcourt derby, the Blue Angels might replace Gateway as the basement side in the Premier League log after this weekend’s fixtures.
Prediction: 2 – 1
Nov 18, 2009:            Sharks 2 – 3 Enyimba
Feb 25, 2009: Enyimba 1 – 0 Sharks
Jan 17, 2009: Sharks 0 – 0 Enyimba
Feb 10, 2008: Enyimba 2 – 1 Sharks
Oct 13, 2007: Sharks 1 – 0 Enyimba
July 22, 2006: Sharks 2 – 1 Enyimba
May 13, 2006: Enyimba 2 – 0 Sharks
Oct 25, 2005: Sharks 3 – 1 Enyimba
April 2, 2005: Enyimba 2 – 0 Sharks

Sunshine Stars v Kwara Utd
The Stars would be hoping to dent Kwara United’s title ambition by winning in order to fancy its chances of climbing into the top four depending on the outcome of games involving Rangers, Niger Tornadoes and Warri Wolves. In the reverse game on November 18 last year, the Stars surrendered to a two-nil defeat at the Ilorin Township Stadium. Though Kwara United has stayed in touch with the top two – Enyimba and Kano Pillars – in recent weeks, the pressure is still on its coach, Justin Tenger, to pick at least a continental ticket and he knows that a loss in Akure can further put spanners in his side’s wheels. But look out for Ibrahim Baballe to net his seventh goal of the season in this game with the Stars tipped to pick all points.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Nov 18, 2009:            Kwara Utd 2 – 0 Sunshine Stars
March 26, 2008: Sunshine Stars 2 – 0 Kwara Utd
Sept 29, 2007: Kwara Utd 2 – 0 Sunshine Stars

Kaduna Utd v 3SC
This is a game between 11th and 12th placed sides billed for the Kaduna Township Stadium. Surprisingly Kaduna United rubbished bookmakers’ prediction by tearing the odds against it in its away game to Ocean Boys, which it won by 2 -1 while Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) also crossed the 30-point mark with a two-nil victory over south-west neighbour, Sunshine Stars. Both clubs would be looking at climbing into the top half of the Premier League log since the start of this year, but United has a good chance on the back of its impressive run in its last three games. Mutiu Adepoju and his men must be wary of the threat that in-form striker, Stephen Saviour stands to pose. He is tipped to score his fourth goal this month, as he is in the running for this month’s player award. I find it hard to look beyond Kaduna United picking all points in this game.
Prediction: 2 – 1
Nov 18, 2009: 3SC 3 – 1 Kaduna Utd
July 11, 2006: Kaduna Utd 1 – 0 3SC
April 28, 2006: 3SC 2 – 1 Kaduna Utd

Lobi Stars v Ocean Boys
For the second consecutive season, Lobi Stars is faced with battling relegation and its chief executive, Dominic Iorfa, been left frustrated with the club’s misfortune in spite of its huge spending to bring in players in the off-season. Both clubs go into this tie with an identical form guide in their last five games with three losses, a draw and a win. Though Ocean Boys edged the first meeting by a lone goal, it is Lobi that would be looking at its home record against the Boys in order to climb out of the drop zone. This should be a second straight loss for Ocean Boys.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Nov 18, 2009: Ocean Boys 1 – 0 Lobi Stars
June 14, 2009: Ocean Boys 1 – 0 Lobi Stars
Jan 11, 2009: Lobi Stars 2 – 1 Ocean Boys
April 27, 2008: Ocean Boys 2 – 0 Lobi Stars
Jan 9, 2008: Lobi Stars 1 – 1 Ocean Boys
June 17, 2006: Ocean Boys 1 – 0 Lobi Stars
June 6, 2006: Lobi Stars 2 – 1 Ocean Boys

Wolves v Tornadoes
After last weekend’s triumph over Zesco United in the CAF Confederation Cup and a mid-week trip to Ranch Bees in Kaduna, Warri Wolves’ fatigue level would have been stretched after playing three games in the space of eight days. But Lawrence Akpokona is not worried, as he believes he has a squad that can handle such fixture congestion. Tochukwu Mbachu should start in this game alongside Eddy Ogude or Ehiosun Ekigho or Akpokona could well opt for a three-man attack. For Tornadoes, Eugene Salami remains the man that has supplied the goals in the last two games, as Wolves’ backline led by Solomon Onamado would want to keep the striker at bay. But Wolves should climb a step at the top at the end of this game.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Nov 18, 2009:            Tornadoes 2 – 1 Wolves
Feb 21, 2009: Tornadoes 2 – 0 Wolves
Oct 12, 2008: Wolves 2 – 0 Tornadoes
Nov 2, 2005: Tornadoes 2 – 1 NPA
May 21, 2005: NPA 1 – 1 Tornadoes

Dolphin v Heartland
The Naze Millionaires won the first meeting by a lone goal in Owerri in November, but the 2009 CAF Champions League finalist has had a disappointing season overall. But with the return of players from injuries and trials abroad, Dolphin Football Club would be in a real test at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt on Sunday. Signswonder Chibambo hit a double for Heartland in the CAF Champions League away to Cameroon’s Tiko United and coach Kelechi Emeteole fancies his chance going into this game. Dolphin’s Achilles’ heels this season has been dominating games and failing to kill off its opponents, and if it does same in this tie against the 1993 winner, then it could be punished for profligacy. But this game could still end in a draw.
Prediction: 1 – 1
Nov 18, 2009: Heartland 1 – 0 Dolphin
July 30, 2005: Dolphin 1 – 1 Nationale
Feb 20, 2005: Nationale 1 – 0 Dolphin

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