Friday, April 02, 2010


Tornadoes v Gateway FC
New coach of Gateway Football Club, Toyin Ayinla, would come under his first real test away from home after last week’s four-nil bashing of Ranch Bees. The Rock City Boys’ last two visits to Minna in 2005 and 2009 ended in two-nil defeats. Tornadoes has enjoyed a good run at home though that was dented by crowd trouble two weeks ago when it played goalless with champion, Bayelsa United. Earlier in the season, Gateway FC won the first clash by a lone goal, but the Abeokuta side is still searching for its first away win this season and it does not look like it would happen in Minna.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Nov 21, 2009: Gateway FC  1 – 0 Tornadoes
Feb 14, 2009: Tornadoes 2 – 0 Gateway FC
Sept 24, 2008: Gateway FC 3 – 2 Tornadoes
Oct 8, 2005: Tornadoes 2 – 0 Gateway FC
April 29, 2005: Gateway FC 1 – 1 Tornadoes

Ranch Bees v Kano Pillars
In the past four years, both northern clubs have met just three times in the Premier League including this season’s reverse fixture in November 2009 when Pillars won by 2 – 1. Despite its title run-in, Kano Pillars has won once on the road and scored just three times. Salisu Yusuf knows that if his side is to topple Enyimba, which would not play until next Thursday, then it must start by defeating neighbour, Ranch Bees, at the Kaduna Township Stadium on Saturday. It is a difficult call for Pillars, as it may leave Kaduna with a point though its last visit to the city ended in a three-nil triumph.
Prediction: 0 – 0
Nov 21, 2009: Kano Pillars 2 – 1 Ranch Bees
Oct 12, 2006:  Ranch Bees 0 – 3 Kano Pillars
June 2, 2006: Kano Pillars 1 – 0 Ranch Bees

Gombe Utd v Dolphin
This is a clash between 11th and 12th placed sides in the league log. Dolphin is already concerned about the invincibility that Gombe United enjoys playing at home. It would be a Herculean task for Dolphin in Gombe having drawn four away games from 13. Host, Gombe United, has lost once in front of its home fans to Niger Tornadoes. Dolphin’s Danjuma Abdullahi would be hoping to get a chance to face his old club while Emma Nwachi, Mutiu Adegoke and John Huan have all returned from the Super Eagles Team B camp. Jonah Abutu and Sunday Mbah are pressing for comebacks after being sidelined by injuries. Gombe United still remains in tact though in-fighting over outstanding contract fees appears to be threatening its season. The chances of Stanley Eguma’s men picking something from this tie look remote.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Nov 21, 2009:            Dolphin 1 – 0 Gombe Utd
March 21, 2007: Gombe Utd 2 – 0 Dolphin
Jan 21, 2007: Dolphin 0 – 0 Gombe Utd
Oct 25, 2005: Gombe Utd 1 – 0 Dolphin
April 2, 2005: Dolphin 1 – 1 Gombe Utd

Sharks FC v Wikki
The visiting side might go into this game so much superstition in mind considering the fact that the side lost by 1 – 6 exactly a year ago in last season’s campaign. Victor Ezeji tormented Wikki in that encounter by scoring four of the six goals – the first by any player in the Premier League. Another April tie involving the two sides also ended up in a two-nil defeat for Wikki. Ifeanyi Onyedika would be hoping that his side can end the hoodoo of visiting Port Harcourt in recent times and leaving with anything to show. The Blue Angels would aim for a win to move out of the drop zone.
Prediction: 2 – 1
Nov 21, 2009:            Wikki 1 – 1 Sharks FC
April 4, 2009:            Sharks FC 6 – 1 Wikki
Nov 22, 2008: Wikki 1 – 0 Sharks FC
March 26, 2008: Sharks FC 2 – 1 Wikki
Sept 29, 2007: Wikki 2 – 0 Sharks FC
Sept 17, 2005: Wikki 0 – 0 Sharks FC
April 8, 2005: Sharks FC 2 – 0 Wikki

Kwara Utd v Kaduna Utd
In three head-to-head meetings in the past three years, Kaduna United is still seeking its first point against Kwara United. The last visit of Kaduna United to Ilorin ended in a 1 – 4 loss in February 2007. The Afonja Warriors would definitely go into this tie licking its lips with the aim of completing the double on Kaduna United after a 2 – 1 win in the first game this season. A win can see Kwara United close the gap on the pacesetters, Enyimba and Kano Pillars. On paper, the Ilorin club looks the better of the two outfits with the common name ‘United.’
Prediction: 2 – 0
Nov 22, 2009: Kaduna Utd 1 – 2 Kwara Utd
May 15, 2007: Kaduna Utd 1 – 2 Kwara Utd
Feb 7, 2007: Kwara Utd 4 – 1 Kaduna Utd

3SC v Lobi Stars
Last weekend, Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) was hard done by poor officiating in Kaduna and lost 0 – 3 after letting down its guard. But Mutiu Adepoju believes that his side has overcome the setback of that clash last Sunday ahead of Lobi Stars’ visit. Lobi Stars returned to winning ways last weekend but still remain in the drop zone and might just remain there by the end of this weekend, as the Oluyole Warriors in dire need of a home win to continue its bid to retain its Premier League status after battling out of relegation in recent weeks. Stars should nick this though it has drawn as much as it has won at home front.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Nov 22, 2009: Lobi Stars 2 – 0 3SC
June 24, 2006: Lobi Stars 1 – 1 3SC
April 15, 2006: 3SC 1 – 1 Lobi Stars
Sept 17, 2005: Lobi Stars 2 – 2 3SC
April 8, 2005: 3SC 2 – 1 Lobi Stars

Zamfara Utd v Sunshine Stars
With just one point above the relegation line, Zamfara United goes into this tie with a must-win target or else could find itself in the dogfight by next week. Zamfara United would have its work cut out against continent-seeking Sunshine Stars, which has dropped 33 points on the road so far in this season’s campaign. Solomon Ogbeide’s team is beginning to look like a side being left behind in the hunt for a continental ticket, as it is six points behind leader, Enyimba. Though it won the first meeting in Akure, Sunshine Stars has not picked a point in Gusau in two years with the corresponding fixture ending 1 – 2 in favour of Zamfara United. If placed side by side, the visiting team has got the quality to grab a point in this game.
Prediction: 1 – 1
Nov 22, 2009: Sunshine Stars 2 – 0 Zamfara Utd
May 10, 2009: Zamfara Utd 2 – 1 Sunshine Stars
Dec 21, 2008: Sunshine Stars 1 – 1 Zamfara Utd
May 25, 2008: Zamfara Utd 1 – 0 Sunshine Stars
Jan 5, 2008: Sunshine Stars 0 – 0 Zamfara Utd

Rangers v Ocean Boys
Played six games in March – won one, drew one and lost four. That is the woeful record of Ocean Boys, notorious for switching coaches at will. Emmanuel Amuneke has not had a great time, as Ocean Boys is now the basement side of the Premier League going into the game against the Flying Antelopes. Rangers has been left to rue its lack of cutting edge in killing off teams at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu that has led to its dropping out of the top four. Alphonsus Dike’s men can climb temporarily into the top four again depending on the outcome of games involving Sunshine Stars and Kwara United since Warri Wolves and Enyimba would wait till Thursday to face their opponents due to African club competitions. Except for profligacy in front of goal, Rangers should further condemn to Ocean Boys to the dogfight.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Nov 21, 2009: Ocean Boys 1 – 0 Rangers
Feb 25, 2009: Rangers 2 – 0 Ocean Boys
Jan 18, 2009: Ocean Boys 1 – 0 Rangers
March 23, 2008: Rangers 1 – 0 Ocean Boys
Nov 18, 2007: Ocean Boys 3 – 0 Rangers
May 15, 2007: Rangers 2 – 0 Ocean Boys
Feb 7, 2007: Ocean Boys 1 – 2 Rangers

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