Friday, May 21, 2010


Saturday, May 22
Kano Pillars v Dolphin
It would be interesting to see how Dolphin copes with a Pillars’ side that has scored more goals than any other side in this season’s campaign. In the reverse fixture the league leader, Kano Pillars, crashed by 1 – 3 at the Liberation Stadium but in its last two visits to Kano, Dolphin is yet to pick a point. The home team has a squad in which almost everyone can score goals in spite of top scorer, Ahmed Musa, gradually playing his way back into the side after coming on as a sub against Enugu Rangers last weekend after a month on the sideline due to an ankle injury. But Pillars knowing that Enyimba is breathing down its neck on the title race would not fail to win.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Jan 13, 2010: Dolphin 3 – 1 Kano Pillars
July 14, 2006: Dolphin 3 – 0 Kano Pillars
May 5, 2006: Kano Pillars 2 – 0 Dolphin
Oct 21, 2005: Kano Pillars 2 – 1 Dolphin
June 14, 2005: Dolphin 2 – 0 Kano Pillars

Gateway FC v Enyimba
There is just five games after this for the Rock City Boys to prove that it wants to keep its Premier League status beyond this season. This is a tough game against the Peoples Elephant even though it is to be played at the M.K.O. Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta. Gateway Football Club goes into this game with a poor form guide of two losses, two draws and a win coupled with failing to score in 13 matches. Enyimba has an impressive form guide of four wins and just a loss, and it looks uncertain if the basement boys of the top-flight would earn a win considering the way the Aba side took it to the cleaners in the reverse fixture earlier this year.
Prediction: 1 – 2
Jan 14, 2010: Enyimba 2 – 0 Gateway FC
April 12, 2009: Gateway FC 1 – 1 Enyimba
Nov 26, 2008: Enyimba 1 – 0 Gateway FC
Sept 17, 2005: Gateway FC 1 – 1 Enyimba
April 12, 2005: Enyimba 2 – 0 Gateway FC

Tornadoes v Kaduna Utd
Three losses in its five last games is not a good return for a side like Niger Tornadoes vying to qualify for the continent compared to United’s stuttering run of two wins, two losses and a draw. But the good news for Ladan Bosso is that striker Eugene Salami has been in such great form that he could close the gap on top scorer, Ahmed Musa of Kano Pillars, on Saturday. The Minna side has failed to score in 10 games and its opponent has a better record of eight so far and is still smarting from winning last week’s Kaduna derby against Ranch Bees. But Kaduna United’s undoing may be the lone win on the road from 16 games and should not be a threat to Bosso and his side.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Jan 13, 2010: Kaduna Utd 1 – 0 Tornadoes
Feb 11, 2009: Kaduna Utd 0 – 0 Tornadoes
Sept 20, 2008: Tornadoes 1 – 2 Kaduna Utd
March 7, 2007: Kaduna Utd 1 – 0 Tornadoes
Jan 13, 2007: Tornadoes 1 – 0 Kaduna Utd
Aug 7, 2006: Kaduna Utd 0 – 0 Tornadoes
May 26, 2006: Tornadoes 1 – 0 Kaduna Utd

Gombe Utd v Ocean Boys
In this same game last season, Gombe United grinded out a one-nil win over 2006 champion, Ocean Boys. But times have changed since that meeting on February 11, 2009 because Ocean Boys is now battling for survival and is just a point above the drop zone. Emmanuel Amuneke is having a handful of a time trying to convince his players due to the poor management of the club. Three past trips to Gombe have all ended in defeats and that does not look like changing now for Ocean Boys with a poor away record of keeping just one clean sheet. I hand the Desert Scorpions all three points.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Jan 13, 2010: Ocean Boys 2 – 0 Gombe Utd
Feb 11, 2009: Gombe Utd 1 – 0 Ocean Boys
Sept 21, 2008: Ocean Boys 1 – 1 Gombe Utd
April 23, 2008: Gombe Utd 3 – 0 Ocean Boys
Dec 2, 2007: Ocean Boys 1 – 0 Gombe Utd
July 11, 2006: Ocean Boys 1 – 0 Gombe Utd
April 29, 2006: Gombe Utd 3 – 1 Ocean Boys

Ranch Bees v Lobi Stars
The Bees saw Stars in the first meeting at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi when it lost by 0 – 2. It is even worse for Ranch Bees, as it would start playing its home games at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar after it was banished there by the Premier League for assaulting match officials on May 8 in Kaduna. Lobi Stars though has its own fair share of trouble since the season crossed the half-way mark would fancy the chance of completing the double over Bees. But I see a potential draw in this tie.
Prediction: 1 – 1
Jan 13, 2010: Lobi Stars 2 – 0 Ranch Bees

Sunday, May 23
Bayelsa Utd v Sunshine Stars
Sunshine Stars’ physical style of play has see the side play without scoring in 13 games, and definitely it would head to Yenagoa armed with its defending tactics. There is no doubt now that Bayelsa United has lost its title and would not even have the chance of qualifying for the continent. But Bayelsa United would be hoping to continue its fine home record against Sunshine Stars like it has done in the past two seasons. The Akure-based side has not won a top-flight game at Bayelsa United including last season’s corresponding fixture on November 30, 2008 when it lost by two-nil. Sunshine Stars has won the three other meetings in Akure, which includes the first meeting this season that ended 1 – 0. Solomon Ogbeide’s men have shown inconsistency most times this season and remain unpredictable and that is why I will put my money on Bayelsa United.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Jan 14, 2010: Sunshine Stars 1 – 0 Bayelsa Utd
May 24, 2009: Sunshine Stars 2 – 0 Bayelsa Utd
Nov 30, 2008: Bayelsa Utd 1 – 0 Sunshine Stars
Feb 3, 2008: Bayelsa Utd 2 – 0 Sunshine Stars
Oct 6, 2007: Sunshine Stars 3 – 1 Bayelsa Utd

Heartland v 3SC
This is our pick of the pack for this weekend’s fixtures. By standards, this is the worst season in the past three for the Naze Millionaires, which has finished in the top five. But in spite of that, Shooting Stars should not pose a threat to Heartland considering its poor away stats. The Oluyole Warriors has an average goals per match on the road that stands at 0.19 and has struggled not to concede in away games in just two matches out of 16. The problem with the side Fatai Amoo inherited is ‘where will the away goals come from?’
Prediction: 3 – 1
Jan 13, 2010: Shooting Stars 1 – 0 Heartland
Aug 1, 2006: Heartland 1 – 0 Shooting Stars
May 19, 2006: Shooting Stars 2 – 1 Heartland

Rangers v Zamfara Utd
This is a game between fifth-placed side on the league log against 12th. The Flying Antelopes has not lost any game at home this season and it has added a defensive meanness to that record so far by conceding just one goal. Though Austin Kadiri has been firing the goals for Zamfara United this season has scored just six goals on the road and shipped in 36, which is the worst record so far of goals’ conceded in away matches by any Premier League team. Zamfara United has no chance of picking a draw after three visits to Rangers have all ended in losses.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Jan 13, 2010: Zamfara Utd 1 – 0 Rangers
April 12, 2009: Zamfara Utd 2 – 1 Rangers
Nov 26, 2008: Rangers 1 – 0 Zamfara Utd
May 18, 2008: Rangers 1 – 0 Zamfara Utd
Jan 16, 2008: Zamfara Utd 1 - 0 Rangers
Aug 13, 2005: Zamfara Utd 0 – 1 Rangers
March 16, 2005: Rangers 3 – 1 Zamfara Utd

Wolves v Wikki
With a squad of an average age of 26 years, Lawrence Akpokona’s Wolves has struggled in recent games to maintain same tempo with which it started the season. But now that it has been eliminated from the CAF Confederation Cup, may be that dip in form could change starting from the game with Wikki Tourist. The home side has won its past two meetings since 2005 including last season’s corresponding fixture by a lone goal. Wolves should win this game and climb up into the top four.
Prediction: 3 – 0
Jan 13, 2010: Wikki 3 – 1 Wolves
March 1, 2009: Wolves 2 – 0 Wikki
Oct 18, 2008: Wikki 1 – 0 Wolves
March 12, 2005: NPA 1 – 0 Wikki
Aug 19, 2005: Wikki 0 – 0 NPA

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