Friday, October 15, 2010

New NPL season kicks off at Kaduna

The 2010/2011 campaign of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) will get underway at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna when northern rivals, Kaduna United go up against last season’s runners-up, Kano Pillars on October 23.
The Premier League board picked this game as the star game of Day One of the championship for the new with the other nine matches coming up on October 24.
It is, however, not the first that Kaduna United and Kano Pillars will be pitched to face each other in the opening week of the Premier League.
In the 2008/2009 season, Kaduna United played to host to Pillars on September 14 in a Week One game and won by 2 – 1.
Though Kaduna United head coach, Maurice Cooreman, was not the man in charge two seasons ago when they earned that win over their arch-rivals, he believes that his side can re-enact such feat.
“We are ready for that game. We have played a number of friendly games and I know my players for the new season. So we can beat them again like we did that season,” he told SuperSport.com.
Few kilometres away from Kaduna is the base of Kano Pillars and their coach, Salisu Yusuf, is building for the new season without the duo of Solomon Okpako and last season’s top scorer in the league, Ahmed Musa.
He said the loss of both players will not hinder the performance of his side when the new season starts.
“For the fact that Ahmed Musa has left us doesn’t mean we will not do well. Or because we lost Solomon that we don’t have other players here. I can assure our fans that we are prepared to compete and win something this season,” he said.
Pillars have snapped up Mannir Ubale and Gabriel Reuben from Bayelsa United and Enyimba respectively while Kaduna United have remained discreet in divulging their new signings.
Attempts by Kaduna United to lure over Kano Pillars’ veteran, Ahmed ‘Yaro Yaro’ Garba, broke down.
On Sunday, October 24, Bukola Babes will start life in the top-flight for the first time by playing host to Zamfara United while Crown Football Club, another debutants, will be away to Niger Tornadoes.
Titleholders, Enyimba, will aim to start well against Ocean Boys in Aba and Enuguu Rangers play host to Lobi Stars while Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) and Sunshine Stars are billed to battle for points at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan.
It will be interesting to see how coach Ndubuisi Nduka’s Plateau United will fare against his immediate past team, Dolphin Football Club in the opening. Kadiri Ikhana will lead Kwara United to Warri Wolves and aim for a first win of the season.
In Port Harcourt, perennial underachievers, Sharks Football Club, will host Premier League returnees, Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) Football Club while Heartland Football Club make a tortuous trip up north to face Gombe United to round off Week One of the new season.

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