Sunday, November 13, 2011

NPL final day preview

After one year and seven days in the 2010/2011 season of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), a champion will be crowned while the last of the four sides to be demoted will be known, as the last 10 games of the season are played on Sunday.

The race for the golden boot award is still open between Jude Aneke of Kaduna United and Ibrahim Ajani of Sunshine Stars with George Akpabio of Plateau United.

But followers of the league will have their sights set on six centres in Minna, Kano, Ilorin, Gusau, Jos and Ibadan. These towns will play host to games that will determine winners and losers in the title, survival and continental races.

Sunday, November 13, 2011
Niger Tornadoes v Warri Wolves (Bako Kontagora Stadium)
This is a game that Warri Wolves need just a point from to secure a 2012 Caf Confederation Cup place. Expect Paul Aigbogun to set up his side more defensively with Efe Yarhere likely to play alone up front.

In the reverse game this season it was Emmanuel Omodiagbe's goal that earned Wolves the points. Tornadoes have nothing to play for except the points.
Our prediction: 0-0

Sharks v Kwara United (Sharks Stadium)
The Blue Angels were beaten 0-3 in the first game by Kwara United in February. Kwara United recently ended their poor run of five games (in all competitions) with a 3-2 win over Enugu Rangers mid-week.

But Sharks will go all out to beat Kwara United in Kadiri Ikhana's last game in charge of a league game.
Our prediction: 2-0

Enugu Rangers v Crown FC (Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium)
Rangers will no doubt complete the double on relegated Crown FC after winning the reverse game by a solitary goal from Brendan Ogbu. Of course the Ajilete Valiant could pose a few problems for the Flying Antelopes but the home side should claim all three points.
Our prediction: 3-1

Plateau United v Heartland (Rwang Pam Stadium)
Plateau United are in dire need of three points from this game to give themselves a real chance of survival. But they will also have to wait to confirm results from the games involving 3SC and Ocean Boys to know their top flight status.

Bitrus Bewarang's men may have lost the first game of this meeting earlier in the season in Owerri, they are expected to put a spirited fight to beat Heartland.
Our prediction: 2-1

3SC v Lobi Stars (Obafemi Awolowo Stadium)
3SC have left it till the last day to fight for survival. They play host to Lobi Stars, who lost in their mid-week home game to Bukola Babes. Fatai Amoo's side may have had a topsy-turvy season but they will go for all points in this tie.

And expect Lobi Stars to effect a few changes in their starting side for this game that holds no significant outcome for them.
Our prediction: 2-0

Bukola Babes v Dolphins (Ilorin Township Stadium)
Derrick Amadi and Uche Oguchi got the goals in the first-ever top flight clash between these two sides. A win for Dolphins in this game could secure them their third league title depending on the outcome of the other game in Kano.

It is expected that Dolphins will pick up their fifth away win of the season in Sunday's game in Ilorin.
Our prediction: 1-2

Zamfara United v Ocean Boys (Sardauna Memorial)
The top flight status of 2006 champions, Ocean Boys comes under scrutiny at Zamfara United. Samson Unuanel's men have one of the poorest run on the road with a point from 18 games - Heartland being the other side with same record.

Relegated Zamfara United will not be out to do Ocean Boys any favour in Gusau having lost the first meeting this season 1-3 in Yenagoa.
Our prediction: 1-0

Kano Pillars v Sunshine Stars (Sani Abacha Stadium; live on SuperSport 9)
This is the biggest game of the final day. Sunshine Stars go into this tie as leaders in the standings by a point while Kano Pillars need an outright win that could see them secure a continental place next year depending on the outcome of Warri Wolves' game in Minna.

Kano Pillars were soundly beaten in Ijebu-Ode in the reverse game 0-3 and Gbenga Ogunbote's men are capable of stunning the Kano faithful this time to make it a double though they have never won in that city.
Our prediction: 1-2

Gombe United v Kaduna United (Pantami Stadium)
Both sides will only play for the points as they are not in the race for the title, continent or survival. But Gombe United will look the hungrier to win this in order to pay back for the three-nil loss to Kaduna United in the reverse game.

Kaduna United head to Pantami with their players still agitated over unpaid wages. And league top scorer, Jude Aneke will miss this tie, as he is with the national team.
Our prediction: 2-0

Enyimba v Juth (Enyimba Sports Stadium)
In the first game this season, six-time league champions, Enyimba surprisingly lost 1-2 in Jos. This time Okey Emordi's side will battle for the points as they are far from winning a place back to the continent after their ouster in the Caf Champions League last month.

The Peoples Elephant are definitely favoured to overrun relegated Juth in Aba in this match.
Our prediction: 3-0

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