Saturday, February 25, 2012

NPL preview for Week 11

The biggest game on paper will be the Port Harcourt derby between Sharks and Dolphins this Saturday.

One game - Warri Wolves versus Wikki Tourists - is off while Sunday's big game is in Ijebu-Ode. The preview for this matchday:

Saturday, February 25, 2012
Niger Tornadoes v Rising Stars (Bako Kontagora Stadium)
This is the first time both sides will meet in the top flight. Newcomers Rising Stars have surprised many with their strong start that has pit them in ninth place on the standings going into this game while Tornadoes are in the bottom half.

But the hosts will have Daniel Etor back for this game after he was released from the Super Eagles' camp on Thursday. The Stars face a big task of pulling this off, as they are yet to score on the road this term.
Our prediction: 2-0

Sharks v Dolphins (Sharks Stadium)
The Blue Angels have struggled against city rivals, Dolphins. Sharks have won just one top flight game against Dolphins since 2003 which was this same fixture last season. It was Victor Ezeji's goal that earned the hosts all points though it was alleged both sides threw the game.

Gambo Gideon will continue in goal in the absence of Okiemute Odah while the trio of Emmanuel Anyanwu and Emma Nwachi are doubtful while Chidi Osuchukwu and Azeez Shobowale could figure from the bench. The derby will end in a stalemate.
Our prediction: 0-0

Akwa United v Kaduna United (UJ Esuene Stadium)
The last time Kaduna United faced Akwa United in this fixture they lost 0-2 in November 2008 but won the reverse game by a goal in March 2009.

Akwa United will miss the work rate of Solomon Jabason against Kaduna United, who just lost Belgian coach, Maurice Cooreman to Warri Wolves. It's difficult to see Kaduna United leaving Calabar with a result.
Our prediction: 2-0

Sunday, February 26, 2012
ABS FC v Enugu Rangers (Ilorin Township Stadium)
Last season Rangers lost this game to Abdulrahman Bashir's first half goal. This term ABS have started poorly and will need a win to lift the ebb and flow at the Ilorin club.

Rangers have three key men - Chikeluba Ofoedu, James Okwuosa and Emeka Eze - doubtful for this game. Okey Emordi will set up his men for a result in Ilorin.
Our prediction: 0-0

Heartland v Kwara United (Gabros Stadium)
Surprise leaders, Kwara United head to the southeast to face Heartland in their seventh visit since 2003. In those trips to Heartland, the Ilorin club have drawn once and lost six including last season's 1-2 loss.

Heartland have been handed boosts with Kabir Umar, Uche Oguchi and Kingsley Salami back with the side while their opponents will be without Barnabas Imenger. Lodewijk de Kruif's men will take the points.
Our prediction: 1-0

Lobi Stars v 3SC (Emmanuel Atongo Stadium)
This is the sixth trip of 3SC to Lobi Stars since 2004 and have managed just two draws from the previous five visits with the others ending in losses including last season's 0-1 defeat.

Both sides will have full personnel for this tie but Lobi look too good for the points, as 3SC have failed to win in their three games on the road this season.
Our prediction: 1-0

Sunshine Stars v Enyimba (Dipo Dina Stadium)
This is the big Sunday game in the NPL. Enyimba have not won a point at Sunshine Stars in eight years. Sunshine Stars have won the last four of this corresponding fixture.

Gbenga Ogunbote will have Precious Osasco Omoma back but will plan for Enyimba without captain Godfrey Oboabona and Izu Azuka. Enyimba would not have striker Uche Kalu but winger Henry Uche could figure after he was dropped from the Eagles' camp. Our prediction: 2-1

Jigawa Golden Stars v Gombe United (Hadejia Township Stadium)
Bernard Ogbe's men will be out to secure a second away win at Jigawa Stars and have leading scorer, Mustapha Babadidi and his partner, Sanusi Sani, in their squad.

Gombe United lost this same game in 2007 but are favourites to land all points.
Our prediction: 1-2

Ocean Boys v Kano Pillars (Samson Siasia Stadium)
Pillars have never beaten Ocean Boys on the road in a top flight game. The Kano club have avoided defeat just once in five away games including a 0-1 defeat last term.

Papa Idris' absence is one factor Ocean Boys will want to explore to win this game.
Our prediction: 1-0

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