Saturday, March 10, 2012

NPL Week 13 preview

It will be 'Super Naija Sunday' in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) with two big games in the Enugu and Warri centres. One of the games - Heartland versus Enyimba - will be live on SuperSport 9 from 4pm local time (5pm CAT).

There will also be huge interest in the game scheduled for Minna between Niger Tornadoes and table-topping Enugu Rangers, who are the most in-form side of the top flight in the last 10 games. At the bottom end, it's still an open fight with ABS on a resurgence. The full preview here:

Saturday, March 10, 2012
ABS FC v Kano Pillars (Ilorin Township Stadium)
Saraki Boys will aim for their first win in a top flight game against Kano Pillars. Last season over two legs Pillars won by similar 1 – 0 scorelines. Mannir Ubale and Rabiu Ali, who wreaked ABS in both games last season will be available for this tie.

However, under caretaker coach, Kabir Sulaiman Dogo, ABS have enjoyed a revival of some sort and climbed out of the bottom four for the first time in four weeks. But this game will be played behind closed door and it is expected that Dogo’s target of a seven-game unbeaten run will not be threatened.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Niger Tornadoes v Enugu Rangers (Bako Kontagora Stadium)
Table-topping Rangers go to Minna for a 17th head-to-head meeting in the NPL with Tornadoes since February 2003. The Flying Antelopes have had decent trips to Minna in their last eight games winning once, losing thrice and drawing four times including last season’s goalless draw.

Okey Emordi will have the like of Ejike Uzoenyi, Chikeluba Ofoedu and Emeka Eze in the Rangers squad for this trip to stretch their unbeaten run beyond seven as it stands now while Tornadoes will parade Shehu ‘Romario’ Abdullahi, Daniel Essien Etor, Azuka Ebinum and Sibi Gwar in this game expected to be a tight contest. The leaders will leave Minna with a point.
Our prediction: 1 – 1

Sharks v Kwara United (Sharks Stadium)
On the last day of the season, the Blue Angels secured all points in this same game with a goal. Kwara United start this weekend in fourth place but their last matchday distraction following crowd violence could take the wind out of their sail for this trip to the Garden City, Port Harcourt.

John Obuh is expected to name Okiemute Odah in goal as Kwara United will have an attack with options in Philip Asuquo, Anthony Okemmiri, Barnabas Imenger, Segun Alebiosu and Aminu Abubakar. Sharks know they have to replicate last season’s 1 – 0 win in this corresponding fixture as they are two points above the drop zone. But this time they are capable of putting two past their opponents.
Our prediction: 2 – 0

Sunday, March 11, 2012
Heartland v Enyimba (Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium; live on SS9)
For Cup holders, Heartland this southeast derby is similar to playing away from their home ground, the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri. The last time Heartland suffered a home defeat in the hands of their rivals, Enyimba was in October 2007 when they were humiliated 0-3. Enyimba have nothing to cheer in their last two visits to Heartland as they ended with defeats and scored no goals.

Osas Okoro is doubtful for this game after suffering a knock in mid-week at Kano Pillars while Bartholomew Ibenegbu, Kabir Umar, Obinna Nwachukwu will be in the team. Defender Chinedu ‘Chicago’ Efugh is also a doubt. Enyimba have a strong contingent for this game but will be without Nnaemeka Anyanwu, who is still out injured. Enyimba’s biggest undoing is their poor scoring form on the road – five away games with no goals scored. This game has Heartland’s fingers all over it.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Lobi Stars v Rising Stars (Emmanuel Atongo Stadium)
The hosts are in the bottom four and will be fired up to win the points against newcomers, Rising Stars in this first-ever Premier League clash. It is a big test for Sunday Erelesusi’s men to prove that they can compete in the top flight.

Kayode Agboola will lead the lines for Rising Stars but Lobi have shown enough cutting edge at home this term and will win this.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Sunshine Stars v Kaduna United (Dipo Dina Stadium)
It is four games on the bounce for Kaduna United without a win this term. Sunshine Stars will definitely not spare the troubled Kaduna side when they meet on Sunday in Ijebu-Ode. Last season in this same game, Kaduna United lost 1 – 4 and have failed to win in their last three trips to Sunshine Stars.

It is no news that Kaduna United have lost a larger percentage of their top stars and head coach, Maurice Cooreman to rival clubs, which has seen them struggle this term. Head coach of the Akure Gunners, Gbenga Ogunbote will have captain Godfrey Oboabona back in the side, and they should outrun their opponents.
Our prediction: 3 – 0

Jigawa Golden Stars v Wikki Tourists (Hadejia Township Stadium)
The Golden Stars have failed to win in their last five games since a 1 – 0 win over Sunshine Stars on February 5. The hosts, who are bottom of the standings, will be buoyed to win the points against Ladan Bosso’s men in Hadejia.

Jigawa Stars will have Moses Ogaga, Bala Mohammed, Chigozie Maurice, Habibu Inusa and Oliver Agbo dressed for this game, as they hope to claim the points for the home side against Wikki, who are expected to line up a strong team. The home side will just nick a win here.
Our prediction: 1 – 0

Akwa United v 3SC (UJ Esuene Stadium)
3SC struggled at home last week in their 1 – 1 draw against Warri Wolves and might pay the price this weekend if they exhibit same attitude away to Akwa United in Calabar. The Promise Seekers this term have kept a 100 percent record at home, and it is difficult to look beyond them with their physical and aerial qualities.

Solomon Ogbeide has enough personnel in Solomon Jabason, Babalo Haruna, Femi Thomas, Ini Akpan and Ibrahim Babale to stave off the challenge of Festus Allen’s 3SC. Though 3SC will come with their experienced forward in Kabiru Alausa, Akwa United will do enough to keep their perfect home record going this season.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Warri Wolves v Dolphins (Warri City Stadium)
This is the other big clash that highlights the ‘Super Naija Sunday.’ Champions Dolphins will be seeking for a first win in eight years in Warri – the last road victory in the oil-rich city being a 1 – 0 win in April 2004. Wolves have won the last three games as hosts in this same fixture including last season’s 4 – 1 thumping in June 2011.

ThankGod Ike could sit out this tie after he was substituted following a knock in Thursday’s game against Jigawa Stars while Sunday Mbah, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Jude Aneke, Uruemu Egbeta, Uche Ossai, Victor Ezema and Chigozie Agbim are in the team for this game against Dolphins. The away team will be without striker Ifeanyi Egwim owing to suspension after he got a straight red card at ABS in mid-week. It is a big game, so do not expect too many goals but Wolves will win this, as Dolphins have put up fragile displays in their last three games in the NPL.
Our prediction: 2 – 1

Ocean Boys v Gombe United (Samson Siasia Stadium)
The hosts need a win badly in this game to climb out of the bottom four. The Divine Warriors have a better form guide of two wins and three losses than Gombe United's one win, two draws and two losses in last five rounds of games.

Ocean Boys have never lost a top flight game at home to the Desert Scorpions and in spite of their poor goal-scoring form they should take the points.
Our prediction: 1-0

*On Matchday 12, it was SIX correct results including TWO exact over 10 for The Predictor.

1 comment:

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