Friday, April 04, 2014

The Predictor loves Garden City derby

The Garden City Derby, otherwise known as the Port Harcourt Derby, will be the talking point this weekend in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) as Dolphins and Sharks go head-to-head.

As much as the attention of so many league enthusiasts will be focused on the derby in the Garden City, I also have one of my eyes fixed on the matches involving two newcomers, Abia Warriors and Giwa FC, to the premier division. Both teams have shown they can compete against the big clubs though it is still early days.

Enugu will certainly be the main focus as Enugu Rangers continue that elusive chase for a first domestic title in three decades.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sharks v Dolphins (Sharks Stadium; live on SS9)

Last season this same fixture ended goalless. The Blue Angels have won two out of the previous five of this same game, drew two and lost two-nil in November 2005. Dolphins are yet to lose in the last three head-to-head meetings in the Garden City Derby. The last time they lost was on February 25, 2012 when Sharks won 3-1.

Sharks will have the full complement of their squad for this clash but Dolphins will be without suspended centre-back, Hope Fiberesima. ThankGod Amaefule and Chidiebere Okolie are in line to face their old club. Ifeanyi Egwim is now also a doubt for Dolphins after injurying his ankle. This will end in a draw like last season.

My prediction: 0-0

Sunday, April 5, 2014

Abia Warriors v Kano Pillars (Umuahia Township Stadium)

New boys, Abia Warriors, claimed the scalp of six-time champions, Enyimba, by becoming only the first side to win a league game in Aba in six years. Surely Kano Pillars will not want to overlook such a feat and think it will be a stroll in the park for them against the Warriors.

Ladan Bosso, a former Pillars coach, will definitely set up his men to go for an outright win after their feat in Aba last weekend. But with the return of Gambo Muhammad to the Pillars squad I expect a bit of a fight for the points. However, I'll fancy Abia Warriors to win on the strength of their form.

My prediction: 1-0

Crown FC v Gombe United (Lekan Salami Stadium)

Gombe United are seeking their first away point in the league since their last draw (0-0) on the road at Kano Pillars on April 21, 2012. The Savannah Scorpions went the whole of last term without winning a point on the road. The last time both teams met in this same fixture in March 2011, Crown FC won 2-0 through goals from Femi Ajayi and Morenikeji Akanbi.

This season, Crown FC return to the top flight with much physical players but that didn't pay off at Sharks last Saturday when they got hit for three. I expect Crown FC to press high up in this game, push for goals and win it by the odd goal.

My prediction: 1-0

Warri Wolves v Giwa FC (Warri City Stadium)

Wolves have not won in their last four matches in all competitions including a two-nil loss at Kano Pillars on Wednesday. I know Giwa FC will surely be feeling confident going into this game after defeating Enugu Rangers one-nil in mid-week in their first game of the season.

I am very sure Paul Aigbogun will pick a very strong squad for Wolves to take out the newcomers and breathe life back into their season. The Warri club will put a halt to their poor run and I feel Giwa FC without experienced defender Nojeem Raji could buckle under the weight of their excitement.

My prediction: 3-0

FC Taraba v Enyimba (Jolly Nyame Stadium)

The pressure has started cranking up on two-time African champions, Enyimba after surprising losing at home to city rivals, Abia Warriors last Sunday. This is the first time the People's Elephant will face FC Taraba in the premier division.

FC Taraba have had a decent run so far but I doubt that will be enough to hold down a wounded and fired up Enyimba side. I am sure Enyimba head coach, Zachary Baraje, will drum it into the ears of his men that they need to win this and calm frayed nerves of their faithful.

My prediction: 1-2

Lobi Stars v Kaduna United (Emmanuel Atongo Stadium)

Lobi Stars are yet lose at home since their 3-4 loss to Bayelsa United in July 2013. This term they've won their home games against Crown FC and Gombe United without conceding.

Kaduna United last won a point on the road at Jigawa Golden Stars in June 2012. That game ended scoreless. Last season Lobi won this same game 2-1 with goals from Austin Ogbodo and Esosa Igbinoba while Siman Yusuf scored for United. United have failed to impress me on the road in recent months so I'm not thinking otherwise than a win for Lobi Stars.

My prediction: 1-0

Heartland v Nasarawa United (Dan Anyiam Stadium)

Both clubs have had unimpressive start to the season but Heartland have failed to win in four matches including two home draws. The Solid Miners come into this game following a 1-3 loss at Bayelsa United on Thursday.

With the duo of Chinedu Efugh and Julius Ubido now lined up to return to Heartland's squad this weekend, the Solid Miners are in for some game. I don't expect the Naze Millionaires to leave any margin for error in this tie.

My prediction: 2-0

Enugu Rangers v Sunshine Stars (Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium; live on SS9)

It will be Sunshine Stars' third consecutive road trip having mustered a point in the last two at Kano Pillars and Dolphins. Rangers in mid-week did all the play but lost at Giwa FC by a goal and will hope to keep their two-year run of not losing in the league to the Akure Gunners going.

Sunshine Stars will be without suspended Mutiu Ogundimu and that should profit Rangers who have never conceded in seven of this previous meetings in the Premier League era.

My prediction: 2-0

Bayelsa United v El-Kanemi Warriors (Sapele Township Stadium)

Last term both clubs finished in the top four with United edging El-Kanemi to finish in third spot. The Warriors last won against Bayelsa United in 2007. In this corresponding game last season the Warriors got bashed 3-0 with Azubuike Okechukwu, Peter Ebimobowei and Gindo Abdoulaye scoring for United.

It's really difficult for me to look away from Bayelsa United winning this tie. They've been such an in-form side in all competitions lately.

My prediction: 2-0

Akwa United v Nembe City (Uyo Township Stadium)

City have now been cleared to play their first game of the season after initial inconsistency in their registration process saw them get booted out of the NPFL this term. League leaders Akwa United will fancy their chances of keeping their position at the top by going out for a win against a side yet to kick a ball this season.

Akwa United failed to beat City last term in their first-ever meetings over two legs in the NPFL including this same fixture that ended scoreless in Uyo. This time, The Promise Keepers won't blink.

My prediction: 2-0

• For the second week running, The Predictor notched up four correct results out of the six matches played on Match Day 4 of the NPFL. The four correct results also included two exact scores.

No comments:

Post a Comment