Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Predictor opts for Old Imo Derby

For Match Day 9 of the Glo Premier League, the Old Imo Derby between Heartland and Enyimba is my eye-catching game. Aba, which is home to six-time Nigerian champions, was formerly under Imo State with its capital, Owerri being the home to Heartland. Now the two cities are under separate jurisdiction with Enyimba being kings in Aba and Heartland regarded as the masters in Owerri.

But my game of this match day is in Port Harcourt where leaders Sharks play hosts to third-placed El-Kanemi Warriors in a top-of-the-table clash.

For the third straight match day, Bayelsa United won't be involved in a league game as they prepare for their Caf Confederation Cup playoff decisive leg against Sewe Sport of Ivory Coast.

Saturday, 26 April 2014
Heartland v Enyimba (Dan Anyiam Stadium)It's now two years, five months and 16 days since Heartland last won a league game against Enyimba. In the last four league head-to-head meetings Enyimba have won all four.

Just when Enyimba's form has peaked is when Heartland are struggling to win their first game of the season. It will be difficult for Heartland to knock off Enyimba in their current stride. I think both teams will share the points.

My prediction: 0-0

Sunday, 27 April 2014
Sharks v El-Kanemi Warriors (Sharks Stadium)This is a top-of-the-table clash. Gritty and effective Sharks go up against a plucky El-Kanemi team. The Blue Angels, if they must stay top of the pile, should be ready to score even half chances, as El-Kanemi have gone unbeaten in their last six matches.

I just sense this game will be played from the bench - the tactical nous of Gbenga Ogunbote against the savvy style of Salisu Yusuf. But I think Sharks will dig deep to win this.

My prediction: 1-0

Gombe United v Kaduna United (Pantami Stadium)Both teams have continued from where they left off last season and are yet to win a point on the road so far. Poor results recently including a home loss to Sharks has led to Kaduna United sacking Ben Duamlong. Kaduna United are in a mess and I wouldn't be surprised if they lose a third consecutive game.

The Crocodiles now look extremely vulnerable and I expect Gombe United to capitalise on that. Maurice Cooreman's men should climb out of the bottom four as Kaduna United are yet to recover from the loss of coach Saleh Tanko-Lato.

My prediction: 2-0

Nasarawa United v Dolphins (Lafia Township Stadium)Nasarawa United have been scrappy at home this term and I think they are in danger of losing points at home if their form fails to improve. Interestingly Dolphins have lost just once in four of their travels this season and are unbeaten in six league matches.

It appears Mohammed Baba Ganaru's magic has not worked just yet for Nasarawa United. Both teams had good results in mid-week winning by 1-0 scorelines. Though Dolphins lost 0-4 last season in this same game, this time I think they won't lose by such a wide margin.

My prediction: 1-0

Akwa United v Sunshine Stars (Uyo Township Stadium)I have seen Sunshine Stars once this season and honestly they're slow starters. Sunshine Stars' bench were slow to react in their 3-2 home win against Warri Wolves and I think if they give Akwa United such room to operate for longer spells in the game, The Promise Keepers could take them to the cleaners.

Last season, Akwa United ran over Sunshine Stars 4-0 in this corresponding fixture. Akwa United are my favourites to win this though Sunshine Stars with their handful of stars will make the Uyo club work for the full points.

My prediction: 1-0

Lobi Stars v Kano Pillars (Emmanuel Atongo Stadium)Lobi have won all of their four home matches so far without conceding but their results are still far from impressing me. In mid-week they got battered 0-3 at Enyimba. Defending champions Kano Pillars have not defeated Lobi since February 2012.

With Kano Pillars' stars like Rabiu Ali and Gambo Muhammad yet to get into their full elements, I think Lobi Stars will take advantage. But I still fancy Pillars to score in this game.

My prediction: 2-1

Abia Warriors v Warri Wolves (Umuahia Township Stadium)Abia Warriors have produced five clean sheets in their first-ever seven Premier League games. I've watched Wolves twice so far, they look like a good team but their concentration level is questionable especially when they take the lead in games.

Warriors head coach, Ladan Bosso, sure has the likes of Cletus Itodo, Peter Onyekachi, Bishop Onyeudo, Emmanuel Fabiyi, Johnson Chiedozie and Wasiu Sowemimo to count on for experience. I expect Wolves to keep their concentration levels in this game and earn a point.
My prediction: 0-0

FC Taraba v Enugu Rangers (Jolly Nyame Stadium)FC Taraba have lost their last three league games which has seen them drop into the bottom half of the standings. The Jalingo club have been without Luter Iyorhe who is still recuperating from a thigh injury. He has missed FC Taraba's last three games.

Rangers have taken just a draw on the road from four away games this season. For a club looking to end three decades without a major trophy that isn't good enough. FC Taraba haven't scoring lots of goals but they'll nick this.

My prediction: 1-0

Crown FC v Nembe City (Lekan Salami Stadium)Crown FC, like Akwa United and Lobi Stars, are the only club with a 100 per cent record. Lawrence Akpokona's men are now experts in winning their home games and losing on their travels.

City have taken just two points from 18 in the six games they've played since being reinstated back into the top flight. I really don't know if Nembe City will get themselves back into the campaign so soon. But I don't see them ending the smooth home run of Crown FC so far this term.

My prediction: 1-0

•The Predictor was at his best in the last match day as he got eight results out of the nine games correctly including three exact scores.

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