Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Oriental Derby is The Predictor's attraction

This week the Heartland-Enugu Rangers game is my pick of the bunch in spite of both teams having contrasting form guides since the start of the Glo Premier League season.
This is the real Oriental Derby and no disrespect to the other clubs in the southeast like Enyimba and Abia Warriors.

The Oriental Derby got its name from the popular musical high-life band Oriental Brothers, with the Old Imo State adopting the moniker 'Orient Stamp' that paved the way for the biggest southeast football derby back in the 1970s and into the 1980s.

The Oriental Derby is live on SuperSport 9 from 5pm CAT (4pm Nigerian time).

Apart from the Oriental Derby, there is the dogfight of two teams in Kaduna between two teams languishing in the bottom four.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Heartland v Enugu Rangers (Dan Anyiam Stadium)This is the 21st head-to-head meeting between both teams since the Premier League era. Heartland have won 11 of the previous 20 meetings to Rangers' six. The last time Rangers won at Heartland was in January 2001 through a lone goal but after that the Naze Millionaires have been dominant in this same fixture down the years.

Rangers have quite a talented group that include Ejike Uzoenyi, Ugonna Uzochukwu, Ousmane Pape Sane, Christian Obiozor and Osaguona Ighodaro among others. But Heartland are on a run of seven matches unbeaten and they've got a striker in Saibou Badarou, who seems to have brought loads of confidence into the Owerri side's attack. Heartland look too good to lose for me.

My prediction: 2-1

Gombe United v Kano Pillars (Pantami Stadium)Maurice Cooreman's men are now fired up after their 6-0 win over Nembe City last week. The champions, Kano Pillars, will offer them a different opposition compared to that of City. Pillars' head coach, Okey Emordi, did leave out a handful of his key players, including Theophilus Afelokhai and Gambo Muhammad for the trip to Crown FC last Wednesday.

In the last four visits to the Pantami, Pillars have found it difficult against Gombe United, losing in all of those games. Now they face a side who appear confident going forward after Adamu Mohammed became the first player to score a hat-trick this season. Emordi's men do have a game on their hands but they'll get a result.

My prediction: 1-1

Nasarawa United v Enyimba (Lafia Township Stadium)The Solid Miners go into this game with a four-match unbeaten streak including three home wins which should give Enyimba's gaffer, Zachary Baraje, some cause for concern. Last season Enyimba secured a point in this same match in Lafia after a 1-1 draw.

Already Enyimba have made a trip up north this season when they lost to FC Taraba by a goal. Baba Ganaru's team have surprised many as they are now third in the standings and I don't think they'll take their feet off the pedal against Enyimba as Ganaru knows the People's Elephant so well.

My prediction: 1-0

Akwa United v FC Taraba (Uyo Township Stadium)I really do believe that FC Taraba are still finding it hard in their travels as they've lost all of their five away matches. They'll go up against Akwa United, who are hot on the heels of leaders Sharks, in this first-ever league clash.

Joint-leading scorer Nnamso Edo should be back in Akwa United's match day squad after suspension. I honestly find it hard to see how Akwa United will drop points in this match.

My prediction: 2-0

Kaduna United v Nembe City (Kaduna Township Stadium)City finally got their first league win of the season and will now head to Kaduna in a battle of two sides in the bottom-four. Nembe City need to start picking up points but they've mustered just a point in six road trips.

The Crocodiles have put up an inconsistent performance in their last five games at home, including a 1-0 win over Dolphins last week. Last season Kaduna United won this same fixture 2-0 and I see them repeating same feat.

My prediction: 2-0

Sharks v Giwa FC (Sharks Stadium)I'll hand this game over to Sharks even without a ball being kicked. Giwa FC have shot themselves in the foot going into this match after slashing the wages and feeding allowances of players and officials by 50%.

It's already looking like a third consecutive defeat for the Elephants. Christian Pyagbara, Ifeanyi Inyam, Chima Akas, Odinga Odinga, Kelly Kester and Joseph Nathaniel should star for Sharks and help them secure that win that will keep them in top spot.

My prediction: 3-0

Bayelsa United v Abia Warriors (Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium)Ladan Bosso must be a worried man now having seen his team lose four league matches on the trot in spite of their impressive start to the season. Bayelsa United face another southeastern club for the third consecutive time after dispatching Enugu Rangers and Enyimba.

The intensity with which Bosso's Warriors started this season appears to have waned and it will take more than a performance to stop Bayelsa United in their tracks. I won't bank on Abia Warriors doing that.

My prediction: 2-0

El-Kanemi Warriors v Dolphins (Kano Pillars Stadium)I envisage this to be a close contest as both teams have been tight defensively in their last three matches. Obioma Arinze, Abraham Audu and Samuel Agba have been in fine form for El-Kanemi at home and Dolphins will have to defend well.

Dolphins have made three trips to the north and have lost twice and last season lost 0-2 to El-Kanemi in this fixture. I expect El-Kanemi to win this but they'll work for it.

My prediction: 1-0

Lobi Stars v Warri Wolves (Emmanuel Atongo Stadium)Both teams failed to win last week and now go head-to-head in this match day. Lobi saw their 100% home record come to end in a 1-1 draw with Sunshine Stars while Wolves lost 0-2 to Akwa United.

Wolves will head to Katsina-Ala with their squad boosted by the return of Ikechukwu Ibenegbu. I sense that Paul Aigbogun will set up his team to hit Lobi on the break. It will be a tough contest that will end in a draw.

My prediction: 1-1

Crown FC v Sunshine Stars (Lekan Salami Stadium)I expect this southwest derby to produce interesting on-field talking points. Crown have found it difficult to defeat Sunshine Stars in the premier division with their last two meetings ending with the Stars taking four points off them.

Sunshine Stars are on a run of five unbeaten games and will come into this game with their top stars in Kunle Odunlami, Solomon Kwambe, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Ikenna Hillary Paul, Tamen Medrano, Dele Olorundare and Kingsley Eduwo. Crown will surely have lots of defending to do while they hope to score at the same time.

My prediction: 1-1

•On the last match day, The Predictor came up with six correct results, including two perfect scores.

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