Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Predictor previews the northern derby

It is the big derby in the north as Glo Premier League champions, Kano Pillars, go up against Kaduna United. The two clubs have become the big two in the north in recent years.

My eyes are also fixed down south where there will be intriguing clashes in Omoku, Owerri and Port Harcourt.

The Crown FC - Warri Wolves match is live on SuperSport 9 this Wednesday from 5pm (4pm Nigerian time).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Kaduna United v Kano Pillars (Kaduna Township Stadium)
Kano Pillars have made six trips to Kaduna in the past seven years and have taken just three points from those travels. Last season, Tijjani Adamu's goal put Pillars to the sword in this same fixture. But Adamu has since moved southwards to join Dolphins.

Okey Emordi has picked the last two match day  squads without big names like Gambo Mohammed, Kabiru Umar, Nafizi Ammani and Kingsley Udoh. Interestingly Rabiu Ali has scored in Pillars' last two matches and they've won. I'll expect the Crocodiles to try and find a way to shut down Ali which I doubt they'll do.

My prediction: 1-2

El-Kanemi Warriors v Enyimba (Kano Pillars Stadium)
Last season, Enyimba crumbled two-nil in this same match with Mike Simon and Abraham Audu scoring for Warriors. This match do have an interesting dimension to it. Enyimba head coach, Zachary Baraje faces the club he managed last season and his El-Kanemi counterpart, Salisu Yusuf also go up against his former team.

And Sani Kaita, now with Enyimba, returns to Kano where he is a cult hero having played for Pillars in 2004 and 2005. I really do expect the stadium to be packed on account of Kaita's return to Kano but that won't stop El-Kanemi from giving the People's Elephant some good contest.

My prediction: 1-0

Bayelsa United v Akwa United (Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium)
Akwa United players won't forget in a hurry how they lost 1-4 in this same match with Jafar Buhari netting twice. Both teams come into this match with form guides that won't interest their fans as they'll hope that their clubs get back to winning ways.

Nnamso Edo and Godspower Aniefiok, both of Akwa United are doubts for this game due to injuries. I just think Bayelsa United might benefit from the injury troubles of Akwa United to get the points in this clash.

My prediction: 3-1

Lobi Stars v FC Taraba (Emmanuel Atongo Stadium)
This is the first time both clubs will meet in the premier division. For the second time this season, FC Taraba avoided defeat in two successive games and I'm sure Lobi will find out how strong Ndubuisi Nduka's men are as a defensive unit.

Luter Iyorhe is fit again and is in the FC Taraba squad for this match after spending about 45 days on the sideline. He is now in line to face his former club, Lobi who I'm backing to claim the full points from this match.

My prediction: 1-0

Crown FC v Warri Wolves (Lekan Salami Stadium)

The last time these two teams met in this same fixture in the top flight was four years ago and that meeting ended one apiece. This time, I'm sure Crown will be wary of Gbolahan Salami returning to Ibadan with Wolves.

If Crown are bothered about shutting out Salami then I think they need to brace up as Oghenekaro Etebo known for his explosive play is back in the squad after trying out at Italian club, Udinese. Though I don't expect it to be an easy clash for Wolves but they are my favourites for this game.

My prediction: 0-2

Gombe United v Sunshine Stars (Pantami Stadium)

Sunshine Stars collapsed to two second half goals from Babangida I. Shuaibu in this same game last season but this time they've been a different side on the road though they were disappointing at Crown and then at home to Sharks in my book.

Gombe United have lost their last two matches and I sense they'll be really fired up for this clash. I think Sunshine Stars will drop all points in this game as players' morale is at a low following the slash in their wages.

My prediction: 2-0

Nasarawa United v Giwa FC (Lafia Township Stadium)

Before the start of the season I didn't envisage that the Solid Miners will at some point occupy second place. But Baba Ganaru is proving himself in Lafia and I'm sure he will sing it into the ears of his players how important this clash is to their continental ambition.

But I won't expect Giwa FC to bend over and get clobbered. Christian Madu was with Nasarawa United last season and will give his Giwa FC teammates a few tips about the Solid Miners. Whatever those tips are I'll still back Ganaru's men to win though they'll be made to work hard for it.

My prediction: 1-0

Nembe City v Dolphins (Krisdera Hotel Stadium)

This is the third meeting in the premier division and Dolphins are yet to lose in the top flight against City. Last season, both sides played out a scoreless draw in this same fixture.

Nembe City are still deep in bottom spot on the log and will be eyeing a third home win on the spin. I know this is going to be a tough contest for City as a win for Dolphins will help close in on the leaders. I think Nembe City and Dolphins will share the points.

My prediction: 0-0

Heartland v Abia Warriors (Dan Anyiam Stadium)

This is a southeast derby which a lot of people refer to as the Oriental Derby. A few will refer to it as the Biafra Derby since the cities of Owerri and Umuahia, which are home to Heartland and Abia Warriors respectively, were capitals of Biafra at different times during the civil war.

But all that history will be put aside by both clubs as they clash for the first time in the Glo Premier League. Heartland have already won two of their meetings with other southeast opponents (Enyimba and Rangers) and are top of the Oriental mini-league table. But I'm expecting Abia Warriors will make it a difficult game though Heartland should edge this.

My prediction: 1-0

Sharks v Enugu Rangers (Sharks Stadium)

Rangers surrendered all points in this same contest last season in enemy territory. This season Sharks have been in superb form and are also top of the league including being on a seven-game unbeaten run going into this match.

Christian Pyagbara, Kelly Kester, Ibrahim Ajani, Ezekiel Nathaniel, Ifeanyi Inyam and Frederick Obomate are among the key men for the Blue Angels so far. Rangers have Super Eagles stars, Ejike Uzoenyi, Ugonna and Christian Obiozor but that shouldn't stop Sharks from winning this.

My prediction: 2-1

•The Predictor got six correct results including three perfect score(s) in the previous match day.

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