Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Predictor - Sharks in tough road trip

Glo Premier League table-toppers, Sharks are in for a big test this Saturday. Their credentials as one of the title contenders this season will certainly come under scrutiny in Akure.

Bottom-of-the-table club, Nembe City will aim for only their second win of the season when they play at home this Sunday.

You can catch the Dolphins versus Akwa United match live on SuperSport 9 this Saturday from 5pm CAT (4pm Nigerian time).

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Kano Pillars v Nasarawa United (Kaduna Township Stadium)
Defending champions, Kano Pillars, will play the first of their three matches in Kaduna after they were banished for assault on match officials by their fans in their 1-1 draw with Heartland at home. But the interesting part is that former Pillars head coach, Mohammed Baba Ganaru, will lead second-placed Nasarawa United from the dugout.

Already Nasarawa United have been to Kaduna last month and they secured a point off Kaduna United in a scoreless draw. As much as Kano Pillars won their first match away at Gombe United in mid-week, I still fancy Ganaru's men to take a point in this game.

My prediction: 1-1

Sunshine Stars v Sharks (Akure Stadium)
League leaders, Sharks, go into this contest on a six-match unbeaten run. But I have my doubt that the Blue Angels will leave Akure unscathed as Gbenga Ogunbote and Ibrahim Ajani return to the club where they were once employees as coach and player respectively.

This season, Sunshine Stars' wins at home have been scrappy and unconvincing, and they know it. On Wednesday, Crown FC dominated them for longer spells of their southwest derby. Ogunbote surely still knows the Sunshine Stars team especially as a number of the players he managed are still present at the club. But I'll still go for the Akure Gunners to edge Sharks for the points.

My prediction: 2-1

Dolphins v Akwa United (Liberation Stadium)
This moment they're hot, the next they're cold - that is the story of Dolphins so far this season. Stanley Eguma's men are an unpredictable bunch and that they showed in mid-week by securing a point at El-Kanemi Warriors where pundits thought they'll drop all points. Now they play hosts to Akwa United, who appear to have lost their way in recent matches.

In their last two travels to Port Harcourt for this same fixture, Akwa United have failed to take points off Dolphins and lost on both occasions. I expect Dolphins to fail in their bid to win the full points in this one.

My prediction: 1-1

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Abia Warriors v Lobi Stars (Umuahia Township Stadium)
After four straight league losses, Abia Warriors finally got back to winning ways. Ladan Bosso has strengthened the Warriors playing personnel with the signing of two former Enyimba men, Osas Idehen and Nnaemeka Anyanwu.

Lobi have been poor in their road trips. They've failed to pick a single point in five away matches so far and they'll get little chance of ending that dismal run in Umuahia especially with Ladan Bosso banking on the likes of Anyanwu, Idehen, Ifeanyi Onyeali, Cletus Itodo and company to help win this contest.

My prediction: 2-0

Nembe City v El-Kanemi Warriors (Krisdera Hotel Stadium)
City head coach, Gabriel Umunna, is keen to see his side win their second match of the season and close the gap on the other teams from their bottom spot. El-Kanemi Warriors have struggled for form in their last two league games and City can capitalise on that should the Warriors take their eyes off the ball.

I expect Emmanuel Egesi, John Eze, Cyril Edum, Obinna Amakor and Musa Newman to star in Umunna's match day squad. Kola Awe is still a doubt for City due to a hamstring injury but I don't think that should stop them from taking all points against El-Kanemi.

My prediction: 1-0

Giwa FC v Gombe United (Rwang Pam Stadium)
Fourteenth-placed Giwa FC will play hosts to Gombe United in 15th position. Giwa FC have suffered three straight losses at Sharks, Sunshine Stars and Heartland and their players and coaches have seen their wages and allowances slashed by half for surrendering nine points on a stretch.

Gombe United will rue the missed chance of playing themselves into the top half of the table after suffering a home defeat to Kano Pillars in mid-week just after they came off a 6-0 win over Nembe City. Giwa are still without a substantive coach a month after Abdullahi Biffo, now with Kogi United, left but I know they've got the like of Charles Okoro, Nojeem Raji, Christian Madu, Chris Madaki, Charles Henlong and Amos Gyang Dadung to lift the team.

My prediction: 3-1

Enugu Rangers v Crown FC (Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium)
Rangers find themselves in a strange position in the log - in the bottom-four. Defensively they've shipped in six goals in their last two games but I'll still not write them off going into this match.

Crown FC are the ones who have lots of work to do ahead of this match considering their away form guide since the start of the season which leaves much to be desired. Now I'm wondering how they will manage defensively with Rangers head coach, John Obuh surely going to field Ejike Uzoenyi, Osaguona Ighodaro, Ugonna Uzochukwu, Chisom Egbuchulam and even Christian Obiozor who has played more often from the bench this season.

My prediction: 2-0

FC Taraba v Bayelsa United (Jolly Nyame Stadium)
Bayelsa United go into this match still having two outstanding games to play but they will now be worried after surprisingly losing 3-1 at home to one of the new boys, Abia Warriors. I'm sure FC Taraba, one of the newcomers in the premier division, can also borrow a leaf from Abia Warriors' feat.

If Bayelsa United really want to have their tails up, then they'll have to break the backline of FC Taraba led by big centre-backs, Kelvin Njoku and Obinna Nwokolo. That will be quite a job for Bayelsa United as FC Taraba have conceded only twice in their last five matches.

My prediction: 1-0

Enyimba v Kaduna United (Enyimba Stadium)
It is the worst start to a season by Enyimba in the last 10 years - they occupy 13th position, have scored 10 goals and conceded the same number of goals, and have won four out of their 12 matches. But Enyimba faithful can take solace in the fact that Kaduna United have been dismal on the road in the past two years in the league.

Straight off I won't blink by handing Enyimba the full points even before the ball is kicked. Zachary Baraje and his men are condemned to win this match after suffering a 3-1 defeat at Nasarawa United.

My prediction: 2-0

Warri Wolves v Heartland (Warri City Stadium)
This is my pick of the match day. Heartland have gone eight matches unbeaten and Wolves now stand in their way of making it nine. Wolves have found Heartland difficult to play against in more than four years and have not won a league game against the Naze Millionaires in those period.

The last three meetings of this same fixture have ended in draws. Heartland have now turned the corner and I believe they will get a point out of this match.

My prediction: 0-0

•The Predictor could only manage four correct results without any perfect score(s).

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