NPFL Week Six Previews: Enyimba, Rivers United rekindle rivalry in Aba

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Shengol Pixs
The People’s Elephant and the Pride of Rivers slug it out in Aba while the Promise Keepers tie with Go Round in some of the topflight games

MFM VS WIKKI TOURISTS                

MFM will be angling for a home win against Wikki Tourists after their away loss to Rivers United in Port Harcourt last weekend.

There was nothing much to separate both teams at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium until the Olukoya Boys skipper Austin Opara inexplicably directed the ball into his own net while trying to stop Wasiu Jimoh from scoring for the Pride of Rivers. Rivers United are riding high on top of Group A after they displaced the Olukoya Boys after another home win against Remo Stars on Wednesday and MFM must strive to secure the maximum points before praying that Stanley Eguma’s men should be beaten in Aba for them to reclaim the first spot in the group.

Wikki Tourists are still in search of their first away points after their rescheduled league home win against Bendel Insurance lifted them to fourth in the top flight in Group A with six points from four matches. They will be hoping that their search begins with a share of the spoils on Sunday although their past visits to Lagos abode of MFM indicated that it might be another futile journey.  

 

ENYIMBA VS RIVERS UNITED

Fixtures between Enyimba and Rivers United have always ended up as the Match of that week and past results have shown very close contest ahead of another blockbuster fixture at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba.

The People’s Elephant have lost the two games they have played outside Aba against Kwara United and Enugu Rangers and they have even been held at home by Lobi Stars in one of the two games they have played before their fans. Usman Abdallah’s men are under pressure to match their preseason boast with action and anything other than a win against Rivers United could mark the beginning of the crisis in the team. Enyimba are currently ninth in the group with just four points.

Rivers United visit Aba as among the three clubs in the group who are yet to suffer any defeat this season with Sunshine Stars and Lobi Stars being the other two. Having picked two draws already from their two away matches against Sunshine Stars and Niger Tornadoes, Rivers United will fancy their chances against Enyimba as they strive to extend their unbeaten streak to three away games. they are presently top of Group A with eight points from four games and only a positive result in Aba will keep them in the spot beyond this weekend.   

 

SUNSHINE STARS VS REMO STARS

Sunshine Stars surprised even themselves after they grabbed an away win against Wikki Tourists in Gombe last weekend and they will be facing Remo Stars in a South-West affair with a view to picking the three points in Akure on Sunday.

Owena Whales were among the relegation candidates last season but under Kabiru Dogo they seemed to have got their rhythm and are now doing well in the three games they have played thus far. Sunshine who are sixth in the group with five points from three matches will be in top three at the end of the weekend games if they are able to beat the Sky Blue Stars at home.

Remo Stars lost their unbeaten start to the season through a stoppage-time goal scored by Wasiu Jimoh of Rivers United last Wednesday and they know what will be the impact of a back-to-back defeat as they go into the weekend fixture with Sunshine Stars in Akure. Kennedy Boboye’s men are fifth in Group A of the NPFL with five points from four games.

 

KATSINA UNITED VS NIGER TORNADOES

Everything is back to normalcy at Katsina United after the release of their head coach, Abdullahi Biffo who was abducted for close to 20 days but was left off the hook last week.

Biffo himself resumed training on Monday and he is expected to be in the dugout when they host Niger Tornadoes at the Mohammadu Dikko Stadium, Katsina. The Chanji Boys started the season with a 1-0 win over Wikki Tourists but they were cut to size by Remo Stars who beat them 2-0 last weekend. They need the three points against the Ikon Allah Boys to reassure their fans that their impressive performance of last season was no fluke.

Tornadoes under Bernard Ogbe are under tremendous pressure to perform after they began the five-game ultimatums handed out to the technical crew with an away loss to Enugu Rangers last Wednesday. It is even more difficult that they have another away tie with Katsina United who are also struggling presently. This tie could be the beginning of the end for Ogbe and his men if they fail to pick a positive result.  

 

EL KANEMI WARRIORS VS YOBE DESERT STARS

El Kanemi Warriors still have 100 percent record at home after they defeated Kano Pillars and Nasarawa United in Maiduguri before a capacity crowd. They have another game before their fans against next door neighbours, Yobe Desert Stars.

It is a local derby and a home win will ensure that the Borno Army do not finish outside the top three in Group B at the end of the weekend game. They are third with nine points from five games.

Yobe Desert Stars recorded back-to-back home wins against Heartland and Gombe United to move to fifth with six points from three games in Group B. Ngozi Elechi’s men are up against Mohammed Babaganaru guided side and they will be out to secure their first away points of the season in the North-East local derby.

 

AKWA UNITED VS GO ROUND

So much was expected of Akwa United at the start of the season after they unveiled a new coach and also lifted the lid on the new players they have used to refresh their squad. They are still expecting their first win of the season despite playing two home games already.

It is a win or bust for the Promise keepers against Go Round at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on Sunday after they were humiliated 2-0 by Nasarawa United on Monday in a game that had been described as the team’s worst tie in about three years. They are currently last in Group B with two points from four games and they need to start turning in impressive results if they do not want to be among the relegation battlers at the end of the season.

Go Round lost the opportunity to go at least second in the league table after their failure to beat Kada City at the Krisdera Hotel Stadium, Omoku in their second consecutive home game within one week. They had beaten El Kanemi Warriors by the odd goal on Monday and against Kada City, they were expected to pip them again but they were unable to do so. They are fourth with seven points from four games.

 

KANO PILLARS VS NASARAWA UNITED

Kano Pillars began life without their talisman, Junior Lokosa with a goalless draw against Plateau United in Lafia last weekend and they host Nasarawa United on Sunday expecting their second win of the season at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano.

Sai Masu Gida are yet to hit their strides and they have not been convincing until they held the Peace Boys to a draw in Lafia for their first away point of the season. They started the season with a 1-0 home win over Heartland while their second home game against Akwa United ended in a 1-1 draw. Ibrahim Musa’s men must lift their game to hand the coach his first win of the season after he replaced Kabiru Baleria with only about three games into the current season only played.

Nasarawa United are yet to secure a point from the two games they played away from home this season. They even lost at home to Heartland to compound their woes. They showed their fans that they can actually play to their optimum after they thrashed Akwa United 2-0 on Monday. The Solid Miners are currently sixth with six points from five games in Group B.

 

GOMBE UNITED VS PLATEAU UNITED

Gombe United did the playing against Yobe Desert Stars but their profligacy in front of goal meant that they still ended up on the losing side in Damaturu. They have a home game against Plateau United who are still struggling hard to live up to the huge expectations before them.

The Desert Scorpions with Ladan Bosso in charge will have their hands full against the Peace Boys but if the visitors are unable to play to their best then anything can happen. Gombe United are ninth with four points from four matches.

Plateau United are currently seventh with six points from five matches. It is on record that they have only won one home game from three matches and they have only recorded just a point from the two games they have played away from home. They have lost four points from the two draws they got at home to FC Ifeanyi Ubah and Kano Pillars and they will no doubt love to cancel out some of them from their visit to Gombe on Sunday.   

 

HEARTLAND VS KADA CITY

Heartland were slowed down a little after their three-game winning streak was halted in Damaturu by Yobe Desert Stars and they have another chance to inform their fans that they have not lowered their guard.

The Naze Millionaires are currently second in Group B with nine points from five games and they will strive to at least hold on to the second spot with a home win against the premier league debutants in Okigwe.

Kada City grabbed their first away point of the season against Go Round after a goalless draw in Omoku on Thursday. They are up against Mehmet Tayfun’s men with a view to ensure they secure at least a draw in their bid to leave the relegation zone.  

 

FC IFEANYI UBAH VS ABIA WARRIORS

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FC Ifeanyi Ubah will seek their third home win of the season against Abia Warriors who have served as their nemesis in their previous matches either in Nnewi or in Umuahia.

The Anambra Warriors will need an outright win against the Warriors to be guaranteed top spot in Group B beyond this weekend. They have surprised all having played five games without conceding a goal both home and away. They are first with 11 points from five games and could make the gap wider if they are able to beat Abia Warriors.

Abia Warriors have only four points from four games and Henry Makinwa’s men know what is at stake against their Oriental brothers in the event of an away loss. With the home draw received in their last home game against Gombe United still at the back of their mind, Abia Warriors will pray that their latest visit produces a similar result like that of previous seasons.   

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