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NPFL Matchday 10 Previews: Akwa United desperate to break FC Ifeanyi Ubah jinx

14:49 GMT+3 20/02/2019
Akwa United
The Promise Keepers will go in search of their first win over the Anambra Warriors among other exciting fixtures in the topflight at midweek

ENUGU RANGERS VS WIKKI TOURISTS

Enugu Rangers will be playing only their fourth game of the season against Wikki Tourists on Wednesday due to their involvement in the Caf Confederation Cup where they are top of Group B with four points ahead of CS Sfaxien, Etoile du Sahel and Salitas.

They host the Giant Elephant in their third home game at the Nnamdi Azikiwe, Enugu where they have won their previous two games against Niger Tornadoes and Enyimba. They are poised to secure their third victory of the season based on their exploits in the Caf Confederation Cup.

The Flying Antelopes are at the wrong end of the table at 11th spot with six points from three matches but their fans need not to worry as they still have six games at hand on the most of other teams.

Wikki Tourists are yet to gain any point from their three away trips. They need to get a few because of the loss they had suffered at home against Sunshine Stars in one of their recent games. They are sixth in the Group A top-flight with nine points from seven games but a loss could see them tumble in the league table.  

 

BENDEL INSURANCE VS RIVERS UNITED

Bendel Insurance will go in search of their second win of the season against Rivers United at the UNIBEN Sports Complex, Ogbowo.

Insurance beat Lobi Stars 1-0 to get their first maximum points of the season at home and drew the other against Kwara United also in Benin. They have been awesome in their away games where they have captured three points in Sagamu, Minna and Akure against Remo Stars, Niger Tornadoes and Sunshine Stars in that order.

The Edo Arsenal have done well judging by the fact that they have just returned to the elite division for the first time in 11 years. If they play against Pride of Rivers without respect they could earn their second win of the season. They are currently ninth in the Group A table with seven points from seven games but they have played five of the fixtures away.

Rivers United have not played any league game since their Matchday Seven goalless home draw against Kwara United. Their next two games after the home draw against Lobi Stars and Enugu Rangers were rescheduled because of their opponents’ participation in the Caf inter-club competitions.

The Pride of Rivers should be highly motivated to go all out against Bendel Insurance after rested well enough. Stanley Eguma’s men’s form has been fairly alright away with only one loss from three games. They must work on their blunt attack if they are to get the expected result in Benin. They are fifth in the league table with nine points from six games.  

                                            

LOBI STARS VS REMO STARS

Lobi Stars have two important games on Wednesday and Saturday against Remo Stars and Mamelodi Sundowns with the latter very crucial to their further progression in the Caf Champions League.

The fact that they are last in the Group A league table with four points from three games should be a sign for worry for the reigning league champions and they will need the three points against the Sky Blue Stars to cushion the effect while they must avoid a defeat at least in Pretoria on Saturday to still be in contention for a quarter-final ticket.

They started the season brightly with their emphatic home win over Kwara United and the draw in Aba against Enyimba but they suffered a surprise loss to Bendel Insurance in Benin. The Pride of Benue need the win over Kennedy Boboye’s men to serve a lift ahead of their trip to South Africa.

Remo Stars returned to winning ways against Kwara United in their last game after three consecutive losses. They are presently eighth in the league table with eight points from eight matches.    

 

KWARA UNITED VS NIGER TORNADOES

Kwara United will hope to go for the three points when they host Niger Tornadoes in their fourth home game of the season.

The Harmony Boys were beaten 2-1 by Remo Stars in their last away game for their third defeat of the campaign. A home win could see them leap to the top five. They are presently seventh with nine points from eight games.

Despite the change of the head coach, Tornadoes problems still persist and they will go in search of their second win of the season against Kwara United in Ilorin.

The Ikon Allah Boys put a brave resistance against MFM in Lagos in their last away game and were unlucky to lose after leading 2-0 at some stages in the game. It was thought that they would rise from that good performance to beat Enyimba in Minna but they could only manage a goalless draw. The Hamza Abara’s men are 10th in the Group A table with seven points from nine matches.    

 

ENYIMBA VS KATSINA UNITED

Enyimba finally secured their first away point of the season last midweek when they drew goalless to Niger Tornadoes in Minna and they have a testy home fixture against Katsina United in Aba.

Usman Abdallah’s men will be seeking to extend their unbeaten run to three games when they trade tackles with the Changi Boys with Abdullahi Biffo at the saddle. This fixture has not produced a draw since 2017 when Katsina United played in the top-flight for the first time and Enyimba will hope to make it another home win just like it was in previous two encounters before their fans.

The People’s Elephant are third in Group A with 11 points from eight games but another three points could see them displace Sunshine Stars in the second spot with the Owena Whales in the battle of their lives in Lagos against table toppers, MFM.

Katsina United have been awful in their away games but they have turned their home ground- Muhammadu Dikko Stadium to a fortress.

They need away points too to be taken seriously as being among the big clubs in the elite division. They are fourth in the top-flight Group A with nine points from five games.   

 

 

NASARAWA UNITED VS YOBE DESERT STARS

It is the battle of two struggling teams in Lafia when Nasarawa United host troubled Yobe Desert Stars on Wednesday.

The Solid Miners have relied heavily on their home games for the points they have garnered this season before they broke the jinx with the draw they picked in Omoku against GO Round in their last game. They have an opportunity to make it four points from two games if they are able to beat Yobe Desert Stars who presently have their head coach, Ngozi Elechi bedridden at a hospital as a result of a road crash he was involved in on Tuesday in Akwanga area of Nasarawa State on his way to Lafia for the midweek game.

Bala Nikyu and his boys won’t have any excuse not winning this fixture. Nasarawa United are ninth in Group B with 10 points from nine games.

Things are not going according to plan for Yobe Desert Stars. The technical crew and the players have been given a riot act to win their next three games while their head coach, Elechi is presently hospitalized. The tactician also lost his mother, Evelyn Elechi, 90, in death on Sunday. The Damaturu side are 11th in the league table with seven points from seven games and they are without a win in their last four matches.  

 

GOMBE UNITED VS GO ROUND

Gombe United laboured to a 1-1 draw against Heartland in Okigwe for their second away draw of the season and they will be at home to GO Round on Wednesday at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe.

The Savannah Scorpions followed up their 5-2 mauling of Nasarawa United with the draw they got against the Naze Millionaires to become the first time they would be scoring in two successive games. They could make it three if they are able to score before their fans against Willy Udube’s men.

Ladan Bosso has selected players with experience and youth and they have worked very well to ensure that they recapture the two points they lost at home in their goalless draw with Plateau United with the two away points they have thus far. They are meeting for the first time in the top-flight and Gombe United should nick this to claim a bragging right over the team from Omoku.

Gombe United have nine points from eight games to be placed 10th in the Group B league table.

GO Round will strive to reclaim the points they lost at home to Nasarawa United when they face Gombe United.

They have performed beyond expectations in the group they were expected to struggle. They could have been more comfortable in the league table than their present fifth with 12 points from nine games had they won all the five games they have played at home. They must avoid a defeat in Gombe if they do not want to be plunged into the relegation zone.    

 

PLATEAU UNITED VS KADA CITY

Plateau United will welcome the return of their head coach, Abdu Maikaba back to the dugout when they face Kada City in a league tie for the second time before their fans this season in Jos.

The Peace Boys’ fans rioted after they were held to a goalless draw by FC Ifeanyi Ubah who had their goalkeeper, Chinedu Anozie in sparkling form on the day in the first game of the season and they have played their next three home matches in Ilorin and Lafia respectively. They have the caveat of returning home with their tie with their neighbours, Kada City but they are now vulnerable to losing three points from their haul if their fans foment trouble again at any time in the league this season.

Plateau United won the league title two seasons ago and they were expected to campaign for the title once more with the calibre of coach they have brought to replace Kennedy Boboye and the players they have acquired in the transfer market. They have however disappointed and are desirous of the three points to steer clear of the relegation zone. Plateau United are eighth with 11 points from nine games.

Kada City are gradually losing steam and are in line to make a return to the lower league at the end of the season if the rumoured takeover of the Kaduna side by Delta Force is not confirmed before then.

With only seven points from seven games, it will be difficult for Usman Adams led side to stage any comeback in only their debut season in the top-flight as they are placed at the bottom of Group B. They ended their barren spell at away games with the goalless draw they got against GO Round in Omoku but their home loss to FC Ifeanyi Ubah meant they must still work hard to close up the lost home points.

 

KANO PILLARS VS ABIA WARRIORS

Kano Pillars will now dedicate their home game against Abia Warriors to the memory of Chinedu Udoji after the much-publicized friendly game organized for the late defender on Tuesday in Kano was cancelled at the last meeting to allow the Umuahia side have the mandatory training session ahead of the tie.

Pillars have dominated this tie and have only lost just once to Henry Makinwa’s men from five past games. Sai Masu Gida will be targeting their fourth win from six encounters when they both file out at the Kano Pillars Stadium, Sabon Gari on Wednesday. Pillars will be eager to return to winning ways after their disappointing 2-1 loss to GO Round in their last away tie. They did whip Yobe Desert Stars 3-1 two weeks ago in their last league game they will need to go for the maximum points to improve their league spot.

Ibrahim Musa’s men are sixth in the Group B league table with 11 points from eight matches.

Abia Warriors played the game of their lives in their last fixture against Akwa United but they met the Promise Keepers in imperious form and had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

They have lost more grounds in the league table just like last season with seven points already lost at home from the one loss and two draws they have played against Go Round (2-1), Gombe United (0-0) and Akwa United (1-1). They must strive to secure their first ever points in Kano on Wednesday and thus boost their recent resurgence. They are seventh in the league table with 11 points from eight matches.   

 

AKWA UNITED VS FC IFEANYI UBAH

Akwa United will square up against FC Ifeanyi Ubah at the Nest of Champions Stadium, Uyo with their sights on their first win over the Anambra Warriors in three seasons.

The Promise Keepers have lost twice to the Nnewi side after their 2-0 victory in 2016 and they will be eager to do better than they did when they last met in Uyo in 2017 when FC Ifeanyi Ubah ran away with a 1-1 draw. Abdu Maikaba inspired Promise Keepers did exert their revenge on the Anambra Warriors last season in the only fixture they met with a 1-1 draw in Nnewi but a home win on Wednesday will no doubt gladden the hearts of Rafael Everton and his men.

Akwa United are unbeaten in their last four games after their initial slow start to the season and they are presently fourth in the league table with 12 points from eight games. A home win could see them move into the top three with El Kanemi Warriors and Heartland who are second and third in the league table expected to cancel out themselves in a tough duel in Maiduguri.

FC Ifeanyi Ubah opened up a three-point gap between them and second-placed El Kanemi but the gap could be bridged if the Borno Army pick the maximum points again just like it has been in their last four home matches.

The Anambra Warriors have had a good season thus far and a draw on a ground they are yet to lose since 2017 it won’t be a stroll in the park for Akwa United to get their desired results. The Nnewi side are at the top of Group B with 18 points from nine matches.

 

EL KANEMI WARRIORS VS HEARTLAND

El Kanemi Warriors seemed to be content with their opening day surprise away win against Akwa United in Uyo as they have lost all the away games they have played after the feat against the Promise Keepers as they have only relied on their home invincibility after then.

The Borno Army have been irrepressible at the El Kanemi Sports Complex, Maiduguri with four wins out of four and they will tackle Heartland who are yet to win a game in the last three will have a tough time curtailing Bello Kofarmata and his teammates from wreaking havoc on Wednesday. The home team also know that a win will take their points to 18 which could be the same as FC Ifeanyi Ubah if they fail to pick any point in Uyo.

Heartland are fast losing the grip after their bright start to the season and they could see themselves sliding down further if they allow the Borno Army to pip them to the points again. The Naze Millionaires managed to grab a point off El Kanemi in Maiduguri in 2015 but have lost on their last two visits to the place. It was even a 3-0 drubbing last season in favour of Mohammed Babaganaru’s men.

Mehmet Tayfun’s men must gird their loins and aspire to regain their sharpness in Maiduguri after their last two home draws against FC Ifeanyi Ubah and Gombe United.but their undoing will be their leaky defence where they have only kept clean-sheets on three occasions only from nine games. It will be another futile effort if they do not work on it.

The Naze Millionaires are currently third in the league table in Group B with 14 points from nine matches.