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NPFL Week Nine Previews: El Kanemi Warriors continue battle against relegation

12:33 SAST 2018/02/18
Enyimba vs Kano Pillars
The Borny Army sit at the base of the table and they would be doing everything possible to secure maximum points against Go Round

Heartland vs Wikki Tourists

The Naze Millionaires lost a league match away for the first time this season against FC Ifeanyi Ubah last week and it brought to an end their five matches unbeaten run. They need a win against the Giant Elephants on Sunday to appeal to their fans.

The hosts are favoured to win this tie based on the history between both teams in the last five years. Heartland have won twice in Owerri in 2013 and 2015 and have drawn three times with the Bauchi side. Two of the drawn games happened in Bauchi in August, 2015 and February 24, 2016.

Wikki have been very clinical in their adopted home at the Zaria Road Stadium, Jos where they have won four games this season but they are yet to pick a point on the road after losses against Yobe Desert Stars, Kwara United, MFM and Akwa United. They are 10th in the league table with 12 points from eight games.

Heartland on their part have not been too fantastic at home with only five points from a possible 12 acquired but they have posted close to average performances on the road with another five points in their kitty from four games. They are placed 13th in the league table with 10 points.


Katsina United v FC Ifeanyi Ubah    

Both teams have faced each other twice in the history of the Nigeria Professional Football League. The Anambra Warriors were distracted by Caf Confederation Cup participation when they were beaten 1-0 in Katsina, but the second leg was a different tale as they won 2-0.

The Chanji Boys have recovered from their opening day draw at home to Kano Pillars to pick the available nine points from their next three home fixtures. They need a home win of any magnitude if they do not want to slip into the drop zone.

The Anambra Warriors under Ladan Bosso have not started firing on all cylinders as expected having lost all their away matches in the elite division till date and have been held at home by Akwa United. 


Nasarawa United v Kwara United

Kabiru Dogo's Solid Miners will be up against the Harmony Warriors in the battle of the basement teams on Sunday at the Lafia Township Stadium. Nasarawa United have relied heavily on their home form in the opening eight games of the season.

But they have shot themselves in the foot further when they allowed Plateau United to inflict a home loss on them in the first game of the season. It was the genesis of their current spot in the league table.

The hosts must secure their fourth win of the season on Sunday if they want to leave the relegation zone while Kwara United will be thrown further into the mire of the drop zone if they are beaten in Lafia. It is no doubt a trying period for John Obuh and his boys.


Rivers United v Niger Tornadoes

Every game is now crucial for Niger Tornadoes’ coach, Erasmus Onuh and the management of the club ever since the four-match winning ultimatum imposed on them before their last home game.

They survived the first test with their win over Nasarawa United in the last game but it will be a tough call if they are to return to Lokoja with at least a draw at the end of their Sunday encounter.

It will be an exciting league game at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt but with the underwhelming performance of the home team in the league especially since last season, anything other than a convincing win on Sunday could draw questions over the relevance of Stanley Eguma as coach of the side.


Abia Warriors v Yobe Desert Stars

The Warriors must sign off on the usage of the Umuahia Township Stadium at least for the next two weeks with aplomb when they host the Mohammed Babaganaru's Yobe Desert Stars.

The League Management Company has listed the stadium among the four that have been placed on two weeks suspension because of their unsuitability.

Abia Warriors do not need such distraction at this point as they are presently placed at the wrong end of the league table (19th) spot in the league table and it has because very imperative that they beat the Damaturu side to ease their relegation zone worries.

Yobe Stars are seventh in the league log with 13 points and are untroubled by relegation talk but they will fancy their second point on the road after picking a valuable point in Owerri against Heartland.


El Kanemi Warriors v Go Round

The Borno Army are seeking their first win in six games when they host the topflight newcomers at the El Kanemi Sports Complex, Maiduguri.

They have everything available now including their coach, Imama Amapakabo who has nothing hindering him from concentrating on his job fully as from now since the end of the African Nations Championship in Morocco.

El Kanemi have really suffered from the absence of the Super Eagles’ assistant coach and their game with Go Round should mark the beginning of their steady rise in the league table where they occupy bottom place presently with only eight points .

It is the first competitive match between both teams and El Kanemi should have no problem negotiating a home win.