After months of postponement, 2021/2022 Nigeria Professional Football League kicks off this Friday with MFM FC versus Remo Stars while the rest of the matchday one will go live on Sunday across match venues
Lobi Stars v Rivers United
Lobi Stars host Rivers United this Sunday at the Aper Aku Stadium in one of the opening matches of the 2021/2022 Nigeria Professional Football League season as both teams will aim to win their first match of the season.
Former Nigeria international and UEFA pro licence coach Eddy Lord Dumbraye has been busy during the offseason transfer window after sealing a move to join the Makurdi giants as technical adviser all the way from Ukraine and loosing two of their regulars to Rivers United during the offseason transfer window, they can still make some good impact during the encounter this weekend.
Rivers United have been putting some finishing touches to prepare for this battle after loosing in the second preliminary round of CAF Confederation to Al Masry in Suez, also the coming of Uche Owuosannaya from Plateau United and Ebube Duru from Lobi Stars respectively, the team is expected to pull the plug this season.
Prediction: Lobi Stars 2-1 Rivers United
Akwa United v Kano Pillars
This two teams will kick off the season where they left off last season with Akwa United but this time Kano Pillar will be the guest of the Nigerian champions at the Nest of Champions Stadium, Uyo.
The tense encounter for supremacy in the Nigeria top flight will see these two teams square again.
Last season encounter resulted in pitch invasion by Kano Pillars fans after a goalless first 45 minutes, drama ensued in the closing stages of the match after Kano Pillars had the ball in the back of the net, only for the referee to deem the effort offside.
The late goal ruled out by the hosts was followed by fans invading the pitch in the complaint, and match officials and the Promise Keepers were forced to flee the dressing rooms for safety.
Prediction: Akwa United 1-0 Kano Pillars
Enyimba v Abia Warriors
This is one of the biggest derby in Nigeria domestic league as both teams don’t give room for nonsense anywhere and anytime they meet in the oriental derby.
Stranded outside the CAF Confederation Cup second preliminary round but with a win over Al Ahly Benghazi at home and with a game at ahand, the Aba elephant will approach the encounter against Abia Warriors with the hope of continuing their dominance over their rivals, after making it double figure which resulted in replay match in Okigwe stadium.
The coming of former Real Mallorca and AFC Ajax Amsterdam winger Finidi George as the club technical adviser has shown a lot of prospects in the team as they have managed to keep their regulars.
Abia Warriors will be hoping to kick start their campaign on a flying start after they are almost relegated to the second division, Imama Amakpabo magic wind do the magic for the Umuahia warlords.
Prediction: Enyimba 2-1 Abia Warriors
Niger Tornadoes V Plateau United
This encounter will be a repeat of the 2016 matchday one after both teams secured their promotion back to the NPFL, but this time, the Ikon Allah boys are newcomers after spending two seasons in the second division.
Plateau United transfer signing this season has been on a silent mode, Rueben Bala from Enyimba, Suraju Aiyeleso signed from Kano Pillars after winning the 2019 Aiteo Cup against Niger Tornadoes and the coming of youngest coaches in the NPFL Fidelis Ilechuckwu and former manager Niger Tornadoes Hamza Abara the entire squad is expected to give a good account of themselves.
On the other hand, Niger Tornadoes recruitment is more of a classical methodology as Abubakar Bala will rely on Destiny Ashadi, Abiodun “Agbara” Adebayo from Enyimba during the off-season transfer window.
Notable key players who have shown loyalty to coach Abubakar Bala will also be kept to their rise to their game when they face Plateau United on Sunday at the Ilorin Township Stadium which has been approved by the League Management Company.
Prediction : Niger Tornadoes 1-1 Plateau United
MFM FC v Remo Stars
This is the southwest derby of the season as both teams square it out at the newly refurbish Mobolaji Johnson Stadium (Onikan Stadium), which will see the stadium host an NPFL game after so many years.
MFM FC is regarded as one of the modest clubs when it comes to recruiting players and likewise Remo Stars who are also one of the most organized teams in Nigeria.
The Olukoya Boys were the better the last time both teams met in 2017.
Gombe United v Shooting Stars
Both teams got a promotion to the NPFL after spending close to three seasons in the second division, Shooting Stars has relatively kept their main squad for the past three seasons, which makes it different from the rest of the clubs in both NPFL and in the second division.
Gombe United, on the other hand, has signed some notable players during the offseason transfer window with the likes Musa Najere and Eze Chidera, the savannah scorpions are arguably a team full of youngsters this season apart from Remo Stars.
Shooting Stars this season will be hoping to pull some plugs and maintain their premier league status after four seasons in the second division.
Pantami Stadium will witness a lot of firepowers when both teams square it out this Sunday.
Prediction: Gombe United 1-1 Shooting Stars
Sunshine Stars v Wikki Tourists
These two teams were almost relegated back to the second division as luck shone on them last season. Both Wikki Tourists and Sunshine Stars had to wait until the last day of the season to confirm their safety in the NPFL.
Kabiru Dogo will have to bring his wealth of experience to the Yankari Elephants as they will be hoping to start on a bright note this season, likewise, their host Sunshine Stars who are struggling to pay a huge backlog of salaries to their current and ex-players.
Wikki Tourists will be hoping to pull surprises this season with the likes of Onyeka Victor Okoro from Nasarawa United, Salomom Chigoziem arrived from Dakkada teaming up with Mohammed Galadima also Nasarawa United.
Prediction Sunshine Stars 0-2 Wikki Tourists
Katsina United v Rangers International
Katsina United knows how to go into their home matches as they are yet to loose their opening fixtures since 2016, last season match between these two sees them sharing the six points.
Rangers Internationals are regarded as underachievers, with their triumph since 2016 they are yet to make an impact. The likes Isaac Loute and Christian Madu will be expected to deliver this season. The departure of Godwin Aguda and Osas Okoro to Nasarawa United and Rivers United respectively is being felt by the flying antelopes.
Prediction: Katsina United 1-0 Rangers International
Heartland v Nasarawa United
Nasarawa United surprised many followers of the league with their outstanding performance with a string of maximum points away from home, Wikki Tourists and Adamawa United fell into their net. They suddenly lost their rhythm towards the end of the season which sees them loosing nine of their regulars to the likes of Wikki Tourists and Plateau United.
On the other hand, Heartland managed to stay afloat at the end of the season after poor performance and struggled to pay their due salaries for almost nine months which sees their manager Fidelis Ilechuckwu throw in the towel.
Prediction: Heartland 1-1 Nasarawa United
Kwara United v Dakkada
The Harmony boys won their first match last season against Plateau United at the Jos International stadium in Jos and also stay at the top league for almost 7 weeks and loosing their continental ambition in the second stanza of the 2020/2021 season, with former Kano Pillars and Simba SC of Tanzania Junior Lokosa, the Nigeria international might revive his scoring form with the harmony boys as they face Dakkada at the Ilorin Township Stadium this Sunday.
Their visitors Dakkada FC struggled last season which sees managed to maintain their premiership status and loosing some of their key players for the past two season since their promotion to the elite league.
Prediction: Kwara United 2-0 Dakkada