Time flies when you’re dealing with matches in the Nigeria Professional Football League so even though it feels like the last match week just ended, we’ve already circled back around for another week of NPFL action. With the African Cup of Nations set to kick off this weekend which will the Super Eagles of Nigeria will be slugging it out against Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Biassau.
This weekend’s schedule will witness one of the oldest rivalry come alive as both Enyimba and Shooting Stars faces each other for the first time in seven years.
Lobi Stars will try to recover from their 3-0 defeat from a rough evening against Gombe United last weekend, as they face second place Akwa United
Let’s the games begins
Enyimba FC vs. Shooting Stars | Sunday – 4:00 p.m Remo Stars Stadium complex
Arguably this is the one of the most talked-about matches in the NPFL his weekend as both Enyimba FC and Shooting Stars will go head to head this weekend at the Enyimba Arena in Aba, Shooting Stars have been steadily improving each week, reaching a pinnacle last weekend with a 1-0 win over Katsina United. This match should provide an interesting contrast and a solid test for both teams. Enyimba have been impressive since the kick of the season, with two away wins on the road, it shows Enyimba are a team to beat this season with the incoming of former Nigeria international George Finidi in the dugout they’ve been able to steal points away from home.
Remo Stars vs. Plateau United | Sunday – 4:00 p.m
At some point, we’re going to accept that Remo Stars are going to stay at the top end of the table this season but as a promoted side with 8 points from 4 from matches, but that is too early to say. There’s always going to be lingering doubts about their rather meteoric return to relevancy. They passed last week’s test against Dakkada with mostly flying colours — they probably should have won — and Plateau United will give them another solid test as they beat struggling Heartland last week, Likewise, Plateau United are gradually getting into the season, Reuben Bala was inspirational in their last home match against struggling Heartland, the former Enyimba FC provided two assists to sink the Naze Millionaire in front of Tin City-based club.
Niger Tornadoes vs. Rivers United| Saturday – 4:00 p.m. Ilorin Stadium Complex
The Ikon Allah boys started the new campaign in not good form but they’ve managed to win their first match at home and a home draw with Abia Warriors, with the biggest defeat on the road against Rangers Internationals. They will be hoping to get the job done when face 2nd placed Rivers United on Saturday. This will be their biggest test against an aggravated Rivers United side that has something to prove after the midweek draw in Akure against Sunshine Stars.
One thing Niger Tornadoes does well at the back is tackle, with the likes of Sunday Akinmoladun, Abiodun Adebayo and Ahmadu Liman all being excellent at getting the ball back. Play in transition will be a big factor in this match, given the numbers the visitors will undoubtedly send forward.
One player to look closely at is Rivers United Ishaq Kayode. With 4 goals this season and playing a lot of minutes ahead of a number of qualities attacking options, He’s been involved but not integral. United fans would love to see more from him not only in the wide spaces but also getting himself in the area and creating havoc for opposing defences. Niger Tornadoes Martins Usule will also be in action to face his former employers this Saturday.
Sunshine Stars vs. Kano Pillars| Sunday – 4:00 p.m. Dipo Dina International Stadium
Raise your hand if you thought Kano Pillars and Sunshine Stars would be sitting 16th and 20th respectively, even these early in the season. I see no hands, nor should there be any hands in the air. Neither Sunshine Stars nor Kano Pillars have done much right so far and there’s going to start being some serious pressure on Ibrahim “Jugunu” Musa who will be standing for Salisu “D Black” Yusuf very soon. A win for either side could give them a much-needed boost this season in the NPFL.
Kwara United vs. Rangers International | Saturday – 4:00 p.m. Ilorin Stadium Complex
Out of the gate, both sides have been strong—Kwara United in particular. The addition of Junior Lokosa as we’ve stated many times, is a clear call to the rest of the league that Kwara United is up for title this season a season ago is fully focused on bringing the NPFL title to Ilorin Stadium Complex for the time in the history of the club.
The arrival of Abdul Maikaba to the Coal City-based side has given the diehard fans of Flying Antelopes a lot to cheer about despite their first home loss to their rival Enyimba in matchweek 2 have hindered their progress their season, occupying the third position on the standing shows that they could up for this season.
Katsina United vs. Gombe United | Saturday – 4:00 p.m. Mohammadu Dikko Stadium
Katsina United are known to be ferocious at home, their season opener was a defeat to Rangers International for the first time season since 2016. An interesting battle here of two clubs who are in that bigger-in-scale-but-not-necessarily-in-stature category. Classically big clubs with devoted followings, large stadiums and solid reputations, this contest should be spirited, to say the least.
Trouble is, both have been pretty awful to start the season and could really, really use a result here against their relative equal. With Gombe United sitting 10th on the table after their emphatic win over Lobi Stars at the Pantami Stadium last weekend. Katsina United is one of the more disappointing club to start the campaign, particularly when you factor in that they both have a goal differential of minus-four.
Heartland vs. Wikki Tourists | 4:00 p.m | Dan Anyiam Stadium,Owerri
Wikki Tourists will be expected to bring their good home run form to the Dan Anyiam Stadium when they face struggling Heartland this weekend.
Yankari Elephants have been good at home, but they need to continue form on the road, if they want to move with the big boys on the standing, they are without a win on the road.
Heartland FC are plunges into the second half of the standing after heavy defeat at New Jos Stadium against Plateau United last weekend, which couple with unpaid backlog salaries to the players and coach Hassan Abd’Allah must overcome Wikki Tourists aggressiveness after enduring a turbulent defeat to the Naze Millionaires former Fidelis Ilechuckwu.
OTHER MATCHES TO GO LIVE THIS WEEKEND
Dakkada FC vs. Nasarawa United
MFM FC vs Abia Warriors