By Andah John
We are back again; this time, for Match Day 5 of the Nigeria Professional Football League.
Ensure you stick with Concise News for all the happenings across the ten match venues today as Oladapo Okeowo and yours sincerely will have them served hot and fresh.
In the meantime, let’s have a look at some of this weekend’s matches.
But before I go into those games, have you started separating the contenders from the pretenders and possibly the decenders? Don’t worry if you haven’t. Our team of analysts will do justice to that in the coming week. Now let’s talk today’s games.
I will be reporting for Concise News from the Agege stadium (now fondly called The Temple) when Lagos side Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) tackle star-studded Kano Pillars.
This fixture ended one goal apiece in March last season. That was the first time the Olukoya Boys dropped points at home in Nigeria’s elite league. And coach Fidelis Ilechukwu will definitely seek an improved result this time.
MFM have been imperious at home so far this season. And going into this game, they have confidence glued to them.
The Lagos club were headed for a famous win in Ibadan in Wednesday’s Southwest derby against Shooting Stars before Abayomi Adebayo converted a spot kick at the death to salvage a point for the Oluyole Warriors.
And against the Sai Masugida, who have yet to pick a point on the road this season, the Agege-based side should fancy their chances.
Those who will be key for them include Stanley Okorom, Sikiru Olatunbosun, and Adegboyega Adekunle. But against the four-time Nigerian champions, the Lagos side should be wary, still.
Kano Pillars have already lost twice on the road this season. Their most recent collapse was recorded just last Wednesday at neighbouring Akure against Sunshine Stars. And veteran coach Kadiri Ikhana knows his side have their work cut out for them against a rampant MFM side at home.
If you are a faithful of Kano Pillars, you have every reason to be worried as the Pyramid side have lost their last 11 games on the road. The last time they picked a point on their travels was on 22 May, 2016, at Plateau United. And when last did the Kano club win on the road? Cast your mind back to May in 2016 when they humbled Sunshine Stars 1-0 in Akure.
Having said that, Pillars have the quality and experience to halt and hurt MFM at home. With the likes of Gambo Mohammed and midfield enforcer Rabiu Ali, MFM may not have an easy ride.
Another game to look out for is that involving Wikki Tourists and Ifeanyiubah.
The Tourists are struggling. After four rounds of matches, they find themselves drowning in the relegation waters with four points.
And come to think of it, the last time the Bauchi club got relegated (in 2013), they picked only four points from their opening four games. For the records, this is their worst start to a season since then. So, is this a sign of what to expect at the end of the season?
Anyway, there are 34 games for Mohammed Baba Ganaru to turn things around for the Giant Elephant. One of those is against the Anambra Warriors, who like Pillars, have a squad attached to quality. Expect a close game at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa stadium.
MFM FC vs Kano Pillars FC
ABS FC vs Shooting Stars FC
Rivers United FC vs Lobi Stars FC
Wikki Tourists FC vs FC Ifeanyiubah
Rangers Int’l FC vs Niger Tornadoes FC
Katsina United FC vs Akwa United FC
Remo Stars FC. vs El-Kanemi Warriors FC
Enyimba Int’l FC vs Nasarawa United FC
Plateau United FC vs Abia Warriors FC
Gombe United FC vs Sunshine Stars FC