As we approach the home stretch of this season’s Nigerian Professional Football League, we take a look at the fixtures of the penultimate weekend of 2014 season with a number of potential banana skins for a number of title chasing teams.
BAYELSA UNITED VS LOBI STARS
Two late goals from Terkai Melai and Audu Seriki condemned the team from Yenagoa to defeat in the first leg of this fixture. So, as Bayelsa United fight to beat the drop, expect them to come all out against the Domimnic Iorfa-led team and get all maximum points in their adopted home of Benin.
Week 17 Result; Lobi Stars 2-0 Bayelsa United (Terkaa Melai pk, Audu Seriki)
AKWA UNITED VS HEARTLAND
Just one point separate these two sides from themselves on the league table. Akwa united are 12th on the table with 51 points as their visitors from Owerri are 9th on the log with a point haul of 52. Even though the ‘Promise Keepers’ players are not really motivated for this match,as they are owed salaries of several months, they will still want to maintain their near perfect home record having not lost in Uyo this season. Heartland have not been too impressive in their last two outings because they were only able to pick two points from a possible six and they would want to leave the Uyo township Stadium with at least a point.
Week 17 Result; Heartland 1-0 Akwa united (Bright Ejike pk)
FC TARABA VS CROWN FC
FC Taraba are not totally safe from relegation worries and as such cannot shout hurray just yet. But playing an already relegated Crown fc at home, one should expect them to continue from where they stopped in Owerri last week as they picked a vital point on the road.
Week 17 Result; Crown FC 2-0 FC Taraba (Bode Daniel, Nedum Francis)
ABIA WARRIOIRS VS SHARKS FC
Ladan Bosso’s quest to get a continental slot hinges on this match as his team is four points away from that spot. After picking their third away victory in week 36. they will definitely come out guns-blazing as they seek all three points against the hapless Sharks FC from Port harcourt. The Gbenga Ogunbote tutored side are not really motivated for this trip as they threatened not to honour this tie as they demanded all outstanding fees to be paid before they would travel. The Ochendo Boys might just be warming themselves to another three points.
Week 17 Result; Sharks 2-1 Abia Warriors (Christian Pyagbara, Tayo Fabiyi; Peter Onyekachi)
WARRI WOLVES VS GOMBE UNITED
Another crunchy encounter in this week’s fixtures. Paul Aigbogun has done tremendously well for the Warri Sea-siders as they are also in contention for the title if results from other centres go their way in the remaining two fixtures. But they will have to settle out Gombe United who on their own part are also struggling to remain in the Elite league. Much will be expected from the Wolves of Warri as they continue to push for the title and the Desert Scorpions seek points that will guarantee their status in the premier league division.
Week 17 Result; Gombe United 1-1 Warri Wolves (Simon Timothy; Stanley Dimgba
RANGERS VS NASARAWA UNITED
Another crunchy encounter between these two sides. Nasarawa United still have a slim chance of picking the title and it will be a massive improvement for the side that struggled last season to beat the drop. Anyhow you look at it, it will be all gain for Mohammed Baba Ganaru side as they will fight well against the Coal City boys for the three maximum points.
Week 17 result; Nasarawa United 2-0 Rangers (Esosa Igbinoba, Tony Edjomariegwe)
SUNSHINE STARS VS KADUNA UNITED
Not much is in this fixture as Kaduna United are already confirmed to play their next season football in the second tier of Nigerian Football (NNL). For the Akure Gunners, it is more of picking up the three points and finishing as high as possible on the league table.
Week 17 Result; Kaduna United 2-0 Sunshine Stars (Isa Aminu pk, Anthony Michael)
GIWA FC VS ELKANEMI WARRIORS
After losing three valuable points against Nasarawa United on thursday (as they were walked over in Abuja), the league debutantes will want to make up for lost points against a team also struggling to stay up. A draw might not be too far from this fixture as both teams will want to maintain status quo in the premier league.
Week 17 Result; Elkanemi Warriors 2-0 Giwa Fc (Idris Aloma, Anayor Emmanuel pk)
KANO PILLARS VS NEMBE CITY
Top versus Bottom is the best way to describe this fixture. Nembe were confirmed for relegation some weeks ago and might want to play spoilers for Kano Pillars who are seeking their third consecutive title in the league. Kano pillars should brush aside the hapless team from Bayelsa as their fire power up front in the likes of Adamu Hassan and Rabiu Ali should dislodge them easily. Don’t be too surprised if it ends in a high scoring margin for the Sai Masu Gida side.
Week 17 Results; Nembe City 1-1 Kano Pillars (Collins Koute; Rabiu Ali)
DOLPHINS FC VS ENYIMBA INT’L
A fixture that pits two top goal scorers against each other, Emem Eduok vs Mfon Udoh. Both players are fighting to get the gong for the top scorer with their 20 goals each and also in line to break the record for most goals scored in a single season by a player in the premier league set by Jude Aneke in 2011 with 20goals for Kaduna United, but this fixture has been blighted by reports from Port Harcourt suggesting that the homers were not willing to play this match until all their outstanding debt has been paid.
A rehearsal of some sort for the Federations cup Final as these two side lock horns on the 23rd of November. Enyimba will want to pick maximum points as they know anything short of this will shred their title hopes in tatters. Hopefully, we expect to see the best of football from both teams as they play enterprising and attacking brand of football.
Week 17 Result; Enyimba 1-0 Dolphins FC (Mfon Udoh)