NPFL predictions: The Predictor vs Akarandut Orok

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Things are taking shape gradually in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) as it drags into Matchweek 8. Last matchday produced interesting set of outcomes including all of 10 away teams failing to score.

The big game this gameweek is the Oriental Derby in Nnewi between FC Ifeanyiubah and Heartland as three of last season’s top-four will be busy with CAF club competition games in the qualifying round. So title holders Plateau United, MFM FC and Akwa United are off to the continent while Enyimba were granted a bye in the CAF Confederation Cup.

This matchweek, Bahrain-based striker Akarandut Orok who emerged top scorer in the NPFL with 17 goals in 2009 while with Akwa United. That year he equalled Ishaya Jatau’s long-standing record of 17 goals in a season in 1990.

The East Riffa FC forward has won the Bahrain League and Super Cup but that will not count when he faces The Predictor in this matchday. He will put to one side his shooting, or goalscoring, skills and take up forecasting duties.

SUNDAY

FC IFEANYIUBAH vs HEARTLAND

This is the first Oriental Derby for FC Ifeanyiubah but the third for Heartland who surprisingly are the only club yet to lose a game on the road this. Interestingly they suffered a 1-0 defeat at home in their first involvement in the ever-expanding Oriental Derby to Enugu Rangers.

FC Ifeanyiubah start the matchday in the bottom-four after failing to win in their last four games, compared to their rivals Heartland who won in midweek at Niger Tornadoes. Akarandut feels Heartland can continue their unbeaten run on the road. What do I think? It will be difficult at a venue where they have not scored in their last five travels.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Akarandut’s prediction: 0-0

KWARA UNITED vs KATSINA UNITED

Kwara United are still trying to get in the groove in the top-flight and my worry for them remains their inability to score goals. This season only Stephen Alfred has accounted for their goals, and they come up against Katsina United who have seven different goalscorers and a playmaker in Destiny Ashadi who can put a pass through the eye of a needle.

Akarandut thinks John Obuh’s Kwara United will be up for this and makes a very bold call that this will be a ‘goal-fest.’ I choose to go in the other direction as I am not expecting goals by the bucket load. Katsina United have been poor on the road so I will pitch my tent for a slim Kwara United win.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Akarandut’s prediction: 4-2

NIGER TORNADOES vs NASARAWA UNITED

Five defeats in their last five matches is a rare sequence in the division but that is Tornadoes’ current streak. I can point to a fact that the absence of Solomon Owello (ankle injury) who was in the thick of things in their opening two games has been a huge loss for Erasmus Onuh’s men.

Nasarawa United, on the other hand, are picking the bits of the pieces to their poor start to the season. My guest has made a call which I quite agree but will go a step further with a reeling Tornadoes all over the place at the moment.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-2

Akarandut’s prediction: 1-1

YOBE DESERT STARS vs RIVERS UNITED

Rivers United are far from looking like a side that will contend for the title this season. All they have done is grind out wins at home and setup with the intent to get a point which has backfired in their last three travels to Plateau United, Sunshine Stars and Rangers. Despite their poor run on the road, Akarandut tips them to inflict a first home defeat on Yobe Stars.

With the like of Chinedu Ohanachom in redhot form alongside Philip Asuquo and Ali Aliyu, I think Rivers United, with how they set up on the road to just avoid defeat, will be made to work their socks off at the August 24 Stadium in Damaturu.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Akarandut’s prediction: 0-1

GO ROUND FC vs ABIA WARRIORS

Abia Warriors appear to have lost that spirit that galvanized them to a exciting start to this season. This has followed up with four games on the spin without a win. Abia Warriors are one of 10 clubs yet to pick a point on the road this term and facing Go Round on a ground where they now call ‘Lion’s Den’ looks like asking too much of Emmanuel Deutsche ‘s men.

Many will feel our former league top scorer Akarandut has made such an audacious call here. He has gone for an away win for Abia Warriors. Both clubs have identical win percentage of 29, and it looks fairly balanced for me.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-1

Akarandut’s prediction: 1-2

Photo: LMC Media

SUNSHINE STARS vs KANO PILLARS

Sunshine Stars will heave a big sigh of relief coming off a difficult previous matchday after the League Management Company (LMC) handed them a reprieve to field seven of their new signings following agreement reached on “overdue payables” to previous employers.

I feel Pillars look strong to nick this game. Junior Lokosa, Nyima Nwagua, Alassan Ibrahim, Chinedu Udoji, Nzube Anaezemba, Joel Djondang and Victor Dennis have all been in fine shape and that is why the Kano club are in the top-three. Akarandut has decided to go the other way in this one.

The Predictor’s prediction: 0-1

Akarandut’s prediction: 1-0

ENUGU RANGERS vs EL-KANEMI WARRIORS

The spotlight is on El-Kanemi head coach Imama Amapakabo (below) for this game as he makes a return to one of his old favourite locations, Enugu where he won the title with Rangers. I think the reception will not be 100 per cent warm for Amapakabo though as his former players will look to outscore his men.

Related image

On this, Akarandut agrees with that the Flying Antelopes will be too motivated to allow Amapakabo’s men time and space to take anything of this contest. This is a long shot for Amapakabo on his first official game in charge of El-Kanemi, sorry my friend.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Akarandut’s prediction: 2-0

MONDAY

WIKKI TOURISTS vs LOBI STARS

This is the second time we will have a Monday game in the division this season. The previous one had Nasarawa United thumping Yobe Stars 3-0 but this should offer a different outcome. Lobi in their last two travels this term have been disappointing but I still think they can scrape out a victory in this game.

Wikki have been a low-scoring side at their adopted New Jos Stadium home with identical 1-0 wins over Go Round, Tornadoes and FC Ifeanyiubah. The like of Samad Kadiri, Ezekiel Mbah, Solomon Kwambe, Esosa Igbinoba, Ayo Saka and Anthony Okpotu, if he is listed, can influence things for Lobi though Akarandut disagrees with me.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-2

Akarandut’s prediction: 2-1

• Last matchweek was a good outing for The Predictor who got NINE correct results including TWO exact scores (two points each) that amounted to 11 points. His guest Ayobami ‘Aywenger’ Animashaun 8 points from SEVEN correct results including TWO perfect scores.

© The Predictor

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