NPFL predictions: The Predictor vs Chibuzor Amos

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It will be a full cast of fixtures in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this Sunday with all 10 matches on offer. The season is gradually cruising to halfway and this matchweek serves up mouthwatering contests.

Former champions Enyimba, Enugu Rangers, Kano Pillars and Rivers United as well as title-holders Plateau United play on the road in matches that presents them with banana peel situation. The champions have suffered back-to-back defeats on the road due to untidy play at the back.

The Predictor talks about the way form of Plateau United: “It has not been the best like last season when they grind out result in swashbuckling style of ‘if we do not allow us score then you have no rights to breach our defence.’ Playing at FC Ifeanyiubah is another test for the champions.”

This matchweek, he takes on Chibuzor Amos, an engineer, data analyst with Opta Nigeria. Amos supports the most successful clubs in the country in Enyimba.

Amos speaks of his association with the People’s Elephant: “There is something special about the club. There is a tradition to win at Enyimba.” His prediction on Enyimba’s game at Yobe Stars will interest you.

SUNDAY

HEARTLAND vs NASARAWA UNITED

Heartland begin their post-Ramson Madu era. Madu was told to “step aside” this week, a cliche and operation now common with clubs in the country to dismiss under-performing managers. Ezekiel Onyegbulem steps in place of Madu and to be honest I am not expecting much from the Naze Millionaires this matchweek, not because of the change of guard but owing to the pressure piling on the club and the playing personnel to impress.

Nasarawa United are one of four teams yet to win a point on the road this season, but I tip them to come off this game with a result. The Solid Miners do have game-changers like Najeem Olukokun, Kabiru Balogun, Thomas Zenke and Ikechukwu Nwani. Amos, however goes for a Heartland slim win.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-1

Amos’ prediction: 2-1

LOBI STARS vs RIVERS UNITED

I find it really difficult to consider Rivers United for a result at the Aper Aku Stadium. Their last 12 visits to Lobi have all ended in defeats. Yes they got that away win at Kwara United but Lobi are table-toppers at the moment, so I believe Stanley Eguma and his men know what they are up against.

Amos already predicts a 1-0 win for the league leaders which is not out of place considering the good form of Lobi. It is clear that Lobi are favourites. Not even the absence of suspended Anthony Okpotu will deny them the full points, as they have looked strong without him as well.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Amos’ prediction: 1-0

AKWA UNITED vs ABIA WARRIORS

I expect a feisty contest at the Nest of Champions when these two sides meet. It is second-placed Akwa United versus Abia Warriors in sixth. I know this game has the potential to be a talking points with the quality and style of both teams. Ndifreke Effiong and Samson Obi, I think, will trouble Akwa who have struggled a bit in recent games in all competitions.

It will not be a stroll, or a smooth game, for Akwa who were very dominant at the start of this season. That flow about the Promise Keepers appears to have dropped, and I think that will offer Abia Warriors a leeway to go forward. But Akwa will have the last bite at the cherry. Amos calls it a tight contest which Akwa will edge.

The Predictor’s prediction: 3-2

Amos’ prediction: 2-1

WIKKI TOURISTS vs EL-KANEMI WARRIORS

Wikki will always stand a chance to score in this match. My reason? They have got pace among their front men especially Nafiu Bala Kabuga, and playing against Imama Amapakabo’s team offers that opportunity as he lays more emphasis on attacking play. El-Kanemi are on a three-game run without defeats with that Amapakabo’s style of pressing play.

So Wikki will also have a lot to think about, or be concerned with, I believe. The Bauchi club have settled in well at their temporary New Jos Stadium home ground. I think this northeast derby will end in favour of El-Kanemi though Amos gives it to Wikki.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-2

Amos’ prediction: 1-0

FC IFEANYIUBAH vs PLATEAU UNITED

Since Kennedy Boboye took charge at Plateau United I have always considered them to have one of the strong defensive unit to breach. Boboye’s ethos are clear in the way United play even if he does not spell it out – stay tight at the back, something Akwa are beginning to ape nowadays. But in their past two games, I am sure he will be worried that they have been breached via spot kicks conceded by two of his most experienced men, Dele Ajiboye and Elisha Golbe.

FC Ifeanyiubah will have to move the ball quicker than they have ever done if they want to take the full points off the champions. At the same they must be wary of the pace of Tosin Omoyele and Peter Eneji. United are always a tough proposition but Ladan Bosso’s men will do enough to claim the full points. Amos goes for a draw.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Amos’ prediction: 1-1

KWARA UNITED vs KANO PILLARS

I know Kwara United are already written off with the manner they have gone about business on the pitch so far. Amos believes that Kwara United’s struggles will continue and hands Kano Pillars the full points. I think the change of guard in coach can sway things to positive effect for Kwara United though it will not start from this match.

Junior Lokosa is no longer a stranger to Kwara United or any other side in the division now. So he will be a marked man but the former First Bank man has always found a way to get score – may be that is due to his fervour for goals. The focus on Lokosa will allow the like of Nyima Nwagua, Alassan Ibrahim and Rabiu Ali to thrive.

The Predictor’s prediction: 0-1

Amos’ prediction: 1-2

Photo: LMC Media

NIGER TORNADOES vs SUNSHINE STARS

Tornadoes have string together impressive results in their last four matches including the 1-1 draw at Pillars last time. I think Hamza Abara has done a good job since he took charge in interim capacity. He has been able to build the team into a decent unit in a short space of time and it was evident in how they made life difficult for Pillars in their 1-1 at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.

Henry Abiodun will take charge of his second game with troubled Sunshine Stars since Duke Udi was cut loose. He has branded Tornadoes “the best team in the league.” Interesting mind games at play to deflect pressure off his men. It is a Tornadoes win for Amos and I agree with him despite Abiodun’s best attempt to take the heat off his team.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Amos’ prediction: 2-0

YOBE DESERT STARS vs ENYIMBA

Amos makes quite an interesting call in this game against the club he supports. Most of the previous guests in this challenge have hardly made such predictions against the club they love to follow. This is a first as Amos believes Enyimba will suffer a one-nil defeat at Yobe Stars.

Usman Abdallah will be in charge of this game on the sidelines for Enyimba with Paul Aigbogun away with the country’s Under-20s. Aigbogun’s assistant has stepped in a few times and done well. Yobe Stars have been strong at home and will continue their 100 per cent run at home.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-1

Amos’ prediction: 1-0

GO ROUND vs ENUGU RANGERS

New boys Go Round have already claimed the scalp of big hitters like Akwa United and Plateau United and their head coach Ngozi Elechi wants Rangers added to that list. Elechi told his club’s media: “We have already mapped out how we will play against Rangers, score, then kill the game off because that has been our plan for four matches, starting from the Sunshine Stars game. We know Rangers cannot play like Plateau United.”

For me, Elechi’s makes this match sound like taking a free hit in hockey or cricket. I do not think it will be as easy the Go Round manager says but at their Krisdera Hotel Stadium they are play like the lions they call themselves. I expect Gbenga Ogunbote to set up Rangers to play tight at the back and hope to break through the pace of the like of Godwin Aguda and Bright Silas. Amos tips Go Round to win, and I agree to that.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Amos’ prediction: 1-0

MFM FC vs KATSINA UNITED

I really feel sorry for MFM faithful as their team return to domestic football after that bashing in Algeria eight days ago. Two possibilities might happen to the Lagos club from here on – a total collapse or a learning curve to recover. I do not envy Fidelis Ilechukwu at this point, as he has a huge work on his hands to restore the confidence levels of his playing personnel.

However Amos believes the Olukoya Boys will shake off that Algerian episode to win this contest. I also think Katsina United are a different team under Abdullahi Biffo as they can opt to go toe to toe in possession style of play or use width to provide crosses for their forwards. I expect Katsina United to make nerves jangle at the Agege Stadium but MFM will edge past them.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Amos’ prediction: 2-1

• Last matchday guest and SuperSport commentator Ralph Chidozie George (RCG) had a fine outing. He got FIVE correct results out of the six matches on offer including THREE exact scores (which counts as two points per exact result). RCG scored eight points from a possible 12. The Predictor’s FOUR correct results including TWO perfect scores amounted to six points.

© The Predictor

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