NPFL predictions: The Predictor vs Janefrances Nweze

0
220

The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season is edging closer to the halfway mark and Lobi Stars remain top of the pile though the trio of Akwa United, Enyimba and title-holders Plateau United, competing on the continent, could catch up with them if they win all of their outstanding games.

This matchweek could witness the total goals for the season reach the 300-mark as 19 goals are required.

For this gameweek, Enugu-based sports journalist Janefrances Nweze has signed up to go head-to-head with The Predictor and she becomes the first woman to feature in the NPFL prediction challenge on thepredictorng.com.

She says: “I am also an apostle-cum-follower of the Nigeria Professional Football League. I have never played football but talk it most of the time.”

Nweze also features on sports radio programmes and has a soft spot for Enugu Rangers. And she has made interesting calls in all seven games on offer for this matchday.

SUNDAY

KATSINA UNITED vs RIVERS UNITED (4pm)

Katsina United were disappointing in their midweek trip to Nasarawa United where they lost 1-2, and I think should have been blown apart in the first half if the Solid Miners took their chances. Abdullahi Biffo’s men are strong at home, and they have shown that against the big boys — Enyimba and Akwa United. And at home, they defend so tight and that is where Rivers United’s first task lies.

Stanley Eguma and his men have upped things in their last two games, scoring two goals in each. That looks a good sign for Rivers United though I must say they can be fragile at times. And for this game, they are without four key men — Emeka Atuloma (hamstring), Guy Keumian (illness), Ochowechi Salefu (hamstring) and captain Austine Festus (hip). I find it difficult to rule out a Katsina United win.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Nweze’s prediction: I don’t see Rivers United getting a victory at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium. True to the words of their manager, Stanley Eguma, the team have started scoring even in their travels but Katsina United are yet to lose at home and they also have striking options that include Usule Martins and Dufegha Eric. 2-1

Image result for samson obi and ndifreke effiong

HEARTLAND vs ABIA WARRIORS (4pm)

This is the eighth Oriental Derby this season. Both teams have not won a single game this term in previous matches in the Oriental Derby which also has Enyimba, Enugu Rangers and FC Ifeanyiubah. I am not sure if Heartland can keep the in-form attacking pair of Samson Obi and Ndifreke Effiong quiet if they start this Sunday.

Again, Abia Warriors are the bogey team of Heartland in the southeast as they have never lost a league game to the Owerri club in six previous meetings. Every numbers I look appear to be in favour of Abia Warriors as they seek a sixth unbeaten sequence compared to Heartland’s one win in their last six matches. I’d like to see Heartland move out of trouble spot, but Abia Warriors look good to take a result in this derby.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-1

Nweze’s prediction: Heartland could be coordinated when they choose. But this is an Oriental Derby and a lot of pride and emotions come into play. Chinedu Efuh will be returning to Owerri to face his former side. Ezekiel Onyegbulem’s side are languishing in the 18th position so they’ll be more desperate. Emmanuel Deutsch have gone five games unbeaten with Abia Warriors but desperate Heartland could ruin it this weekend. 1-0

LOBI STARS vs EL-KANEMI WARRIORS (4pm)

I must say a mixture of performance, lady luck, absence of big guns and decisions going their way has kept Lobi in top spot for the past four matchdays. Four-time champions Kano Pillars are the only realistic side who can topple them, and that is if Lobi lose and the Kano club win in Jos. Anyway I do not see Lobi dropping points against El-Kanemi.

For El-Kanemi, it has been and on and off scenario — win at home and lose on the road except the one time at Kwara United when they took a point. It’s been a far cry from the El-Kanemi performance of last season. I don’t think they stand a chance at the Aper Aku.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Nweze’s prediction: Lobi Stars are sitting on top of the NPFL summit, 11 points better than El-Kanemi who are 19th on the log. The Maiduguri landlords have only scored away against Kwara United. Nothing is impossible in football though. 2-0

WIKKI TOURISTS vs KANO PILLARS (4pm)

Everything about goalscoring at Kano Pillars revolves around Junior Lokosa and I think if they intend to contend for the title the other strikers must come to the party with their dancing shoes. Wikki are already growing in confidence with Nafiu Kabuga and Shammah Tanze scoring goals, and I think Kabuga will relish this matchup against his former employers and aim to prove a point.

This game, I expect to be mightily tight and I am sure Pillars manager Ibrahim Musa will feel his men can nick it off Wikki — something I am not sure they can manage. However I fancy the Kano club to eke out a point.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-1

Nweze’s prediction: Junior Lokosa readily comes to mind, the rave of the moment in the NPFL. Fourteen goals in 14 matches. But Wikki’s Nafiu Kabuga is behind him on the goalscorers chat with six goals. Can Lokosa’s goalscoring form stop Wikki from outscoring Kano Pillars this weekend? 2-1

FC IFEANYIUBAH vs SUNSHINE STARS (4pm)

I was really surprised that Sunshine Stars dropped points in their home game to bottom-placed Kwara United who fought from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw in Akure. Henry Abiodun and his men are looking over their shoulders on the standings as they occupy a place above the drop zone and this trip to the southeast to face FC Ifeanyiubah comes at a time both teams need points to ease their worries.

Sunshine Stars have avoided defeats in two of their three trips to the southeast already but after their 4-0 battering at Pillars last matchday, I don’t think FC Ifeanyiubah will want to drop further points.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-1

Nweze’s prediction: FC Ifeanyiubah is one of the teams with very young crop of players and they know how to enjoy football at the fortress. They will be hosting Sunshine Stars who are battling to climb out of the bottom-four and also lost two points to Kwara United in mid-week despite scoring two goals. The Anambra Warriors are also known for winning by big margins against southwest teams. Last season, they scored 4-0 against MFM, 3-0 home and away against Shooting Stars. 3-0

NIGER TORNADOES vs ENUGU RANGERS (4pm)

These two teams are in fine form — Tornadoes are unbeaten in their last five matches while Rangers are on a streak of four matches without defeat. So this match is finely balanced especially with both teams going into it on the back of wins from the previous matchweek. However Tornadoes since Hamza Abara took charge have been a strong quantity and I tip them to win this game by a goal.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Nweze’s prediction: Rangers International FC in two seasons have not lost to Niger Tornadoes away. This season however, Rangers have also proven to be dogged travellers against teams regarded as weak but not a Niger Tornadoes that held Kano Pillars to a goalless draw at the Sani Abacha stadium. 1-0

YOBE DESERT STARS vs GO ROUND (4pm)

I am sure Yobe Stars head coach Mohammed Baba Ganaru will look at this fixture and feel it is one they can put the full points in the bag. But I must say Go Round will not be afraid to give an arm and a leg. However all of Go Round’s travels to the north have ended in defeats and they are also yet to take a point on the road so far.

For me, this is advantage Yobe Stars who have sewn together a four-game sequence with no win. I don’t think Baba Ganaru’s men will let this slip through their fingers after dropping points to Enyimba in their last home games followed by two defeats on the bounce at Plateau United and Rangers.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Nweze’s prediction: Newly-promoted Yobe Desert Stars will host another young side Go Round FC who have only scored away against El-Kanemi Warriors. Yobe Stars goalkeeper Itodo Akor will be hoping to better his performance after conceding three goals against his former side Rangers in mid-week. However, Go Round head coach Ngozi Elechi will be banking on Okon Otop to lift his side but I don’t see that happening in Damaturu. 2-0

• The Predictor got FOUR correct results out of the six games on offer last matchday without an exact score while Alonge Akinlolu also got FOUR corrects but had a perfect score. Alonge earned FIVE points including two from the perfect score to beat The Predictor who had FOUR points.

© The Predictor NG

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here