NPFL predictions: The Predictor vs China ‘Ikwerreman’ Acheru

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The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season nears the halfway point and 300 goals have already been scored though it is still less than two goals per game so far. However this is a unique matchweek in which the top-two sides Lobi Stars and Kano Pillars will not take part and yet the position of the table-toppers look so assured.

The absence of the top-two at the moment has been forced by the postponement of matches involving Akwa United, Enyimba, MFM FC and title-holders Plateau United who are up for decisive games in the CAF Confederation Cup playoff round next Tuesday and Wednesday.

So the focus for this matchday will be on the struggling sides and up for the prediction challenge this gameweek is one of the country’s top sports journalists China Acheru also known as Ikwerreman who celebrates his 1,000th appearance of watching matches at different stadia across the world.

He has watched his previous 999 matches in 60 stadia in 49 Nigerian towns, 17 in 16 African countries, two in Europe and one in South America. Sunday’s NPFL game between Go Round and Niger Tornadoes will be his 1,000th and he accepts the challenge to face The Predictor as part of the celebration.

Apart from his deep knowledge of NPFL, Acheru is now head of marketing and media at Go Round. So when you see the hashtag #Ikwerreman1000 trending this Sunday, look no further than this man who appends ‘I thank you Lord for noticing and bringing me from a mighty long way’ at the end of every email I have received from him as his signature for more than a decade now.

SUNDAY

RIVERS UNITED vs NASARAWA UNITED

I find it quite unusual as Nasarawa United found it hard to post those daring outcomes on the road this season. At the moment they have zero away point, and this is their ninth away game of the campaign already and I really do doubt they can pull off a result in Port Harcourt especially now that Rivers United are beginning to score goals.

It has been an improved performance from Rivers United in their last four league games in which they have scored in each. Emeka Ogbugh, Chikere Osita and Bamba Bakari have been in rich vein of form but Stanley Eguma’s men will have to be wary of Najeem Olukokun as well. But the Solid Miners will still have to wait for that first away point on the road this season and Acheru agrees with me.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Acheru’s prediction: 2-1

ABIA WARRIORS vs KATSINA UNITED

Acheru has put his money on Abia Warriors to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches. Of course, Emmanuel Deutsch’s men are in buoyant mood especially with the pair of Samson Obi and Ndifreke Effiong continually accounting for their goals. Obi and Ndifreke have scored 12 of Abia Warriors’ 13 goals, and all I can say is that they will always be problems for United’s defence.

I am not surprised that Katsina United’s number 10 Destiny Ashadi has become a player so admired in the country right now as every attacking move by Katsina United usually starts from his feet whenever he plays. But that creative spark of Ashadi will be suppressed by the 3-2-3-2 style of Abia Warriors which leaves the middle of the park often jammed. I expect one of Obi and Ndifreke to get among the goals as Abia Warriors are my favourites for this matchup.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Acheru’s prediction: 1-0

EL-KANEMI WARRIORS vs HEARTLAND

During the week, Heartland named Turkish trainer Mehmet Taykun as their head coach for the rest of the season. So will the Turkish coach have his first outing in Maiduguri this Sunday? Well we will have to wait and see how Taykun starts his reign if he made the trip to Maiduguri.

For those looking for betting odds, Acheru believes this will be an over 2.5 and he also hands El-Kanemi a handsome win too. This is a six-pointer and I expect it to be a tight contest though I tip El-Kanemi to edge this as they have been so strong on their patch.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Acheru’s prediction: 3-1

SUNSHINE STARS vs WIKKI TOURISTS

Sunshine Stars have played themselves into trouble and now need to stay focused to get out of jail – three points deducted for crowd trouble and managing two wins in their last five home matches should give Wikki the fillip to believe. I was surprised when bottom-placed Kwara United held Sunshine 1-1 in their last home game though I think things will be different this time against Wikki.

On the road, Wikki have not taken any point despite the good form of Nafiu Kabuga and Shammah Tanze among others. Acheru though believes that Sunshine will drop points at home for the second time, something I think the like of Sikiru Alimi, Bala Yahuza and co will respond to.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Acheru’s prediction: 1-1

ENUGU RANGERS vs KWARA UNITED

I am sure Abubakar Bala will look to spoil Sunday’s service at The Cathedral when he leads Kwara United to face Rangers. Last season he did it with Tornadoes by taking a point in a 1-1 draw. At times the Flying Antelopes choke when you least expect, and if they blink this could be one of those days as Kwara United, which I think can happen despite the high-spirited mood of Rangers.

Acheru is very straightforward with his call in this game. He gives it to Rangers. With the way Bala has rallied the Harmony Boys in his first three games in charge, I think it would not be a stroll in the park for Rangers who will take the full points.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-1

Acheru’s prediction: 2-0

GO ROUND vs NIGER TORNADOES

This is the game that takes Acheru’s appearances at matches in stadia to 1,000. So #Ikwerreman1000 is well and truly inching closer now. As expected he has predicted an outright win for Go Round and he will hope that Tornadoes do not play party spoilers.

Hamza Abara has found a way of ensuring Tornadoes are mean defensively which has seen them put up a six-game sequence without defeat. So Go Round should be braced for a tough outing which I think can end with the share of the points.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-1

Acheru’s prediction: 1-0

• For the first time this season, it was a clean sweep for The Predictor. He got all SEVEN results correctly including TWO perfect scores in the previous matchday (a total score of NINE out 14 points available). Last matchweek’s guest Janefrances Nweze got FIVE correct results including TWO exact scores to take her total points to SEVEN.

© The Predictor NG

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