Last season’s top-two in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Plateau United and MFM FC will go head-to-head so early this term when they meet at the New Jos Stadium this Saturday, for only the fifth time.
Title holders and table-toppers Plateau United did enough last term to fend off MFM’s challenge for the league trophy before claiming their first-ever title with 66 points, four more better than their opponents to sew up one of the most one-sided run to winning the top division in the country.
This time, Plateau United have played their way to the top of the pile after thrashing El-Kanemi Warriors 3-0 in midweek while MFM coming into this contest on the back of edging past FC Ifeanyiubah 2-1.
Kennedy Boboye’s men have assumed the summit of the division and the chasing pack must be wondering if the Jos club are planning to stay for the long haul like they did last season en route to emerging champions.
MFM look light-weight at the moment and their defensive frailties remain evident as they have conceded more goals than any other team this season so far. The bright spark for Fidelis Ilechukwu, who feels his team look “six or seven games” away from being ready for the CAF Champions League, is Jesse Akila.
However Plateau United look outright favourites ahead of this game as they have only lost once to MFM and won twice including last season’s 1-0 success in this same fixture when Ibeh Johnson scored.
AKWA UNITED LAUNCH CHASE ON TABLE-TOPPERS
Plateau United will also be looking over their shoulders as 2017 Aiteo Cup holders Akwa United are right on their heels and should the Promise Keepers smash Kwara United by a big margin scoreline could go top depending on the outcome of the game in Jos.
The Promise Keepers after that shock defeat at newcomers Go Round FC have served the other teams what appears to be a statement of intent by ending a 75-game home unbeaten streak of Niger Tornadoes in midweek.
Abdu Maikaba’s men are in superb form and Kwara United will have to be at their best to thwart the attacking threat of the like of Victor Mbaoma, Aniekeme Asuquo and Adeshina Gata.
A CLASH OF FORMER CHAMPS IN GARDEN CITY
Two former winners of the league Enyimba and Rivers United square up in the city of Port Harcourt. Interestingly both clubs occupy positions outside of the top half following unimpressive start to the campaign.
Big ache for Enyimba manager Paul Aigbogun is the lack of firepower from his front. Their two goals have come from a wide man in Stanley Eguma and midfielder Chinedu Udeagha. Rivers United have not distinguished themselves with their stop-start form so far.
Definitely an eye-catching contest loading in the Garden City this Sunday.
LOKOSA GOES HUNTING IN MAIDUGURI
More than 700 miles away from Port Harcourt, one will aim to underscore his fine form in the colours of Kano Pillars when they face El-Kanemi Warriors at the Maiduguri stadium. Junior Lokosa sits on top of the leaderboard for goalscoring this season having scored one each in all four league games this season.
Kano Pillars head coach Ibrahim Musa will rely on Lokosa to halt El-Kanemi’s run of 658 days without losing at their Maiduguri ground just as he will hope Chinedu Udoji and co in defence to keep Bello Kofarmata quiet all afternoon on Sunday.
Six other matches will take place this Sunday as well to wrap up the fifth matchday of a busy calendar in the NPFL.
© The Predictor