NPFL predictions: The Predictor vs Ayodeji Adegbenro

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It is going to be a back-and-forth movement at the top of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) from this point on. This should culminate in a tight title run-in during the latter stages of the season.

Title holders and table-toppers Plateau United, Akwa United, MFM FC and seven-time winners Enyimba have had their matches rearranged. The quartet will take part in CAF club competitions this week.

This matchweek, Ayodeji Adegbenro takes up the seat for the seven games on offer this Sunday. The sports administrator who is a former deputy director, marketing and corporate affairs with the Ondo State Football Agency and now the media and communications coordinator of LaLiga Nigeria, will try his ability to forecast games.

He is also a big Sunshine Stars faithful and surely he will be rooting for the Akure Gunners, or Owena Waves, when they play hosts to seven-time league winners Enugu Rangers.

SUNDAY

HEARTLAND vs LOBI STARS

Things, in terms of results on the pitch, have changed for the Naze Millionaires in recent matchweeks but now they will have to temporarily play their home games at the FC Ifeanyiubah Stadium in Nnewi after their Dan Anyiam Stadium pitch was undeclared unfit to host matches. But that should not unsettle Heartland when they face Lobi.

Adegbenro has tipped Lobi to come off with a point from this game as they have been in fine fettle taking a point in their last travel. What do I think? Heartland will edge past Lobi as I do not expect a big scoreline.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Adegbenro’s prediction: 1-1

NASARAWA UNITED vs WIKKI TOURISTS

Nasarawa United need a result fast to ease the pressure on Kabiru Dogo after they have gone three matches without a win. Surrendering a two-goal lead in the country’s division like Nasarawa United did in their last home game to Kwara United is something that does not happen often and that I think has taken a tool on their confidence levels.

However their opponents have been misfiring on the road – five away games, five defeats sum up their travels. Should the like of Kabiru Balogun, Thomas Zenke, Najeem Olukokun, Douglas Achiv and Abubakar Abdullahi get into their stride then Wikki could be in for trouble. It should be a Nasarawa United win, according to Adegbenro and I agree with him.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Adegbenro’s prediction: 1-0

RIVERS UNITED vs FC IFEANYIUBAH

Stanley Eguma and his team are aiming for three wins on the spin in the division for the first time since May 2016. I expect Rivers United to be in buoyant mood to take on FC Ifeanyiubah after claiming their first away win last weekend at Kwara United. Eguma has also spoken about Chikere Osita playing further roles in their campaign this term.

The only problem before FC Ifeanyiubah at the moment is scoring goals on the road. They have gone 331 minutes without managing a goal in their last three travels as only Godwin Obaje and Pascal Seka have found the net in away games so far this term. That I think will be the undoing of Ladan Bosso’s team.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Adegbenro’s prediction: 2-1

ABIA WARRIORS vs KWARA UNITED

This is an early six-pointer in the season as the two teams are struggling to get points on the board so far. I find a few similarities between both sides – their coaches (Kwara United’s John Obuh and Emmanuel Deutsch of Abia Warriors) under pressure, two top-scoring players in Ndifreke Effiong and Stephen Alfred, defeats from their last round of games and reliance on few players to shoulder goalscoring responsibilities.

I must say things are not on the sunnyside for Obuh and his men. It is going to be difficult to look beyond Abia Warriors taking the full points especially with the impressive form of Ndifreke and Obi Samson who have taken up goalscoring jobs. Adegbenro believes “Kwara United are struggling and I doubt they can take a result off Abia Warriors.”

The Predictor’s prediction: 3-1

Adegbenro’s prediction: 2-0

EL-KANEMI WARRIORS vs NIGER TORNADOES

The northeast is now becoming a tough terrain for any side to stun El-Kanemi. Rangers, 3SC, Enyimba and Kano Pillars are the only clubs to have avoided defeat in all of the 37 previous visits by NPFL sides to the El-Kanemi Sports Stadium in Maiduguri. I am tipping them to extend that run of no defeats at home to 38 and with a win. Adegbenro also gives it to El-Kanemi as Tornadoes have struggled for form in recent gameweeks despite their fine start to the season.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Adegbenro’s prediction: 2-0

KANO PILLARS vs GO ROUND FC

Four-time winners Kano Pillars are on a run of seven matches without defeat, that should sound intimidating to new boys Go Round. Well I honestly do not think so. Dare The Lion, as Go Round, are called I am sure will dare the Kano club on their patch though I will always tip Junior Lokosa to be among the goals in this game due to his redhot form.

Will it be a high-scoring win for Pillars who are favourites? Adegbenro believes so to an extent as he feels Ibrahim Musa’s men will score three. Definitely Pillars remain my favourites to win this as I do not expect any upset.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Adegbenro’s prediction: 3-1

SUNSHINE STARS vs ENUGU RANGERS

So we focus on Adegbenro’s team Sunshine Stars and you will always expect him to give them a chance to win this game. Have Rangers really done enough to exude confidence in putting them up there to throw the cat among the pigeons? I do not think so though Gbenga Ogunbote who is leading them to face his former team have done well with their previous frailties in defence but goalscoring now looks like an issue.

Sunshine Stars spread of goals among their attackers should be of concern to Ogunbote. I believe that is where Duke Udi will play up his aces to edge past Rangers in what I expect to be a tight affair.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Adegbenro’s prediction: 2-1

• Eight matches were on offer last gameweek and it was a below average for The Predictor and his guest Fisayo Dairo. The Predictor got THREE correct results including ONE exact score (which gives two points) compared to Dairo’s TWO which were both perfect scores. It ended in a tie of FOUR points apiece.

© The Predictor

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