NPFL predictions: The Predictor vs Alonge Akinlolu

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Six games are on offer this matchweek as four clubs, Akwa United, Enyimba, MFM FC and title-holders Plateau United are involved in CAF Confederation Cup playoff matches from this Friday to Sunday.

The implication of this is that table-toppers Lobi Stars will remain top of the pile for another matchday irrespective of the outcome of their matchup with Abia Warriors this Wednesday.

At the base of the standings, there is a big contest between bottom-placed Kwara United and Sunshine Stars – an early six-pointer as the season drags closer to the halfway mark.

This matchday, Alonge Akinlolu, a mechanical engineer by training but has exhibited a high passion for the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) over the years. He currently works with footyalert.net as a football content provider and has deep love for Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC).

He talks of his pain without his club in the top division and this matchweek.

“I hope that 3SC will be back in quick time; next season. The games for this matchday are interesting especially the one in Akure between Sunshine Stars and Kwara United. Both teams need the points to ease their worries. Also, the Abia Warriors versus Lobi Stars match is one to watch while I am looking forward to the Kano Pillars and FC Ifeanyiubah game with the leading scorer Junior Lokosa, the man to watch,” said Akinlolu.

WEDNESDAY

RIVERS UNITED vs HEARTLAND

Ezekiel Onyegbulem takes charge of his second game at Heartland since replacing Ramson Madu. This is a big test for the new manager as he attempts to steer the Naze Millionaires away from troubled spot which I doubt will happen in this first round of the season. I expect Rivers United to take this game by the scruff of the neck.

Akinlolu believes that Heartland will be blown apart at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt as they have enough attacking personnel in Emeka Ogbugh, Chikere Osita, Guy Keumian and Bamba Bakari with Ochowechi Salefu orchestrating things from the middle. I am not expecting a big scoreline, though United will take the full points.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Akinlolu’s prediction: 3-0

ABIA WARRIORS vs LOBI STARS

Abia Warriors are aiming for a five-game sequence without a defeat but that streak will come under scrutiny against Lobi Stars who have not lost in all of their games against southeast clubs this season including two wins in two in away games to the region. So will Solomon Ogbeide’s men be third time lucky? Akinlolu does not think so as he says “Abia Warriors are in very good form with Samson Obi and Ndifreke Effiong opponents’ defences trouble.”

I agree with Akinlolu that the table-toppers will this game a bit tougher than their previous visits to the southeast where they have beaten Enugu Rangers and Heartland. I expect Abia Warriors to extend their run to five games unbeaten.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Akinlolu’s prediction: 2-1

KANO PILLARS vs FC IFEANYIUBAH

Last time out, Kano Pillars fell 1-2 at Kwara United after Junior Lokosa gave them the lead. It is beginning to appear that everything at the Kano club revolves around the former Bridge Boys and First Bank FC forward though their head coach Ibrahim Musa disagreed with that recently. So just may be FC Ifeanyiubah defenders now know who to focus on to cut off Pillars’ goalscoring threat.

However my guest thinks it is going to be a tight contest with the hosts claiming a slim victory. I still think Lokosa’s eye for goals and putting himself all over the place will cause FC Ifeanyiubah troubles at the back. So I expect him to get his 13th goal of the season.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-0

Akinlolu’s prediction: 1-0

SUNSHINE STARS vs KWARA UNITED

It has been 2,142 calendar days since Kwara United won a league game against Sunshine Stars since their 1-0 success on May 23, 2012. Akinlolu has tipped Sunshine Stars to continue their dominance over the Harmony Boys, and I totally believe that it will be difficult for Kwara United to pull off a result at ground where their best result in recent years has been a draw.

Of course Abubakar Bala takes charge of his second game as Kwara United head coach, and the former Niger Tornadoes manager is known for setting up his team to be defensively disciplined. So Henry Abiodun and his men should be ready to work for the full points.

The Predictor’s prediction: 2-1

Akinlolu’s prediction: 2-0

ENUGU RANGERS vs YOBE DESERT STARS

Rangers were just seconds away from a second away win this season at Go Round FC before a late goal by Chile Azu denied them that chance and meant they blew away a two-goal lead. Already the Rangers contingent have talked about getting the full points from this game as a birthday gift to their general manager Davidson Owumi. However I know Mohammed Baba Ganaru’s men will make the seven-time champions work their socks off.

Akinlolu and I agree on one thing here. Rangers have struggled to put the ball in the net – scoring 11 goals in 13 matches with six players accounting for those goals. So we both expect a slim victory for the Flying Antelopes in this game.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Akinlolu’s prediction: 1-0

NASARAWA UNITED vs KATSINA UNITED

It has been a start-stop run for Nasarawa United though they felt hard done by last matchday at Heartland where they lost to MacMarcel Obioha’s stoppage time penalty in a dramatic contest. Nasarawa United have relied mostly on games at home this season for points and that has put them just one place above the drop zone.

Katsina United, on the other hand, have come close to getting a result and I think they now look dangerous under Abdullahi Biffo who has various options in his playing personnel. One thing about Biffo’s team is that they will attack, and that will make it a tough fixture for the Solid Miners who will have to dig deep to win.

The Predictor’s prediction: 1-0

Akinlolu’s prediction: 2-1

• Chibuzor Amos got FIVE correct results including TWO perfect scores which earned him seven points, two better than The Predictor who managed FOUR correct results including an exact score from the 10 games that took place in last matchweek.

© The Predictor NG

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