Every fixture in football, especially in a league like the NPFL is important. At times too, some moments draw more attention and they determine how well a team, particularly the ones with a stake will finish the marathon.
That moment is here for Lobi Stars football club and Kano Pillars as they prepare to lock horns in the battle of 1st and 3rd in one of the match day 18 ties of the Nigeria Professional Football League on Sunday.
This fixture isn’t underlined by a relatively huge status like a derby or any high profile match in the league, but the standings of Lobi Stars and Kano Pillars on the table as well as the point separating them confers such status temporarily. The surprise league leaders, Lobi are separated from Pillars by 5 points both having played 16 games each.
The importance of such an encounter cannot be overemphasized and Kano Pillars creative midfielder, Nzube Anaezemba, who was part of Enyimba’s title triumph in 2015 sees beyond the crucial game.
“It’s going to be one of our biggest games this season. If not for anything but because we have a stake of winning the title and Lobi are leading that race already,” says Anaezemba in a chat with Naijafootballplus.com from the team’s camp in Makurdi.
“We know what getting a point; at least in Makurdi means. That can really help us slow them down you know and who says we can’t even win there?”
From the words of the all-round midfielder, it looks as simple as having their destiny in their hands in such a defining moment.
Though he’s equally aware the task won’t be easy; as Lobi Stars have beaten every team that visits the Aper Aku stadium after their 1-1 draw against Enyimba on match day one, but he believes in the strong will of the team to achieve.
“It’s hard to boast against a team that has surprised everyone but we’ve been coming a long way too and we are not far behind.
I have confidence in the ability of my teammates, our strength as a unit can definitely get us something valuable from the game,” Anaezemba concluded.
With just a round left after this match day to conclude the first half of the campaign, any slip by Lobi will give a chance to Pillars to position themselves well in the neck-and-neck race. But if Pillars slip, it could also mean another side would benefit from it.
So if this fixture is that important, then Pillars must stand firm where others have fallen.