After a successful outing in the continent, action resumes in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) as matchday 10 fixtures take center stage.
A continental representative will show their mettle in the domestic scene yet again, strugglers will look to turn fortunes around while there will also be a regional derby in the offing. Here are Naijafootballplus top five picks of the weekend.
5. Enyimba Int’l vs Sunshine Stars
This fixture is very important to both clubs on contrasting ends of the table. Enyimba, smarting from a vital point in Kano will look to further their push up the table and also prepare for their first continental fixture in the CAF Confederation Cup while their visitors will be looking to overcome their myriad of problems and post a good display for themselves. Despite picking a couple of points or more away from home, Stars find themselves on 19th place after they were docked three points for repeated offences. It will be a difficult trip for the Owena Waves but a very tricky tie for the Elephants.
Prediction: Enyimba 1-0 Sunshine
Niger Tornadoes have been given conditional approval to use the Bako Kontagora Stadium, Minna for their next 4 #NPFL18 home games starting from Matchday 10
— League Management NG (@LMCNPFL) February 23, 2018
4. Niger Tornadoes vs Abia Warriors
In a battle of strugglers, Tornadoes who have been okayed to host their home games at the Bako Kontagora Stadium in Minna will be looking for respite when they host fellow strugglers, Abia Warriors, in Minna. Separated by just two points, The Ikon Allah boys will have a feel of what Hamza Abara brings to the fore after Erasmus Onuh was sacked. Abia Warriors off the back of a superb 30 first-half-minutes inspired 3-1 home victory will hope to consolidate and move upwards.
Prediction: Tornadoes 2-1 Abia Warriors
3. MFM FC vs Lobi Stars
Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu seem to be focused on success on the continent at this moment. He led his Sikiru Olatunbosu-less MFM team to a draw in Mali and a slim victory in Lagos but will have him back when silent achievers, Lobi Stars, visit the soccer temple. MFM will leapfrog their visitors and into the top half of the table if they win which looks very likely as Lobi have been unconvincing away from Makurdi.
Prediction: MFM 2-0 Lobi
2. Yobe Desert Stars vs El-Kanemi Warriors
In a NorthEast derby, newcomers Yobe Desert Stars will host neighbours, El-Kanemi Warriors in a fiesty encounter. This should be the first of the home games the Damaturu based club will play outside their traditional 27th August Stadium in Damaturu with the ground suspension expected to take effect this weekend. Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles B team, Imama Amapakabo will be optimistic of not heading home emptyhanded and may rightly succeed if his opponents lose concentration again like they did in Umuahia last weekend and El-Kanemi fight like last matchday too.
Prediction: Yobe 1-1 El-Kanemi
1. Rangers Int’l vs Kano Pillars
In the match of this weekend, both teams with pedigree and huge followership will tackle each other at the famous Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu. These teams fought each other for the signature of the late Chinedu Udoji two years ago but the Kano side won that battle. Pillars are distraught and will play for their late vice captain but Gbenga Ogunbote will also hope to impress his fans with their desired results. An away victory with a healthy scoreline can take Pillars to the top of the table if Akwa United fail to match the same result. Pillars have lost just one game on the road this season but are yet to record an away victory and have a free scoring Junior Lokosa in their ranks.
Prediction: Rangers 1-1 Pillars
NPFL Matchday 10 Fixtures
Wikki vs Katsina Utd
FC Ifeanyiubah vs Nasarawa Utd
Kwara Utd vs Rivers Utd
Tornadoes vs Abia Warriors
Yobe Stars vs El-Kanemi
Rangers vs Kano Pillars
Enyimba vs Sunshine Stars
MFM FC vs Lobi