Action resumes this weekend in the Nigeria Professional Football League as matchday 16 fixtures are billed to hold this Sunday.
With all four continental representatives still in the mix, only seven of the supposed 10 games will go ahead. We will look at the top five of these fixtures.
5. FC IfeanyiUbah vs Sunshine Stars.
Coach Ladan Bosso and his Anambra Warriors return to Nnewi after a 4-0 drubbing in Kano on Wednesday to face a Sunshine Stars who have more headaches than a huge away defeat, something they have tasted this season. Sunshine may have come from behind to draw 2-2 in Akure against struggling Kwara United but with the Owena Waves posing a threat away from home, FCIU will need to be in similar form which helped them thrash champions, Plateau United in their last home fixture.
Prediction: FCIU 2-1 Sunshine
4. Wikki Tourists vs Kano Pillars
In the days of Abdul Maikaba, Wikki Tourists of Bauchi were a force to reckon with but just two seasons after, they seem to have lost steam and have been quickly replaced by Plateau United as the second best team from the north. A visit from the biggest team in the north makes this all northern affair a game of bragging rights. With Wikki playing in Jos these days and Junior Lokosa scoring for fun, Wikki might just be in for a shock or produce one themselves.
Prediction: Wikki 1-1 Pillars
3. Lobi Stars vs Elkanemi Warriors
Call them the dark horses of this season and you won’t be far from the truth. Lobi has impressed so far this season and their position at the top of the table is no fluke as they have managed to play good football, win points away from home and keep an impressive record of themselves at home all without their dangerman, Anthony Okpotu. Coach Imama will line up his Elkanemi team with a lot to prove. If Elkanemi stuns Lobi in Makurdi, they can build from there. It will take a huge performance from any team to stop Lobi from getting their victory.
Prediction: Lobi 2-0 Elkanemi.
2. Yobe Desert Stars vs Go Round FC
In a battle of the promoted sides, not many will fancy this fixture to feature in the top five but with Yobe’s performance and Go Round’s resilience in their last visit to the northeast alongside the rescheduling of a few games, this fixture has made the top two only being beaten by the Oriental Derby. Yobe Desert Stars seem to be punching above their weight as they are the highest placed team among the promoted sides with Go Round, the next. Yobe rarely drop points at home but if Go Round can replicate their form in Maiduguri at Damaturu, they might escape with a point.
Prediction: Yobe 1-1 Go Round
1. Heartland FC vs Abia Warriors
An oriental derby never disappoints. It is intriguing enough and one can feel the rivalry present. Fans from both teams are always present and the quality of football on display rarely fails to match the hype. Heartland are struggling for survival and are doing everything they can to ensure they survive. Abia Warriors boast of the best attacking partnership with Obi Samson finding his scoring and some help from Ndifreke Effiong to produce 13 goals between them. Heartland seems to know how to play the oriental derby but Abia Warrior’s last away trip for such a derby ended in a draw and we might be in for a repeat.
Prediction: Heartland 1-1 Abia Warriors
NPFL Matchday 16 Fixtures
Sunday 8th April 2018
Katsina United vs Rivers United
Heartland vs AbiaWarriors
Lobi Stars vs Elkanemi Warriors
Wikki Tourist vs Kano Pillars
FC IfeanyiUbah vs Sunshine Stars
Niger Tornadoes vs Enugu Rangers
Yobe Starsvs Go Round