NPFL Matchday 5 preview: Freescoring Lokosa ranges in Maiduguri
By Kanayo Jubal
After four games in the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season, defending champions Plateau United and Akwa United are inseparable at the top, while Kano Pillars trail in third place.
Niger Tornadoes sit in fourth place, no thanks to that shocking loss in Lokoja on Matchday 4, after going 75 games unbeaten at home.
As game-day 5 approaches, all eyes will be on Pillars’ new signing, Junior Lokosa, who has scored in all of his team’s four games this season.
The lad, who looks unstoppable, so far, has declared that he plans to keep scoring if his team keep up the show, without suffering from any form of mid-season blues or developing cold-feet like they did last season.
Seven-time champions, Enyimba finally bagged their first three points of the season after a 1-0 win over Nasarawa United. The Solid Miners went into that fixture on the back of their first win of the season in an easy match against Sunshine Stars at the weekend and were on the look-out for a second win to keep them off the base of the table.
MFM, the club that have conceded the most goals so far this season, would be away to champions Plateau United at the New Jos Stadium, on Saturday. MFM, up against a side that have had an impressive run to the beginning of the season, would have their hands full, given their not very great record on the road, so far.
Another side that have shown great resurgence this season is Aiteo Cup winners, Akwa United, playing home to Kwara United at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, in Uyo. The Ilorin-based side, endured three torrid games before bagging a win over Wikki Tourists at home on Matchday 4 and would be careful not to let their hold slip again. Akwa United, high on confidence from the away win in Lokoja, do not look ready to give an inch. They could almost be sure of a win, unless their visitors come calling, ready for a fight.
Lobi Stars would welcome Niger Tornadoes this Sunday. The Minna boys still smarting from that 2-1 defeat at home to Akwa United, could bring their A-game with them to the Aper Aku Stadium.
Heartland, the only club yet to win a game this season, would welcome ninth-placed Yobe Desert Stars to the Dan Anyiam Stadium. While Yobe Stars have scored four and conceded same, they would look to present a great front to, at least, nick a point.
Katsina United, in 15th place, welcome Go Round FC, that got their season off to a great start, after they recorded a surprise 1-0 victory over Akwa United on Matchday 2.
Nasarawa United, languishing second from bottom of the table, though with three points, after a Matchday 3 home win over Sunshine Stars, have had to endure three defeats including an uncomfortable start to the season losing at home to champions, Plateau United. After falling to Enyimba 1-0 on Matchday 4, the fact that they would welcome former champions Rangers to Lafia this weekend, could get them all worked up for a cracker, even though the latter are rarely the side they were when they lifted the trophy two seasons ago.
After their first win in four games, Enyimba, are in bad need to stay in the victory mode when they visit Rivers United. It is not a game to be taken lightly by both sides, as there is a lot at stake. Rivers United have lost twice already and would not want a third and the former champs, having lost just once, would want to keep going up the log.
Abia Warriors welcome Sunshine Stars, while FC Ifeanyiubah are away to Wikki Tourists.
It is still early days in the season but so far, 72 goals have been scored, all the teams have lost a game or more each at least, there have been five away wins and all teams will seek to make hay while the sun shines. Everything could change at the blast of the whistle this weekend.