NPFL preview: The three-horse race continues among Lobi, Plateau Utd, Rivers Utd

By Diegwu Nwankwor

After the jitters, excitement and expectations (realised and unfulfilled) of the first round of 19 matches (some clubs still have outstanding fixtures), the Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) returns with the second round of fixtures this Sunday with games at all ten venues.

It’s the reverse fixtures from last weekend and once again all eyes will be on Umuahia where rivals Abia Warriors and Enyimba will be meeting for the second time in seven days.

Other fixtures of interest are those involving league leaders, Lobi Stars, their immediate challengers Plateau United, Rivers United and Sunshine Stars who are all in action.

Abia Warriors v Enyimba It is now down to whether the champions can keep up their three match winning streak after their longest run of five without a win.

No one ever doubted Enyimba’s ability to bounce back from the recent poor run in the season which ended with their away win to MFM on the back of a continental triumph, but what has taken a few by surprise is the timing of the comeback – ‘Just when they needed it’.

The champions have won three consecutive matches going into Sunday’s derby against neighbors Abia Warriors who on their own desperately are in need of all three points to maintain its dream of finishing in the top three.

Abia Warriors will also be looking to maintain its unbeaten home record. Indeed this should be a tough test for both teams.

Wikki Tourists v Lobi Stars

After the highly entertaining clash which these two sides provided last weekend, one will be looking forward to this weekend’s match.

Lobi will be desperate to get something from this match especially with its recent poor away record that has seen them win just once in the last five away matches.

As for hosts Wikki, it’s also a case of redeeming its image at home. The Tourists have won just one of its last five matches at home.

Plateau United v Dakkada FC

After last weekend’s match which ended in a goalless draw, both teams will be looking to open up and get some goals this weekend. Dakkada have the best away record this season but Jos is no easy ground to go to. Teams have often been torn apart there and so it is going to be a difficult match for the NPFL newcomers, especially as Plateau United, will like to get a win which could see them return to the top of the table if results elsewhere go their way.

Elsewhere in the NPFL, Enugu Rangers will definitely like to continue its unbeaten run when it faces Akwa United in Enugu while Kano Pillars will be looking to return to winning ways when it faces a highly inconsistent MFM FC. Title chasing Rivers United will be looking to get at least a point when it visits Kwara United in Ilorin.

Matchday 20 Fixtures
Abia Warriors v Enyimba
Rangers v Akwa United
Heartland Owerri v Adamawa United
FC Ifeanyi Ubah v Sunshine Stars
Kano Pillars v MFM FC
Kwara United v Rivers United
Nasarawa United v Jigawa Golden Stars
Plateau United v Dakkada FC
Warri Wolves v Katsina United
Wikki Tourists v Lobi Stars