NPFL Match Day 5 preview

By Zazi Bariza

With week five of the current Nigerian Professional Football League season already before us; takes you through three games that are expected to produce interesting outcomes this weekend.


The hosts will have to put behind them the disappointment of conceding late in their mid week game against Enyimba to lose what could have been a famous point for them.

Four points from their opening three games will not be seen as a poor return, but their goal scoring has to be worked upon.

Agbane Candy’s equalizer against Abia Warriors, which goes in history as their first ever goal in Nigeria’s elite division; and Balogun Kabir’s 11th minute winner against Lobi have been all they have been able to manage this term.

For MFM, have taken the league by storm, winning three of their opening four games, a form that has tied them on points with leaders Lobi Stars.

One thing that has worked for this team has been their tendency to start games very strongly. Five of their six league goals so far have come around the first half hour of matches.

There second half form has been suspect, though. Just a goal during the second period of games, with three conceded is something coach Fidelis Ilechukwu has to be wary of.

Goal scoring wise, the ‘Miracle Boys’ will rely on the potency of striker Musa Newman, who has the accolade of scoring their very first goal in Nigerian top flight.

Whatever the outcome of the game turns out to be, one certainty is that Lagos fans will be in carnival mood all through as they enjoy the first Lagos derby in 23 years.


El-Kanemi come into this game on a poor run of form that has seen them fail to pick even a point from any of their three games.

A 1-2 loss home loss to Wikki Tourists on the opening day was followed by losses to Abia Warriors and Lobi Stars on the road.

With a goal difference of minus five, the worst in the league so far, Ladan Bosso’s men have to plug their leaky defense, as well as add more goals to the solitary goal they have managed thus far ( Ibrahim Mustapha’s goal against Abia Warriors).

ENYIMBA: After scoring in their last two games in all competitions, some are beginning to think that the goal shyness that saw Enyimba go over seven hours without a single goal has been overcome. No doubt, their football has been fluid, and coach Paul Aiyegbogun would like to see more of such exchange that led to their solitary goal only goal against Ikorodu United on Thursday.

There may be fears though, of fatigue, after playing a grilling game on Thursday evening, and having to travel far north for a game three days later; but Aiyegbogun has a large squad to rotate with.  

The Peoples’s Elephant will definitely be the favourites to take this one. They can capitalize on El-Kanemi’s extremely poor defense and form, which has pegged rock bottom on the log without a point.

Yet, it must be noted that El-Kanemi will certainly not go the entire season without points, and it is from any of these games that they will pick points.


Rivers United will welcome back February’s LBA winner, Fredrick Obomate, who missed their midweek trip to Giwa due to academic engagements. The return of the diminutive midfielder will be a massive boost for the hosts who will be looking forward to making it three out of three at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium this season.
Obaomate had prior to the game against Giwa had a hand in all four goals scored by his team, scoring three and assisting the other.

For the visitors, a poor start to the season has seen them fail to pick points from two games _ both against newly promoted sides. The shocking home loss to MFM on the opening day of the season was succeeded by that 2-0 defeat at Niger Tornadoes in midweek. It has left last season’s ‘wonder team’ as the only side, beside El-Kanemi, without a point.

Although they have two outstanding games, Kabiru Dogo must get a result from the city where he began his reign as head coach of Nasarawa United last season.


Definitely a matchup of arguably two of the most entertaining sides in the league.
In spite of all their profligacy, no team have managed more goals than Rangers this term and when at their attacking best, the Flying Antelopes are a delight to watch. That accounts for their record of scoring in all 15 home games under Imama Amapakabo.

If the front three of Chiamaka Madu, Osas Okoro and Aguda Godwin can take the chances that fall to them, fans at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium will be in for an avalanche of goals.

They will also be buoyed by their goalless draw against Warri Wolves on Wednesday, their first clean sheet in 15 games.

Wikki themselves will not be tourists in Enugu. Having secured four points on the road this term, they look set to continue with the fine away form they posted last season when they racked four away wins to emerge as the league’s second best travelling side.

They will rely on the fine scoring form of Godwin Obaje who got two in their 3-0 dumping of Plateau United last Wednesday. Mubarak Umar, who was their top scorer last season, has also been in terrific form. On their day, the duo can ensure that Wikki get a favourable result from the oriental city of Enugu.

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