By Zazi Bariza
Players and officials of Nigeria Professional Football League clubs have expressed certainty that teams will put up improved displays in this weekend’s Match Day 6 round of fixtures.
This they claim is as a result of extra days of rest enjoyed by players following the suspension of midweek matches.
Sunshine Stars head coach, Kayode Olujohungbe says footballers always perform better when they are well rested.
“Once teams have enough rest and play fewer games per week, no doubt the quality will rise.
“Teams will be able to use their best eleven for every game and medical staff will also be able to take care of injured players.
“Psychologically, the players will fare better; so expect the quality to improve,” Olujohungbe said.
Enyimba captain, Mfon Udoh shares same thoughts. The 24-year old striker says he expects his team to put up an improved display against El Kanemi on Sunday.
“Enyimba should have traveled to Maiduguri on Monday for the game (against El Kanemi) that should have been played on Wednesday,” the former Akwa United player told Naijafootball247.com.
“That would have been very stressful. But since it was shifted to Sunday, the teams have been able to rest; so expect a good performance from us.”
Oghene Elija, whose Plateau United will be away at Nasarawa United on Sunday, revealed that the decision to suspend midweek games afforded his team the opportunity to declare last Monday a training-free day.
“I am very happy the game was shifted to Sunday. It has given us the chance to have enough rest.
“After playing our last match last Sunday, we rested on Monday before returning to training on Tuesday. This will definitely make play to improve.”
The hectic nature of the opening rounds of matches, which squeezed five match days into two weeks, raised an outcry from players and coaches of the clubs who complained that their players barely had time to rest and train between match days.
In a swift response, the League Management Company (LMC) decided to suspend midweek matches, beginning with the match day six games originally scheduled for Wednesday 1st February.
Match day six of the NPFL will see table topping Plateau United take a short trip to Lafia where they will hope to continue their brilliant start to the season against Nasarawa United. The Jos-based outfit lead the NPFL log on 13 points, haven won four and drawn one of their opening five matches.
In a promising oriental derby, Federation Cup champions, Ifeanyi Uba, will look to get their season on track when they welcome last season’s winners, Rangers to the FC Ifeanyi Uba International Stadium. Haven picked only four points so far this term, the Anambra Warriors cannot afford to drop further points, even against their eastern neighbours who have also shared grave times with unfavourable results.
NPFL MATCH DAY 6 FIXTURES
Kano Pillars vs ABS
Shooting Stars vs Rivers United
Lobi Stars vs Wikki Tourists
FC Ifeanyiubah vs Rangers Int’l
Niger Tornadoes vs Katsina United
Akwa United vs Remo Stars
El Kanemi Warriors vs Enyimba
Nasarawa United vs Plateau United
Abia Warriors vs Gombe United
Sunshine Stars vs MFM