3 Top NPFL Title Gunners And 4 Relegation Battlers

3 Top NPFL Title Gunners And 4 Relegation Battlers

The Nigeria Professional Football League title race and race against relegation has entered the home stretch with five rounds of matches remaining. Both ends of the race have reached feverish stage.

The top four positions and relegation-bound teams will be decided after these games. 

While Plateau United have emerged as strong favourites to be crowned the NPFL champions, two other clubs, MFM AND Akwa United, have outside chances competing for the title. At the rear, four clubs; Shooting Stars, Gombe United, Remo Stars and ABS are Stepping up their battles for survival. 

Completesportsnigeria.com's JOHNNY EDWARD lays the title gunners and relegation fighter bare and postulates how they could finish a the end on the season

 

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PLATEAU UNITED

Plateau United's 1-1 draw away at Kano Pillars on matchday-33 further strengthened their position at the top of the Nigeria Professional Football League,  but playing three away games against teams battling for survival and aiming for a continental ticket in their next five games could ruin their chances of winning the title.

Ahome clash against title rivals MFM next Sunday is exactly the type of tricky fixture in which Kennedy Boboye’s men must win to firmly close in on the title. 

Their saving grace could be if they manage to secure at least a crucial point at home on Sunday and ensure they stay unbeaten in their next three games and win their two home games. 

‎On paper, Plateau United have the motivation to win their two remaining home fixtures, but nothing is certain when it comes to this NPFL, as we have seen all season. They are the form team in the division winning three games, drawing two in their last five games.

Plateau United's NEXT 5 GAMES              

MFM                   H

ABS                    A

Rivers United     H            

Wikki Tourist     A

Enugu Rangers    A

Current position/ points:  (1st) 59 points.

 

MFM FC

MFM's goalless draw against Enyimba has added a smidgen of intrigue to the title race. Fidelis Ilechukwu's side are back to form now with one draw three wins and a defeat in their last five games after hitting a bump on the road in search for their first ever NPFL title. They need to win all their remaining games and hope that  Plateau United drop at least four points to stand a good chance of landing the title.

Plateau United are their greatest threat, though the Olukoya Boys still have much to do if they intend to stage a late-season surge for the title. Their opponent on Sunday, leaders Plateau, have their eyes on a different route to the title and their final game away to Enugu Rangers could be a cog in the wheel of their ambition. 

MFM'S NEXT 5 GAMES 

Plateau United                 A

Gombe United                  H

Abia Warriors                 A

Nasarawa United             H

El Kanemi Warriors         A

Current position/ points:  (2nd) 56 points.

 

AKWA UNITED

One look at the list of remaining matches of Akwa United shows why they have chance to win the title, but with a touch challenge. The Uyo side's run-in begins with an home clash against Niger Tornadoes and with four key players missing due to national assignment with the CHAN Super Eagles, it going to be tough.

Realistically, Abdul Maikaba’s men need a win from that their remaining games to keep any lingering hope of winning the title. It's going to be tough for the Promise Keepers with away games to FC Ifeanyi Ubah who have lost just one game in their last five games and Shooting Stars who must win their home game to stand a chance of avoiding the drop. Their form guide looks impressive despite their 1-0 loss to Sunshine Stars in Ijebu Ode last weekend. They have won two games and drawn two in their last five games.

AKWA UNITED'S NEXT 5 GAMES

Niger Tornadoes              H                            

Ifeanyi Uba                         A

Lobi Stars                             H

Shooting Stars                   A

Kano Pillars                         H

Current position/ points:  (3rd) 51 points.

 

RELEGATION FIGHTERS

SHOOTING STARS SC

Fatai Amoo’s team have a habit of pulling off unlikely victories playing in front of their home fans– as they showed in their last seven games.  3SC could be relegated by the time they visit Niger Tornadoes on the last day of the season, but that could be averted if the Oluyole Warriors' away record improves in the coming weeks. They recorded back to back draws against Enugu Rangers and Remo Stars away and defeated Gombe United 2-0, but they must avoid away defeat when they face Abia Warriors, El Kanemi Warriors and Niger Tornadoes to stand a chance of avoiding the drop.

SHOOTING STARS' NEXT 5 GAMES

Abia Warriors                  A

Nasarawa United              H

El Kanemi Warriors          A

Akwa United                     H

Niger Tornadoes              A

Shooting Stars current position/ points:14th, 43 points

 

REMO STARS

Fatai Osho’s reign at the club has been an utter shamble. The manager has produced 13 defeats, four draws and  three wins from his 20 games in charge. That’s a win percentage of 11%.  

But it’s not all Osho’s fault, but of course,  he cannot absolve himself completely from the run of defeats that have occurred under his watch since he took charge of the team after the exit of Nduka Ugbade.

Remo Stars stand a mathematical chance of surviving if they win their remaining games, but their survival is likely to rest on the ineptitude of about seven teams in the same relegation fight rather than their own fighting spirit to stay up. With matches against Wikki Tourist and Katsina United away, it will be tough to place a bet on Osho's men not going down to the second tier Nigeria National League next season.

REMO STARS NEXT 5 GAMES

Rivers United     H

Wikki Tourist      A

Enugu Rangers  H

Katsina United  A

Sunshine Stars  H

Remo Stars current position/ points: 20th, 29 points

 

ABS FC

ABS’s recent renaissance has been staggering. ABS need at least 12 points to be sure of safety.

ABS NEXT SIX GAMES

Enyimba               A

Plateau United     H            

Gombe United      A

Abia Warriors     H

Nasarawa United A

ABS current position/ points: 17th, 43 points

 

GOMBE UNITED

Gombe United have recorded three points from a possible 15 in their last five games, and this shows exactly why they are struggling. Gombe United are notoriously difficult to predict. Inconsistency seems to be in the club’s DNA and their chances looks slimmer. It will not be straightforward though. They need to roll their sleeves up and if they are to avoid the drop.

GOMBE UNITED NEXT 5 GAMES

Kano Pillars         H

MFM                   A

ABS                    H

Rivers United     A

Wikki Tourist     H

Gombe United current position/ points: 19th, 37 points

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