—Pillars Gun For No.200 In Kano, Sunshine Face Tricky Taraba Trip
By Adeboye Amosu:
Action will resume in the Nigeria Professional Football League this weekend after the two weeks mid-season break with the top contenders for the title expected to continue the fight to dethrone holders Kano Pillars.
Like on the final day of the first stanza, attention will once be on the Oriental derby clash between Enyimba and Rangers.
Enyimba edged their fierce rivals 2-1 in Enugu a forthnight ago to keep in touch with leaders Sunshine Stars and will be keen to beat the Flying Antelopes once again to boost their chances of winning a record seventh title.
The Peoples Elephant have bolstered their squad with four new additions and coach Kadiri Ikhana now has a large pool of players to pick from which makes them favourites to win this contest.
Leaders Sunshine Stars face a tricky road trip to Taraba United. The Akure Gunners suffered a scare in the reverse fixture when they came from a goal down to beat the basement side 2-1 in Akure.
Their build-up to the game has been marred by a five-day strike embarked on by the players to protest the non-payment of their salaries.
The players however seem galvanized for the challenges ahead after they were paid two months salaries by the management of the club.
Taraba United are without a win in their last 17 games and if their courageous performance in the reverse fixture is anything to go by, then Sunshinse Stars can expect a tough afternoon.
Fourth-placed Wikki Tourists will have revenge on their mind when they host Heartland at home.
The Bauchi-based side were completely pulverized 4-0 a forthnight ago and desperately need a win to keep up pace with the frontrunners.
Heartland have the edge over the hosts as they have not lost to them in the league since January 2012.
Wikki have dropped six points at home this season.
Newly appointed head coach of Kano Pillars Mohammed Babaganaru will be keen to get second stint back at the club on a winning note when they confront Lobi Stars at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
A win in the game will see Pillars extend their unbeaten home run to 200.
Sixth placed Giwa FC, who are five points behind leaders Sunshine Stars, will entertain Kwara United at the Rwang Pam Stadium.
Kwara United won the first leg 3-1 two weeks ago in Ilorin.
Shooting Stars will travel up north to face El-Kanemi Warriors and will look to do a double over their hosts who they struggled to beat 2-1 in their last fixture.
FC IfeanyiUbah and Abia Warriors will clash in another Oriental derby, while Bayelsa United will host Akwa United in the final fixture of the weekend at the Oghara Township.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Enyimba v Rangers
Taraba United v Sunshine Stars
Wikki Tourists v Heartland
Giwa FC v Kwara United
El-kanemi v 3SC
Bayelsa Utd v Akwa United
Ifeanyi Ubah v Abia Warriors
Kano Pillars v Lobis Stars