KANO PILLARS V ENYIMBA
VENUE: SANI ABACHA STADIUM, KANO
DATE: SUNDAY,APRIL 19,2015 TIME:4PM
Nigeria champions, Kano Pillars will host Federation Cup holders and league runners-up, Enyimba, on Sunday in a Week 4 game in Kano.
Both teams crashed out in the first round of the CAF Champions League and they have now shifted their attention to the league as they aim to restore lost pride.
Even though the 25,000 capacity Sani Abacha stadium is a ground where only a few teams had emerged unscathed, the People’s Elephant are well armed with a knowledge of what the host will throw at them and are likely to put up a good fight, and also given how their Abia State FA Cup win on Wednesday would have buoyed them.
Naturally, both sides cannot be evaluated by their performances in the current league season as it’s only three match days old and unlikely to provide a good enough yardstick, but a glimpse into how the champions and runners-up last season fared in their brief continental campaign can be telling.
For Kano Pillars, overrunning a less fancied Al Malakia of South Sudan was no problem, but face to face with a more formidable Fetouan Maghribian side that paraded one of the stars of Holland 2005 in Mouhcine Iajour, Pillars could not hold their own and completely fell apart.
For Enyimba, it was another missed opportunity to grab a third CAF Champions League crown.
After an emphatic 4-0 aggregate win over Buffles du Borgu in the preliminary round; torrents of questionable calls from the centre referee gifted Egypt’s Smouha an undeserved 2-0 victory to overturn the 1-0 first leg win Enyimba had carried into the game in Alexandria.
Notwithstanding the manner of their continental exits, one indisputable fact is that Enyimba and Pillars parade the best and most skillful legs in the league.
Enyimba boasts the likes of Raphael Boumsong, Mfon Udoh, Kingsley Sokari and Chijioke Ejiogu while Pillars parade players such as of Gambo Mohammed, Bello Koffamata, Theophilous Afelokhai and Rabiu Ali.
THEY SAID IT… THEY SAID IT… THEY SAID IT….THEY SAID IT…
“We were refreshed for the game against Enyimba. We were given four days off to freshen up and that we have done.
“We want to remove the bad memory of losing out in the CAF Champions League, by doing well against Enyimba on Sunday. We want to bring back joy and smiles to our fans again. We will surely go for victory.”ISAAC LOUTE, KANO PILLARS DEFENDER.
“Our mindset is now towards the league after the Champions League exit. We are going to approach the game like a championship decider.
“For like two seasons now, our games against them have always been title deciders, so we see this meeting too like that. We have the league to play for now.”CHINEDU UDOJI, ENYIMBA CAPTAIN.
A low-scoring game
.There has been a clear dichotomy in games between these two sides in recent times. Encounters in Aba are often high-scoring, entertaining encounters – none of the last three has produced less than three goals – while games in Kano are often cagey and tense. Of the last three meetings between these sides in Kano in the league, only once has more than one goal been scored.
Enyimba to end their barren run in Kano
There is no shame in being a part of a statistic as impressive as Pillars decade-long unbeaten run at home for Enyimba. However, it is barely credible that you have to go all the way back to 2007 – in a 1-1 draw – for the last time the Peoples’ Elephant scored a goal at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
Indeed, the worst defeat to Masu Gida came in 2010: a crushing 3-0 reverse at the hands of the Pillars. Enyimba would go on to win the title that year in spite of this, but surely this is the time to end the hoodoo; to be the best, you have to beat the best.
KWARA UNITED Vs HEARTLAND
Venue: Ilorin Township stadium
Date: SUNDAY,APRIL 19,2015
This is a battle between two sides who are yet to taste defeat this season. It will be interesting to see if the status quo will still be maintained after 90 minutes as the home side are sure to go all out for victory after recording only a win from their opening three games.
Heartland have proved they can score goals, registering five in their last game against Nasarawa United and they also beat Shooting Stars Sports Club 2-1 in their last away fixtures.
NASARAWA UNITED Vs 3SC
Venue: Lafia Township Stadium
Date: SUNDAY,APRIL 19,2015
Shooting Stars sports club of Ibadan are finding life back in the topflight a tough one to handle.
The Oluyole Warlords are without a win after three rounds of matches and they face a tough away fixture against Nasarawa United again this weekend.
The home side t0o have struggled to impress this season recording only a win and two defeats so far.
SUNSHINE STARS Vs DOLPHINS
VENUE:Akure Township Stadium
DATE:SUNDAY, APRIL 19,2015
Sunshine Stars will want to get back to winning ways once again, following defeat to Giwa Football Club of Jos in their last game.
They will look good to claim maximum points in this one as Dolphins have struggled to hit the mark this season.
The Port harcourt based side are still looking for their first win of the campaign.
RANGERS INT`L Vs GIWA FC
Venue: Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium,Enugu
Date:SUNDAY, APRIL 19,2015
Rangers are looking to win their first title in 31 years and if they want to achieve that objective,it’s important they win games like this one.
Both sides enjoyed contrasting fortunes in their last game with Rangers going down 1-0 to Oriental rivals Gabros while Giwa enjoyed their first win of the season, edging out Sunshine Stars 1-0.
But the home side have fared better in their games and they look good to secure maximum points.
BAYELSA UNITED Vs FC TARABA
VENUE:Oghara Township Stadium
DATE: SUNDAY, APRIL 19,2015
Bayelsa United will look to end FC Taraba’s unbeatun run in this week four clash.
Taraba lead the Nigeria Premier League table with seven points from three games, while Bayelsa United are 19th on the table with a point from three games and are yet to win a game this season.