By Sab Osuji:
Nigeria Professional Football League clubs will pay their respects to the late Stephen Keshi by wearing black armbands during Wednesday’s league fixtures.
Former Super Eagles captain and head coach Keshi passed on in the early hours of Wednesday, leaving Nigerians in shock. The Nigeria Football Federation and the League Management Company have directed players to honour Keshi with the black armbands.
Enugu Rangers will all be out for Kano Pillars’ scalp in their match day 21 clash at Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Flying Antelopes lost 2-1 at Sani Abacha Stadium in the reverse fixture despite taking the lead in the game.
Rangers are full of confidence having beaten Oriental rivals Heartland 1-0 at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri on Sunday, their first win at Naze Millionaires in 15 visits.
The Coal City Flying Antelopes’ win away to Heartland revived their title ambition as they moved to within touching distance of leaders Wikki Tourists and Rivers United.
The shift in date by 24 hours may not remove the shine from the clash between Enyimba and Rivers United.
The match has been shifted to Thursday to make way for Abia Warriors and bottom-of-the table Ikorodu United clash on Wednesday.
Rivers United won the reverse fixture at Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt back in February.
Manager Stanley Eguma and his charges are enjoying a good ride in form and an unlikely win at Enyimba will further give their title push some leverage.
However, the People’s Elephant who are current holders of the Nigerian top flight diadem, are ambitious for an eighth title, hence they will throw everything at their disposal into the game that will further serve as dress rehearsal for their CAF Champions League opening Group B clash with Zamalek of Egypt come June 17.
Enyimba are four points behind Rivers United.
Warri Wolves will welcome relegation haunted Heartland in Warri with the visitors aiming to banish the ghost of their 2-1 home defeat by Rangers on Sunday.
Similarly, Wolves will be out erase the memory of the 2-0 defeat they suffered in the hands of El-Kanemi Warriors on Saturday.
Wolves earned a point when they visited Heartland in the reverse fixture following a goalless draw.
League leaders Wikki Tourists will welcome El-Kanemi Warriors hoping to complete a double over Ladan Bosso’s charges.
Wikki Tourists won the reverse game 1-0 and a win on Wednesday would see the Abdullahi Maikaba squad go on a three-match winning run following back-to-back wins against Ikorodu United.
El-Kanemi will have their hands full containing Wikki Tourists’ packed midfield and striker Godwin Obaje who sits top on the NPFL top scorers chart with 13 goals.
Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi will provide a litmus test for Gbenga Ogunbote’s resolve to steer Shooting Stars to safety in the campaign when they file out against Lobi Stars.
Ogunbote marked his return to 3SC with a comprehensive 3-0 thrashing of Akwa United on Sunday.
Kingsley Eduwo who scored the winner for Lobi in their reverse fixture win at 3SC will be on parade as Godwin Uwua sends out his troops comprising Anthony Okpotu against the invading Oluyole Warriors.
MFM were not on duty during the match day 20 games following the expulsion of the opponents, FC Giwa, from the league on account of breaches in the framwork of the league.
Giwa did not honour two games and failed to continue a game against Rangers on neutral venue after their home fans were alleged to have invaded the pitch in Jos.
The Lagos side will welcome Nasarawa United on Wednesday, hoping to complete the double over them, having shocked the Solid Miners 2-1 in Lafia during their Premier League debut match.
The Nest of Champions, Uyo, will be the cynosure of all eyes when Akwa United welcome Sunshine Stars.
Akwa were handed a devastating 3-0 battering by Shooting. Stars in Ibadan last Sunday and it is now the ideal time for interim managern Ere Dokubo to convinve Akwa United management under paul Bassey that he can do it.
Rangers Vs Kano Pillars
Abia Warriors Vs Ikorodu United
MFM Vs Nasarawa United
Wikki Tourists Vs El-Kanemi Warriors
Akwa United Vs Sunshine Stars
Lobi Stars Vs Shooting Stars
Warri Wolves Vs Heartland
Tornadoes Vs Plateau Utd
Enyimba Vs Rivers Utd