Epic battles as NPFL enters match Day 4
A full programme of mouthwatering fixtures are on the Card, as the revamped 2022/23 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), enters Day-4 this weekend, at designated match venues, across the country.
The ten games, across the two Groups, are headlined by two potentially explosive and intriguing encounters
scheduled for the Ogbe Stadium, in Benin City, where Bendel Insurance will play host to in-form Remo Stars of Ikene; and in Aba, where eight time Champions, Enyimba International are home to Kwara United of Ilorin.
After three round of matches played across board so far; promoted Insurance of Benin and Remo Stars are the only teams out there, still with a perfect win record.
With nine points apiece and three road victories under their belts collectively all attention will be focused on this prospective thriller in Benin, on Saturday; but the twinkling stars from Remo in Ogun State, coached by David Ogundade, as the only team in the top flight yet to concede this season.
While smarting from the 2-0 thrashing of 3SC of Ibadan, in derby on Wednesday, look good enough to cause Coach Monday Odigie’s Edo Arsenal a handful of worries.
Still on Saturday, Kwara United will in Aba feel the might of Enyimba in Aba as The Afonja Warriors lost in Ibadan to Insurance in somewhat controversial circumstances; but victory against the Aba People’s Elephant in their fortress is very unlikely.
All other Day-4 fixtures are slated for Sunday, and that includes the three other Group A ties, and all five Group B games.
Having lost their season opener at the Godswill Apkabio International Stadium, 2021 Champions, Akwa United has the opportunity to make a amends, when battling Plateau United, in Uyo.
The Promise Keepers drew goal less at Enyimba, before fully redeeming their pride with a 3-0 mauling of Nasarawa United who hosted them, in Jos.
Gombe United, are good travellers, having drawn the two matches they played away from home so far, but can they shock an inform Akwa United side, in thier backyard? Ninety minutes, and added time will tell.
Two promoted sides, Shooting Stars and El-kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri, are pitted against each other, in a must win encounter for Coach Gbenga Ogunbote, whose 2 points so far, has raised some eye brows, amongst the ever volatile fan-base of the Oluyole Warriors .
In Group B; Lobi Stars are already in Jos, for the visit of Bayelsa United, following the ban imposed on the Aper Akù Stadium in Makurdi, lately. It is left to be seen if Lobi Stars can build on thier smash and grab win, away to Abia Warriors, in Umuahia and pick the maximum points.
Dakkada FC and reigning Champions, Rivers United are locked in a South South derby to be played in Uyo; Rangers int walk a very tight rope, when facing a well oiled Niger Tornadoes side, in Minna.
With maximum points, from their previous two matches, already in the bag; the Ikon Allah Boys were harshly denied a goal against Rivers United, in Port Harcourt, and having lost 1-2 on Wednesday, a struggling Rangers International, with just one point so far, and under pressure to end their run of unimpressive results, could bear the brunt.
Elsewhere, Sunshine Stars and Abia Warriors will slug it out in Akure; while Wikki Tourists of Bauchi, host new Boys, Doma United FC in an eagerly awaited North-East derby, that pits the two sides from the Old Bauchi State, against each other.
In another development, Government Secondary School Karu in Nasarawa State defeated Government Secondary School Garki 18-13; to emerge Boys Champions, of the 2022 Power Forward, Basketball Championships, for post primary schools in the Federal Capital Territory.
Similarly, Government Secondary School Karu trounced Roberto Schools 33-09, with Alaje Sunday leading the scoring with 19 points, as they were crowned back-to-back Girls Champions, at the 8th edition of the event.
Both finals at Package B of the MKO Abiola National Stadium Abuja, preceded the playoff for 3rd and 4th places; which saw Government Secondary School Wuse Zone 3, defeat Total Child Model School, Dutse Alhaji 13-8, at the same venue.
Like the Girls Bronze medal match, the Boys losers’ final, played on Wednesday, was won by Government Secondary School Wuse Zone 3, who out dunked GSS Kubwa 23-17, in a frenetic but thrilling encounter.
Captains of the Victorious Boys team, Shittu Rasaki Emmanuel praised their opponent in the final, as a good side that gave them a stiff fight in the first two quarters. He also urged the organisers to do more in training coaches that will help introduce the game to do many youths who are passionate about playing basketball.
The Vice-President Africa, and Head of NBA Nigeria, Miss Gbemisola Abudu lauded all the partners and stakeholders for the success of the programme which she said has in nine years, impacted no fewer than 200,000 youths in ten communities of the FCT.
American basketball legend, and 1992 NBA Slam Dunk Champion, Cedric Ceballos said Basketball was just the vehicle and means of helping the youth through their education, so that they can be better equipped with live skills, that would equip them to make better decisions throughout their lives.
The Nigeria, Country Director for Pan Africare, Dr Patrick Adah said he was excited to be at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja to witness the displays in the finalé of the ninth season, and recounted some of his achievements, and legacies, including the building and renovation of courts, for some of the participating schools.
Reporting by Chinedum Ohanusi; editing by Adeniyi Bakare & Julian Osamoto