The NPFL Super 6 kicks off on Tuesday with what looks like pontentially the most entertaining game of the opening match day as two former champions of the NPFL trade tackles in the opening match by 3pm at the Agege stadium.
It will be followed by another enterprising game between the two teams that finished in the top two places in the group B of the regular season by 5pm while FC Ifeanyi Ubah will hope to start on a good note as they face defending Champions Lobi Stars under floodlights.
ENYIMBA V RANGERS – 3 PM
Definitely the pick of the opening day fixture as the two teams have 14 league titles between them, 7 on each sides even though Enyimba won all 7 titles after the turn of the new millennium while Rangers league win in 2016 after 32 years remains their only title within that time.
However, that doesn’t diminish the pedigree of the Oriental derby, with both teams having met twice this season and on both occasions, each team emerged victorious on individual home grounds, this sets up for an interesting clash at the neutral ground where they will both have a fair share of supporters being two of the league’s most successful sides.
For Enyimba they have two players who will feel at home in the game as well as all through the tournament in the nature of Stanley Okorom and Chukwuka Onuwa, both played for MFM before their move to Aba.
Although Rangers do not have such advantage, they can bank on stand out players like Godwin Aguda, Micheal Uchebo and Seka Pascal to deliver the goods.
Player To Watch
Ifeanyi Aneamena (Enyimba)
After letting star player, Mfon Udoh leave before the start of the season, Enyimba were without a big player who can change the tide of games. However in Ifeanyi Aneamena, they have a defender who can be a fortress at the back and a source of goal going forward. The 27-year old scored 6 goals for the people’s elephant in the regular season including a brace in this same fixture played in Aba which ended 3-1 in Enyimba’s favor.
KANO PILLARS V AKWA UNITED – 5 PM
This is the third time this fixture will happen this season after both teams faced off in regular seasons with Kano Pillars failing to beat the promise keepers on both occasions.
After a 1-1 draw in Kano, Akwa United defeated the Sai Masu Gida 3-0 in the corresponding fixture. This time however, a loss is a result which both teams would want to avoid at all cost.
Although they are yet to win an NPFL title, Akwa United are touted as favorites alongside Rangers having had an excellent regular season after which they had a closed camping in Port Harcourt few days to the start of the competition, Kano Pillars on the other hand have experienced players who were pivotal the last time they lifted the trophy in 2014 very much around with the likes of Gambo Muhammed and Rabiu Ali still in the team.
Even though majority of Kano pillars players are not in anyway young compared to United, they managed a good run to the final of the 2018 Aiteo cup before a Rangers comeback from 3goals down forced a shootout which the flying antelopes won.
Players To Watch
Mfon Udoh (Akwa United)
Expectedly, Lagos fans would be hoping to see the former Enyimba man in action especially after ending the regular season with 10 goals and 4 assists. However, it is left to be seen how much impact the newly wed striker will make on the pitch.
Rabiu Ali (Kano pillars)
The skipper of the Northern clubside is a true definition of what you call “Old but Gold”, despite being well past the age of 35, he still leads the team will decisive performance on the pitch finishing the season with 7goals.
FC IFEANYI UBAH V LOBI STARS – 7 PM
Defending Champions of the NPFL, Lobi stars would face a young and talented but largely inconsistent Ifeanyi Ubah team who barely finished 3rd on the group B standings.
Lobi on the other hand had to shuffle between the continent and the local League but managed to confirm Super 6 spots on the final day of the season.
Due to the abdriged format, this will be both teams’ first meeting this season and the defending Champions are neutrals favorite to nick the win on the night.
Players To Watch
Chinedu Anozie (FC Ifeanyi Ubah)
FC Ifeanyi Ubah goalkeeper Chinedu Anozie heads into the play offs with a record of ten clean sheets in 22 matches just 1 behind Niger tornadoes Mustapha Alike. He will be a strong line of defence which Lobi stars could find hard to crack.