Saturday, March 12, 2016 7:52 am
*Six matches to be played Sunday, 3 matches postponed
Abia Warriors Football Club will on Sunday host league leaders Rangers International at the Umuahia Township Stadium in the star match of the 2015/2016 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) week six. It has been tagged the Oriental Derby.
Six of the week six matches have been scheduled for Sunday at the various match venues across the country. In the other fixtures, Giwa FC will host Sunshine Stars of Akure in Jos, while Ikorodu United will travel to Nnewi to be guests of FC IfeanyiUbah.
MFM FC of Lagos will host El-Kanemi Warriors at the Agege Township Stadium in Lagos.
Lobi Stars host Kano Pillars in Makurdi, while Niger Tornadoes of Minna host Rivers United of Port Harcourt in Lokoja.
However, the League Management Company (LMC) have announced the postponement of three matches.
These are: Wikki Tourists versus Warri Wolves, Enyimba International versus Heartland FC and Nasarawa United versus Shooting Stars of Ibadan.
In what has been tagged an “Oriental derby’’, the clash between Abia Warriors and Rangers International FC of Enugu is expected to be the highlight of the weekend.
Rangers have been having a good run in the league this season, winning three matches, drawing one and losing one away.
Abia Warriors, currently in the ninth position on the table, have won only one match away, against Heartland in Owerri, and have drawn all their remaining matches.
In their previous encounters, Rangers have had the upper hand over their opponent, winning twice at home and drawing twice away in Umuahia.
Abia Warriors seem to be the weaker side in the derby as they have failed to win any match against the Enugu based side in two seasons, both home and away.
Uche Ihuarulam, a striker in Abia Warriors, however expressed confidence that his team would defeat the Flying Antelopes on Sunday in Umuahia.
He said Rangers’ stay at the top of the league table this season is temporary.
“We have been training well and we are all confident that Rangers will fall on Sunday. Though they are on top of the table, but we don’t fear them at all.
“We want the maximum points and nothing else,’’ Ihuarulam said.
Rangers are topping the table with superior goals difference, ahead of Kano Pillars and MFM FC who have 10 points each from five matches.
The Flying Antelopes have had three wins at home against Wikki Tourists, Niger Tornadoes and Plateau United, and a draw away in Warri against Warri Wolves.
They lost their first match of the season against Kano Pillars 1-2 in Kano.
Abia Warriors on the other hand are currently ninth on the league, after draws with Plateau United and Ikorodu United away.
They also drew at home against Kano Pillars and El-Kanemi, and thus have seven points from a possible 15 so far this season.
Imama Amapakabo, Head Coach of Rangers, said he was expecting a tough tie in Umuahia, but assured the club’s fans of a good result.
“We are working and preparing hard for the match against Abia Warriors. We know it will be a tough match in Umuahia. But we have done it before and we hope to defeat them again,’’ he said.
Godswill Onyemaechi, a Rangers’ supporter, said he looked forward to the match against Abia Warriors.
He said Rangers would beat Abia Warriors any day.
“They have not beaten us in the last few games. So, I doubt if they can beat us this season, because our players are not sleeping. Rangers will win in Umuahia. There is no contest, and it is a done deal,’’ the football fan said.