The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) 2021/2022 season is finally set to get underway this weekend. In what will be the season’s opener, MFM will host newly promoted Remo Stars at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena on Friday evening.
In the Abia derby, Enyimba has been the dominant side in recent years. To put in perspective, the Aba Elephants have won the past six meetings and could claim another win on Sunday. New coach Finidi George will hope to begin the domestic campaign just like they have done on the continent, winning their first three games. For Abia Warriors, having lost Adekunle Adeleke, Ojo Olorunleke, Fatai Abdullahi, it is left to be seen how Imama Amapakabo and the rest of the squad will fare this season.
MFM are unbeaten against Remo Stars in the NPFL (W2 D2), conceding just a goal in those four games. However, this particular game will be played away from the Church Boy’s traditional home ground – Agege Stadium, which could offer some opportunity to Gbenga Ogunbote’s men to claim their first win against the Lagos side.
Defending Champions Akwa United will begin their title defense against former Champions Kano Pillars on Sunday. Kennedy Boboye’s men have been slow starters in recent seasons and will be keen to begin on a high. Salisu Yusuf has made a return to Sai Masu Gida and would hope to put an end to his side’s seven-game losing streak against the Promise Keepers in Uyo.
Coach Eddy Dombraye will begin his assignment at Lobi Stars against Stanley Eguma’s Rivers United at the Aper Aku Stadium. The Pride of Rivers are yet to pick a point against the Makurdi side and will be out to put an end to that this Sunday.
In the battle of the promoted sides, Gombe United will host Shooting Stars at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe. While Niger Tornadoes will host Fidelis Ilechukwu’s Plateau United in a North-Central derby at their adopted home ground in Ilorin.
After last season’s feat where they, unfortunately, missed the continental ticket on the final day, Nasarawa United will travel to Owerri to face new-look Heartland. Silas Nwankwo, last season’s golden boot winner, is still with the solid miners while the home side has brought in Hassan Abd’Allah to replace the departed Ilechukwu.
Abdu Maikaba and Enugu Rangers will begin life without the influential Ibrahim Olawoyin when they travel up north to face Katsina United in Katsina – a ground they have only scored a goal in their past four visits. In the week’s remaining fixtures, Deji Ayeni’s Sunshine Stars will lock horns with Wikki Tourists in Akure, while last season’s overachievers Kwara United will host Dakkada FC in Ilorin.
MFM v Remo Stars
Akwa United vs Kano Pillars
Lobi Stars vs Rivers United
Enyimba vs Abia Warriors
Heartland vs Nasarawa United
Sunshine Stars vs Wikki Tourists
Gombe United vs Shooting Stars
Kwara United vs Dakkada
Niger Tornadoes vs Plateau United
Katsina United vs Rangers