NPFL Preview: Rangers, Akwa United, others battle for points on Easter Sunday

The matchday 16 fixtures of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) will be played across the country on Easter Sunday.

Enugu Rangers who are occupying the top spot in Group A of the NPFL, as well as Akwa United who are the leaders in Group B, both have tricky ties ahead of them.

Rangers are playing at home against MFM FC and the Flying Antelopes are wary of the Olukoya Boys who are the only team to have defeated them so far in the league this season.

Having also dropped two points in the mid-week match against Lobi Stars, Rangers are desperately looking to get a win in the Easter Sunday clash.

In the past six matches between Rangers and MFM, the honours have been shared equally; with two wins, two losses and two drawn games between both sides,

Ahead of Sunday’s fixture, Coach Olugbenga Ogunbote of Rangers said he knows MFM would prove a hard nut to crack.

“We appreciate the fact that MFM is not a small team so we shall approach the match with all the zeal required to earn a good win to keep us at the summit of the group. We are not also forgetting the fact that till date, MFM is the only side to have forced a defeat on us and we are determined to repay them handsomely by God’s grace.” Ogunbote told Rangers Media.

He further said, “Except for Bobby Clement and a few others, I have a fit squad to pick from to deliver the needed result that we failed to get against Lobi Stars. I call on our teaming fans to come out in their numbers to cheer us to a resounding victory on this Easter day football encounter. I believe that it shall end in victory and praise.”

On his part, MFM defender, Julius Emiloju, said that they have all it takes to pull off a surprise against Rangers.

He said: “Rangers is just like every other NPFL team. I don’t see anything special in the team. So our game against them will just be like every other match. We know how to play Rangers, if you look at the statistics, you will see that it has always been a tight contest for both teams. I believe we have all it takes to crush them at home. We are very confident. Being the only team that has beaten them this season, I think we can do it again in Enugu.”

For Akwa United who are top of Group B, they have a tricky away tie in Jos against Plateau United.

Akwa United winger, Wisdom Fernando, has revealed that the Promise Keepers will settle for nothing less than victory against the former champions on Sunday.

Fernando in an interview with the club’s official website said that he and his teammates are determined to ensure the team qualifies for playoffs at the end of the season.

“The match against Plateau United will be interesting in many ways. It will be a tough battle because Plateau United are struggling to avoid relegation but we also have our target and we are fully prepared for this game.

“Our mission in Jos this weekend is to pick all three points against Plateau United. I believe that it’s a good time for us to face them. Every match is very important for us now irrespective of where we are playing. We started poorly but by the grace of God, we will finish strong among the top three in our group”.

Akwa United will be facing their former coach, Abdu Maikaba, for the second time this season after they were forced to a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture in Uyo.

NPFL leading scorer, Mfon Udoh, who missed his team’s last two games due to injury has fully recovered and is selected among the 18 players that will prosecute the Matchday 16 game in Jos.

Full Fixtures

Group A

Enugu Rangers Vs MFM FC

Kwara United Vs Bendel Insurance

Lobi Stars Vs Enyimba

Remo Stars Vs Niger Tornadoes

Rivers United FC Vs Sunshine Stars

Wikki Tourist Vs Katsina United

Group B

Go Round Vs Heartland Owerri

Kano Pillars Vs Gombe United

Nasarawa United Vs El Kanemi Warriors

Plateau United Vs Akwa United

Yobe Desert Stars Vs Ifeanyi Ubah United

Delta Force FC Vs Abia Warriors

Photo Caption: Enugu Rangers in a league match against Lobi Stars

Photo Credit: Rangers Media

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