Another oriental derby is on the menu in the Nigeria Professional Football League this weekend as Heartland play host to Enugu Rangers in one of the weekend’s Match-Day 3 games.
The first oriental derby for the season ended goalless in the midweek between Enyimba and Heartland at the UJ Esuene in Calabar.
Fans that would be at the 15,000 capacity Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, on Sunday will hope for a better deal this time.
Going into the derby clash, Heartland started life back in the premiership on a not too impressive note; chalking up two points from a possible six. It is even worse for their visiting neighbours, Rangers, who have no points in the first two matches of the 2018 season. But the Flying Antelopes captain, Okechukwu Odita, has assured of a better display in Owerri.
“We understand the feelings of our numerous supporters all over the world over our not too good start to the season; but we pledge to spill our blood on the field of Owerri to come out victorious. It will be a tough game like it always used to be whenever we play, and we are going there to turn around our fortunes for the better this season,” said the Rangers captain.
On his part, Heartland captain, Julius Ubido, said, “We have never lost to Rangers in Owerri and we don’t intend to let that happen not now that our fans are standing behind us. We did not start the season well and we hope to make this game count in our favour to place us where we rightly belong.”
In some of the other games for Sunday, one of the bottom two sides, Nasarawa United, will be keen to get off their season with a home win against Sunshine Stars.
A difficult trip to Nnewi to face FC Ifeanyiubah is on the cards for another bottom side, Kwara United
At the top of the pile, champions Plateau United and Niger Tornadoes face tricky ties as they look to preserve their perfect start to the season.
Kennedy Boboye will lead Plateau United to face his former employers, Abia Warriors, at the Umuahia Township Stadium.
On their part, Tornadoes, who top the ranking by virtue of superior goals for, are in buoyant mood heading into their game against Wikki Tourists at the Jos New Stadium.
Elsewhere, last season’s runners-up MFM FC will square up with El-Kanemi Warriors in Maiduguri where they lost on the final day of the season 2-1.
Rivers United and four-time champions, Kano Pillars, go head to head at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt.
NPFL Full Fixtures January 21
FC Ifeanyi Ubah vs Kwara United FC
Wikki Tourists FC vs Niger Tornadoes FC
Akwa United FC vs Yobe Desert Stars FC
Lobi Stars FC vs Go-Round FC
Heartland FC vs Rangers int’l FC
Katsina United FC vs Enyimba int’l FC
Nasarawa United FC vs Sunshine Stars FC
Rivers United FC vs Kano Pillars FC
Abia Warriors FC vs Plateau United FC
El-Kanemi Warriors FC vs MFM FC
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