After almost four months of inaction in the Nigeria Professional Football League, the 2021/22 season of the country’s elite division is now ready to begin.
All eyes will be in Lagos, where the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Football Club (MFM FC) will be hosting NPFL new boys Remo Stars.
Unlike other seasons when MFM play their home games at the Agege Stadium, fondly referred to as the Soccer Temple, the Olukoya Boys have adopted the Teslim Balogun Stadium as their temporary home ground.
There are ongoing renovation works at the Agege Stadium.
For the third time, Remo Stars are making a return to the NPFL from the Nigeria National League. This time, the Ikenne-based club are keen to stay up and not record another yoyo season.
Gbenga Ogunbote, who is Remo Stars’ new coach told PREMIUM TIMES the Sky Blues need to start on the right footing in Lagos to ensure they actualise their season target of at least staying up in the Premier cadre.
“My aspiration is to ensure that the team sustains premiership status and finish in an appreciable position” Ogunbote, who is fondly referred to as the Oracle, declared.
Going into Friday’s season-opener, both Remo Stars and MFM FC had tested their might against each other in a number of preseason tournaments.
The Sky Blues overcame the Olukoya Boys twice, beating them 3-2 at the Dapo Abiodun Preseason Tournament while recording a 1-0 win at the Remo Stars Stadium, in the semifinals of the Ogunjobi Gold Cup Preseason Tournament.
The Olukoya Boys at the Legacy Pitch in Lagos also defeated Remo Stars 1-0 to set the stage for a potentially explosive clash on Friday.
MFM FC captain, Nelson Chuks, in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES assured all that he and his teammates are fully prepared and looking forward to a winning start against their South-West rivals, Remo Stars.
He said: “I thank God for the new season that’s about to start, for my team, MFM, we are fully prepared and ready for the match on Friday.
“Actually, we are trying our best, by the special grace of God we will carry the day.
“First of all, we take the game gradually, the way it comes, tomorrow (Friday). All we wish for is total victory.”
Chuks revealed that the season’s minimum target for MFM is to finish in the top four.
Unlike MFM FC, Remo Stars have never recorded a victory in their opening game of the season.
The Sky Blues lost 2-1 to Plateau United in 2017 and could only manage a 1-1 draw with Bendel Insurance in 2019 both at the Gateway International Stadium in Sagamu.
The two sides have met four times in the top-flight division, with MFM winning thrice and drawing just once.
The Olukoya Boys, on three occasions, registered 1-0 victories before playing a 1-1 draw in 2019 at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.
Expectedly, MFM will hope to continue their dominance over the Sky Blue Stars on Friday while, on their part, a win or avoiding defeat will boost the Sky Blue Stars’ confidence going into the 2021/2022 NPFL season.
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