Completessportsnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD previews the action with a few posers as the Nigeria Professional Football League returns after a long break…
1) All eyes on Stephen Odey
After trials with Danish club FC Midtjylland, Stephen Odey will be the cynosure of all Lagos eyes on Sunday when he leads the attack of MFM out in the Nigeria Professional Football League game against Akwa United.
The 19-year-old who is the current top scorer in the NPFL with 14 goals will be hoping to win back the fans of the Olukoya Boys by getting on the score sheet in this encounter.
Odey has taken the league by storm with his goals for the MFM who are currently second in the standings of the NPFL. His recent form also saw him named in the Super Eagles squad to face Corsica in an international friendly next week.
MFM are the second highest scoring side in the NPFL with 25 goals and Odey has had a hand in 19 of them (scoring 14 and providing five assists). He will be up against Al Hassan Muzaam who is also Akwa United’s top scorer with 11 goals.
2) Will MFM and El Kanemi maintain their 100 per cent home records?
MFM and El Kanemi are the two teams to have earned the divison’s best home record in the first stanza of the Nigerian Professional Football League so far this season. Both sides are yet to drop points at home, each winning all 10 of their home fixtures so far.
It remains to be seen if their invinciblity will continue this weekend.
3). How will the returnees from Europe fare?
The second stanza of the Nigerian Professional Football League will see no fewer that five European-based Nigerian players return. Former AC Milan player Harmony Ikande featured for 11 European clubs before opting to revive his career with Akwa United in the NPFL. Also making a return to the NPFL is Gabriel Okechukwu who featured for two clubs in Europe St. George’s FC and FC Karpaty Lviv in Ukraine.
Sibi Gwar who also featured for Victoria Hotspurs FC of Malta also rejoins El Kanemi Warriors for the second stanza of the league, while Siedu Muntawakilu from Hearts of Oak in Ghana has teamed up with Enugu Rangers for the second stanza of the NPFL.
4) Which coach will be sacked next?
Some NPFL head coaches have already lost their jobs due to poor performances from their teams and new coaches have been appointed following their exit. Imama Amapakabo, Kadiri Ikhana, Kayode Olujohungbe, Baba Ganaru, Zachary Baraje are notable coaches to have lost their jobs in the first half of the NPFL.
At least four more coaches are under pressure and face the chopping blocks if their teams fail to improve. Remo Stars coach Fatai Osho who replaced Nduka Ugbade, Henry Makinwwa of ABS and Gombe United’s Manu Garba who has been given a three-game ultimatum to turn the team’s fortunes around are some of the under-pressure coaches
5. Will there be an away win?
Akwa United was the last team to record an away win in the NPFL this season. The Promise Keepers ended the impressive home run of Kano Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium with a 1-0 win on matchday 18.
Other teams to have achieved this feat are El-Kanemi Warriors FC, MFM, Niger Tornadoes, Abia Warriors and Plateau United. So, from the teams playing away this weekend Akwa United, El-Kanemi Warriors and Plateau United look capable of recording wins away this Sunday.