On a regular day, the clash between Abia Warriors and Katsina United in the Nigeria Professional Football League would not command a high level of interest and attention. But that was before the Ocendo Boys stormed no less a venue than ‘The Cathedral’ in Enugu, tugged with champions Enugu Rangers without any sense of inferiority and conquered without any feeling of remorse.
The result was 2-1 against the champions, even as reports indicated that the difference could have been wider on a day the Flying Antelopes were second best throughout.
The journey of 38 weeks and 380 matches started on Saturday in Kano, albeit with a below-par outing as FC IfeanyiUbah ill –advisedly abandoned a game against homers Kano Pillars that was being broadcast live. However, the League Management Company left no one in doubt that misbehavior by anyone or Club would not be condoned this season, by swiftly moving to impose necessary sanctions on the offenders.
On Wednesday, the Week 2 matches will take place across the country, with the aforementioned tie in Umuahia Township Stadium between the Warriors and Katsina United in hard focus.
Pillars, who duly got three points and three goals from the game with FC IfeanyiUbah following LMC’s decision, travel to Makurdi to confront Lobi Stars at the Aper Aku Stadium.
Gambo Mohammed scored the first goal of last season, against Enugu Rangers also in Kano, and did same again this season, against the Anambra Warriors. The forward, who starred for Nigeria at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, will aim for an early lead in this season’s goals race by netting in Makurdi, though Lobi, who got spanked by Shooting Stars in Ibadan on Day 1, would not be easy picking.
The Anambra Warriors have opportunity to send out a different, positive message when they host MFM (3-0 winner over Niger Tornadoes on Day 1) in Nnewi.
Inspired ABS FC, 3-1 winners over Akwa United, travel to Lokoja to take on Tornadoes, who seek a positive bounce following the thumping in Lagos.
Champions Rangers will seek to convince all that the loss to Abia Warriors was no more than a rare bad day in the office, when they visit Nasarawa United of Lafia (who reached the second round of the CAF Confederation Cup last year). With only few weeks to their match in the CAF Champions League, low morale is not exactly what the Flying Antelopes need.
Akwa United, who were poleaxed in Ilorin, return to the Nest of Champions and in front of teeming supporters, hoping to turn back last year’s runners-up and Super 4 winners Rivers United. The visitors have established themselves as one of the strongest teams in the land, with Coach Stanley Eguma’s ‘beautiful game’ philosophy backed up by steel and tenacity.
El-Kanemi Warriors, victims of Rivers United at the weekend, host Wikki Tourists in Maiduguri, while Gombe United, also edged 2-1 by Katsina on Day 1, will be at home to Remo Stars.
No doubt, the star match is the South West derby between Sunshine Stars and Shooting Stars at the Ondo Sports Complex, Akure. Up Sooting will approach the game with panache after their defeat of Lobi Stars in Ibadan, while the hosts seek their first points of the campaign after losing to Enyimba in Calabar. In Jos, Plateau United, with an away win over Remo Stars pumping up their spirit, host Enyimba FC of Aba.
There were contrasting fortunes for the newcomers into the top flight on Day 1, with Remo Stars and Gombe United losing, while Katsina United and ABS scooped three maximum points.
WEEK 2 FIXTURES
Lobi Stars Vs Kano Pillars
FC IfeanyiUbah Vs MFM FC
Niger Tornadoes Vs ABS FC
Akwa United Vs Rivers United
El-Kanemi Warriors Vs Wikki Tourists
Nasarawa United Vs Rangers International
Abia Warriors Vs Katsina United
Gombe United Vs Remo Stars
Plateau United Vs Enyimba FC
Sunshine Stars Vs Shooting Stars
DAY 1 RESULTS
Rangers International 1 Abia Warriors 2
Remo Stars 1 Plateau United 2
Katsina United 2 Gombe United 1
MFM FC 3 Niger Tornadoes 0
Wikki Tourists 0 Nasarawa United 0
Enyimba FC 1 Sunshine Stars 0
ABS FC 3 Akwa United 1
Rivers United 2 El-Kanemi Warriors 1
Shooting Stars 2 Lobi Stars 0
Kano Pillars 3 FC IfeanyiUbah 0 (by LMC decision following abandonment)