Chances Of Title Contenders As League Winds Down | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Chances Of Title Contenders As League Winds Down

Posted: Sep 3, 2016 at 2:22 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The quartet of Wikki Tourists, Enugu Rangers, Rivers United and FC IfeanyiUba have equal chances of winning the  league with five rounds of matches left to play.

However, since the second stanza started, the trio of Wikki, Rangers and Rivers United has, at one point or the other, topped the table, which makes their chances more realistic.

Independent takes a look at the chances of the front runners vis-à-vis their remaining matches in the season.

Wikki Tourists
With two home matches against Rivers United and Sunshine Stars in their final five fixtures, Wikki Tourists may be assured of those six points if they approach the games, especially against Rivers United, with strong intent.

Unfortunately, the team will still contend with Enyimba in Umuahia, Nasarawa United in Lafia and Shooting Stars in Ibadan.

Wikki will fancy getting maximum points in those home fixtures, but may sweat on the road against Nasarawa and Shooting Stars, which have shown invincibility at their homes lately. Enyimba will also present a formidable opposition after their ouster from the CAF Champions League. Wikki may earn seven points from their remaining fixtures giving that they will win Rivers United and Sunshine Stars and get at least a point on the road.

That will put them on 61 points at the end of the season.

Rangers International
Rangers, in their five remaining fixtures, will play Rivers United in Enugu, Shooting Stars in Ibadan, Sunshine Stars in Enugu, Ikorodu United in Lagos and El-Kanemi Warriors in Enugu in that order.

With three home matches, the Flying Antelopes can fancy getting, at least, nine points, with the away tie against Ikorodu pointing to, at least, another point. Rangers sit second on the table with 54 points, same with leaders, Wikki Tourists, but with inferior goals difference.

In all the home matches, the tie against Rivers United will present the stiffest opposition to Rangers’ quest, but they can still aim for a point in that match, with the hope of beating Sunshine Stars and El-Kanemi and getting at, least a draw in Lagos. But the match in Ibadan has more to both teams as it will rekindle the old rivalry between 3SC and Rangers.

Realistically, Rangers can aim for at least eight points (given that it fails to win against Rivers United in Enugu) if they win El-Kanemi and Sunshine in Enugu and also get a point against Ikorodu, given that they lost against Shooting in Ibadan. But if they win Rivers, they would have amassed 10 points.

With eight points, Rangers will haul 62 points but with ten points, they would have ended the season with 64 points and better placed to win the league.

Rivers United
With two strong away ties against both Rangers and Wikki Tourists lurking, Rivers United have their hands full in their five remaining fixtures. They will also play away to Akwa United on the last day.

Given their current form, Rivers United should not sweat much to dispatch Warri Wolves in Port Harcourt and Abia Warriors also in Port Harcourt, which will give them six points.

But with hard work, the Pride of Rivers should get something from Uyo and bank on luck to get something from the fixtures in Enugu and Bauchi.

Realistically, Rivers United should be looking at seven points, which will bring their season’s haul to 60. But if they surprise the bookmakers and get, at least, draws in their away fixtures, they will be talking about nine points, which will place them on 62 points at the end of the season.

FC IfeanyiUba
The Nnewi side is virtually the surprise team of the quartet, with bookmakers not giving them any chance at the beginning of the season.

IfeanyiUba presently have 52 points from 32 matches and are occupying the 4th spot on the log.

They will play Abia Warriors in Umuahia, host Akwa United then travel to Makurdi for Lobi Stars before hosting Enyimba and finally ending the season with an away fixture against Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM) in Lagos.

IfeanyiUba, with huge prospect of possibly ending the season with a continental ticket, should realistically win easily at home against Akwa United, but against Enyimba in Nnewi, the Chief Ifeanyi Uba-owned team should dig very deep to get the whole three points.

Enyimba are eager to go back to the continent after their recent ouster and may prove a hard nut to crack in Nnewi.
In Makurdi, it will be a massive match for IfeanyiUba, as Lobi Stars can still end the season higher and have a cameo chance of making it to the continent.

IfeanyiUba should also fancy their chances of getting a result in Lagos against MFM, which are battling to remain in the elite league after the Fidelis Ilechukwu-tutored boys, saw their fortunes nose dive.

The Nnewi side can look at amassing eight points if they can get it right against Enyimba and Akwa United in Nnewi and get, at least, draws in Umuahia and Lagos.

With eight points, IfeanyiUba will end the season on 60 points.

It is obvious that Rangers and Wikki Tourists have the edge on the title race but owing to the fact that the Flying Antelopes have three home fixtures as against two for the other contenders, bookmakers may be forced to say that the league title is theirs to lose.

But evidently, this year’s league will go to the wire with the winners likely to be determined on the last day.