Relegation Battles Shift To P’Harcourt, Yenagoa, Others | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Relegation Battles Shift To P’Harcourt, Yenagoa, Others

Posted: Sep 26, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Huge battles for who survive the drop in the current Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) will hot up in Port Harcourt, Yenagoa and other centres, as Sharks hosts Dolphins while Bayelsa United engages 9th-placed Heartland of Owerri on Sunday.

Heartland is comfortable on the log, meaning that big responsibility is placed on Bayelsa to get the three maximum points against it.

In the first leg played at Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri, during the first stanza, Heartland pummeled the Yenagoa side 4-0 in one of the Week 11 encounters.

Speaking to Daily Independent, Heartland Media Officer, Cajetan Nkwopara, said the plan of Naze Millionaires is to achieve double over Bayelsa.

“We hope to win again over them. Our plan is to get a continental ticket and all we pray is good officiating.

“Remember, Bayelsa won us in Owerri in the last match of last season and we did not complain, so all we are praying is fair deal from the referee.”

In Port Harcourt, 17th-placed Sharks will host 15th-placed Dolphins. By virtue of points on the table, both sides are still prone to drop and will do everything possible to get the points that will enhance their chances.

In the first stanza, both teams shared the spoil, as they played a 1-1 score line in one of the week 11 matches across the country.

Dolphins Coach, Stanley Egumah, while speaking to Daily Independent, said: “This is a local derby and we know how local derbies always turn out, but we will do our best to get a good result.”

On the chances of Dolphins to escape the drop, Eguma said: “That is our plan. We hope to remain at the top flight and we are working very hard for tomorrow’s match against Sharks.”

On his own, Sharks’ Media Officer, while speaking to Daily Independent on Sunday’s derby against Dolphins, expressed optimism on the team’s chances, saying Sharks will be out to get the desired result.

“We are very desirous of getting a good result against Dolphins. We know that this is a derby, but Dolphins will not be on our way.”

In another relegation battle, 19th-placed FC Taraba will host 13th-placed El-Kanemi Warriors. While Taraba is deep in relegation, El-Kanemi is almost certain to retain its top flight status.

In Enugu, former champions, Rangers, which is presently on the 12th spot on the log, will host 18th placed Kwara United, which is still smarting from its 1-2 home loss to fourth-placed Sunshine Stars in Week 30.

Only last week, fans of the Flying Antelope came down hard on the team, accusing it of performing abysmally in the current season.

Such deservedly needed criticism, according to Christian Chukwu when Daily Independent called him, will spur the players to get the maximum point in Sunday’s match.

“The players know what is at stake and the criticisms, as you say, will only spur them to win convincingly on Sunday.”

In other matches, leaders, Enyimba International, will host third-placed Wikki Tourists of Bauchi in Aba, while Akwa United will host Nasarawa United in the Nest of Champions, Uyo.

In Makurdi, Lobi Stars will host Shooting Stars of Ibadan, while Sunshine Stars of Akure, still relishing its away win at Kwara, will host Abia Warriors of Umuahia.

Coach of Sunshine Stars, Kennedy Boboye, while speaking to Daily Independent, said: “We are poised to push non till the end of the season.

“Abia Warriors are not a bad side, but we hope to win and win convincingly because we have already lost ground in the title race.

“Remember we lost at home to Nasarawa and that affected our season, but we hope to take it back as we won last week in Kwara.”