By Emmanuel Chinedu
It looks to be a tough weekend for Southeast teams, Enyimba, Rangers, Heartland and Abia Warriors as they all play away from home this weekend.
While three of the four teams were in action on Matchday 1 of the 2023/24 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season, only Rangers and Abia Warriors picked their first three points of the campaign, while Heartland played out a 2-2 draw with Lobi Stars, at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri. But NPFL holders, Enyimba had their home fixture against Bendel Insurance postponed due to the Benin Arsenal’s engagement in the CAF Confederation Cup last weekend.
But ahead of this weekend’s Matchday 2 encounters, all the four Southeast clubs will be playing away from home against Gombe United, Remo Stars, Akwa United and Plateau United respectively.
Gombe United v Enyimba
The Finidi George-led side will be hoping to begin their title defence with a win to claim all three points away at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe.
The People’s Elephant have only lost one of their four meetings against Gombe United away from home. The only time they suffered a defeat was during the 2013/14 season, were they lost 2-1. Since then, two other meetings ended in draws while Enyimba saw off their hosts 2-1 last season.
Thus the NPFL champions are hitting Gombe riding on their last three good results starting from the 2016/17 NPFL season, at the Pantami Stadium.
Remo Stars v Rangers
The Flying Antelopes will face a tough game against Remo Stars on Sunday, at the Remo Stars Stadium, Ikenne.
The Fidelis IIechukwu-led side opened their season campaign with a 2-1 win over Doma United, at the Awka City Stadium, through goals from Kalu Nweke and Austin Onyemaechi to secure the maximum points for the former NPFL champions. But on Sunday, they are going to face a team that has a perfect home unbeaten record in Remo Stars. In their last two meetings, Remo Stars won one while the other encounter ended in a goalless draw following the return of the Sky Blue Stars to the top flight league in the 2021/22 season.
IIechukwu and the Rangers team will be hoping to end their woeful record in Ikenne when they take on Remo Stars on Sunday.
Kwara United v Abia Warriors
Abia Warriors will face a tricky tie against Kwara United on Sunday, at the llorin Township Stadium.
The Erasmus Onuh-led side opened their campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory over Niger Tornadoes, at the Umuahia Township Stadium. But on Sunday, they will be taking on Kwara United, who lost their first game of the season at Katsina United.
Abia Warriors are one of the worst teams on the road in the league, and it will be a surprise to football fans if they secure a positive result against Kwara United on Sunday.
Plateau United v Heartland FC
The Naze Millionaires will be guests to Plateau United in Jos on Sunday at the New Jos Stadium.
The Christian Obi-led side held Lobi Stars to a 2-2 draw at the Dan Anyiam Stadium. Former Akwa United and Barcelona-B player, Ezekiel Bassey was on the score sheet for the Owerri-based club against Lobi Stars. But on Sunday, they will be playing against Plateau United, who lost 2-1 to Shooting Stars in their first game of the season. With big expectation on the shoulders of their head coach, Mbwas Mangut, a former Heartland player and assistant coach, Plateau United will look to bounce to reckoning.
MATCHDAY 2 FIXTURES
Saturday, October 7, 2023
Doma United v Bayelsa United – Live
Bendel Insurance v 3SC – Live
Kano Pillars v Katsina United – Live
Sunday, October 8, 2023
Lobi Stars v Sunshine Stars
Kwara United v Abia Warriors – Live
Niger Tornadoes v Rivers United
Remo Stars v Rangers – Live
Akwa United v Sporting Lagos – Live
Gombe United v Enyimba – Live
Plateau United v Heartland – Live