NPFL Week 28: 6 Predictions – Rangers to stay top

NPFL Week 28:  6 Predictions – Rangers to stay top
Credit @Rangers_Intl X

Following the break to league action occasioned by the state FA Cup finals, business returns in the NPFL on Tuesday and Wednesday as the teams continue to vie for honours.

The 2023/24 NPFL season is the most keenly contested in recent years, as the gap between the top five teams is narrow.

The battle for the league title has been between Enyimba, Lobi Stars, Plateau United, Remo Stars and current league leaders Enugu Rangers.

The top position has oscillated between these five teams and seems set to continue. 

With 11 games to go till the end of the season, the margin for error is narrow, and teams cannot afford any more slip-ups. 

As the NPFL 2023/24 season winds down, expect more home wins as the title contenders dig in and fortify their home grounds, as every point at this stage is valuable.

Here are six predictions for the NPFL Week 28 fixtures.

NPFL Week 28 fixtures: Six predictions

Plateau United seeks redemption against Ochendo Babes

NPFL week 28: Abia Warriors
Credit @AbiaWarriors X

At a point this season, Abia Warriors were challenging for the title. They posted impression results as their home form was solid. 

It is safe that the Ochendo Babes are realistically no longer in the title hunt. Four draws at home have hurt them badly, and a wounded Plateau United will fancy their chances against the Warriors.

Plateau United saw their chances hit a fatal blow with a 1-2 home loss to Akwa United last week. They will hope to bounce back to winning ways. They hope to pick at least a point away from Abia Warriors.

Prediction: Despite the desires of Plateau United, Abia Warriors are still strong at home. We should expect a minimum 1-0 win for the Ochendo Babes.

Can the Flying Antelopes maintain their unbeaten run?

Enugu Rangers aim for NPFL title
Credit @Rangers_Intl X

Last week, Enugu Rangers equalled Doma United's nine-game unbeaten run this season with a 2-1 win away to Heartland Warriors.

The Flying Antelopes are on the cusp of setting a new record when they host Sunshine Stars.

The Owena Waves last played a league match two weeks ago after the postponement of their league tie against Rivers United.

They are not in top form this season and know they have a massive task against a red-hot Enugu Rangers. However, they will take confidence from their 0-0 draw against Abia Warriors in their NPFL game.

When both sides clashed in Akure, it ended 2-2.

Prediction: Enugu Rangers are in top form. They have seven wins from their last nine games and will fancy an eighth victory. The Flying Antelopes should win 2-0.

Afonja Warriors on a mission to dim the Shooting Stars

Can Kwara United upset Shooting Stars in NPFL week 28
Credit @KwaraUnitedFC X

Shooting Stars have been in a topsy-turvy form this season. At a point, the Oluyole Warriors were contenders for the NPFL title but have since fallen away.

They have a peculiar rivalry with Kwara United, and it always makes for an exciting watch when the two sides clash.

Shooting Stars are not used to dropping points at home and have only drawn two games in Ibadan this season. The last time Kwara United got anything in Ibadan was in January 2023 when they played a goalless draw. 

However, the Afonja Warriors are the draw specialists of the NPFL. They have 11 draws and rarely buckle to the top teams. The last meeting of these two sides ended 1-1 in Ilorin.

Prediction: No side has as many away draws as Kwara United this season. Their scalps include Enugu Rangers, Rivers United and Bendel Insurance. Expect them to add Shooting Stars to their list.  

Sporting Lagos fight for safety against Lobi Stars

Sporting Lagos fight for safety in NPFL week 28 clash
Credit @SportingLagos X

It would be a massive season for Sporting Lagos if they can maintain the NPFL status. The darling of Lagos side has given a good account of themselves.

Lobi Stars will go into the lair of a motivated Sporting Lagos, looking to remain in the hunt for the title.

The Makurdi-based side has a good away record, but they're up against a side that does not know how to lose at home. Sporting Lagos has only dropped points four times at home this season.

Will Lobi Stars make it their fourth draw on the road or their third win? Lobi Stars have a steep hill before them, as no top-seven side has managed to get a draw in Lagos.

Prediction: A win for Sporting Lagos will move them away from the relegation zone and towards safety. Sporting Lagos to win 2-1.

Niger tornadoes dare the Benin Arsenal in their coven

Bendel Insurance still challenging in the NPFL
Credit @BendelInsurance X

Coach Monday Odigie must be wondering what happened to his team this season. 

The Bendel Insurance coach led his team to the longest unbeaten run last term in the NPFL and rounded off a successful season by winning the Federation Cup.

However, it has been far from smooth sailing this season, as their NPFL results have been far from comforting.

The Benin Arsenal are ninth on the NPFL log and some distance away from challenging for the top four.

They have their hands filled up against Niger Tornadoes, who are battling against relegation. With the kind of form Tornadoes are, they look a sure bet for relegation, but they have managed to keep ahead of the drop zone.

Prediction: Bendel Insurance are one of the few sides yet to lose at home, but Niger Tornadoes, who are scrambling to get their chestnuts out of the fire, will see a draw as a positive result.

Bendel Insurance to win 2-0.

The People's Elephant set to stomp on Pillars

Enyimba in NPFL Top 4
Credit @EnyimbaFC X

Perhaps this tie is the peak of the pack. Enyimba, who were without their coach, Finidi George, due to national assignments, will want to return to winning ways after their 2-1 loss to Kwara United last week.

Enyimba are in fourth place but within touching distance of the top three. The People's Elephant will hope that their top striker, Mbaoma Chijioke, who has had a barren run recently, will return to scoring ways.

Before last week, Sai Masu Gida had gone on a five-game winless streak. They returned to winning ways with a 1-0 win over Sporting Lagos and still fancy a shot at the top four.

It is never easy when these two sides clash.

Prediction: Enyimba to win 1-0.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 weeks ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.