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Rested Bendel Insurance Primed to End Unbeaten Run of Remo Stars

November, 5 2023.

As Heartland Seeks Elusive First Win Against Rangers In Awka

After the thrills and ecstasy of the very first round of midweek fixture of the 2023/24 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) fixtures were decided on Wednesday and Thursday, action in the league which is growing daily in leap and bounds continues this weekend, with a full programme of Day-7 matches to be played across designated venues, across the country.

Only on Thursday, the management of the NPL and representatives of Cable TV giants, Startimes Communication announced a groundbreaking deal that will put the nation's top flight league, back on Statallite and Teretial television for next five years.

On Sunday, Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan will look to turn a new leaf, following the 3-0 bashing handed them in Ikenne-Remo by the current table toppers Remo Stars; when hosting Niger Tornadoes of Minna, at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, in Adamasingba.

By the same token, Bendel Insurance, one of the only two sides to sit out the midweek games, will look to interrogate the other credential of Remo Stars, as the only unbeaten side in the league this season, when both giants clash at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, in Benin City.

After suffering a comprehensive 3-0 thumping in the hands of Remo Stars, the Oluyole Warriors will be eager to redeem their battered image when they host the Ikon Allah Boys, on Sunday.

Tornadoes on their part will aim to recover the two points lost in their goalless draw with Enyimba of Aba, at the ABS Stadium in Kaduna; and with Bala Yahuza firing on all cylinders as he has done in recent times, it should be anybody's game in Ibadan, and the team that takes all 3 points would depend on the side which wants a win more, and plays with more attacking intent.

The visit of the Sky Blue Boys of Ikenne to Benin, last season ended in a disaster as they suffered a hefty 0-3 defeat, but Imade Osarenkhoe who scored two of those goals has now left the Benin Arsenal for the greener pastures in the United Arab Emirates, and Remo Stars as table toppers with 13 points and a game in hand will be going to Benin with a lot of belief this time.

Despite struggling to keep a decent form in the league this season, Bendel Insurance has been one of the strongest teams at home and will hope to maintain their impressive home record on Sunday.

Remo Stars goalkeeper, Kayode Bankole will look to make it a second clean sheet this season, and help his team to a third consecutive victories this season.

Also on Sunday, the Pantami Stadium is venue of the Gombe United against Doma United FC eagerly awaited derby. Gombe United, aka the Jewels of the Savannah are the more illustrious of the two sides, while Doma United are relatively new in the top flight, having only won promotion to the elite division, last season.

Gombe United lost narrowly 0-1 to Akwa United in Eket on Wednesday, while Doma United rested as their game against Bendel Insurance was postponed by the league body.

After forcing a 1-1 draw against winless Heartland FC of Owerri, in Okigwe; Rivers United will fancy their chances against poor travellers, Sunshine Stars of Akure, at the Adokieye Amasiamaka Stadium. But the Port Harcourt-based side must be weary of Edith Agoye tutored men, and their ability to score goals, even when losing their away fixtures.

The pride of Rivers have not been on top of their game since the start of the season, and so is their new captain, Nyima Nwagua who must do a bit more, to motivate his teammates to win at home against the Akure Gunners.

Coach Stanley Eguma will again have to rely on Alex Oyowah who has scored in 3 consecutive games before the game against Heartland FC on Wednesday. On the other hand, Sunshine Stars will strive to avoid a repeat of what happened in the game against Abia Warrior,where the trailed the visitors, and had to rally from a goal down.

Fumbling champions, Enyimba of Aba, are back in their natural habitat "Enyimba City", for what looks like a must win game for the record extending nine-time NPFL champions, against Kwara United of Ilorin, who secured a come from behind good home win against Sporting FC of Lagos on Wednesday.

The Aba People’s Elephant with just a win and a draw from three games played thus far, will bank on the experience of Chijioke Mbaoma to halt the Afonja Warriors who seems to have rediscovered their mojo, with coach Kabiru Dogo in-charge, this term.

Having lost to "a very good" Lobi Stars of Makurdi side, on Thursday, Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu and Enugu Rangers will aim to compound the woes of Heartland FC when both sides clash at the Awka Township Stadium.

The Naze Millionaires have musttered only four draws, while losing twice on their travels, and the stakes are at feverish pitch for both sides, considering the fact that this, is the original Oriental derby, and first amongst equals.

Coach Fidelis Ilechukwu will on Sunday, bank on Chidiebere Nwobodo who seems to have found a good form to deliver the goals for the Flying Antelopes who dropped to 3rd on the log, after the loss in Lafia to Lobi Stars who are now 2nd with 11 points, 1 point clear of Rangers.

After playing 5 games without a win, Kufre Ebong’s 35th-minute goal earned the Promise Keepers their first win of the season against Gombe United, and they will hope, the roller coaster continues when they host Plateau United.

Akwa United will hope to build on their win against Gombe United, when hosting Plateau United in Eket, on Sunday. Victory on Wednesday was the first for the 2021 champions and should have eased the hip of pressure on their new gaffer, Fatai Osho.

The Jos-based side won 1-0, despite being reduced to 10-men against visiting Katsina United, on Wednesday.

Day -7 fixtures will be rounded-off on Monday when Bayelsa United plays host to second in the table, Lobi Stars of Makurdi, at the Samson Siasia Stadium, in Yenagoa; while Kano Pillars take a trip to the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, in Onikan; to face Sporting FC of Lagos.

Full Fixtures:

Bendel Insurance vs Remo Stars

Shooting Stars vs Niger Tornadoes

Akwa United vs Plateau United

Gombe United vs Doma United FC

Enyimba Int'l vs Kwara United

Enugu Rangers vs Heartland of Owerri

Abia Warriors vs Katsina United

Rivers United vs Sunshine Stars.

On Monday:

Bayelsa United vs Lobi Stars FC

Kano Pillars vs Sporting FC, Lagos

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