By Rotimi Akindele
So many sporting fans will agree with me that this is one of the exciting weekends to look forward to. Across board, so much will be going down – the FA Cup games in England, Bundesliga in Germany, the Serie A, La Liga and much more.
Personally, I am looking forward to the Australian Open Final (Men and Women) but my focus will be mainly on some football matches happening this weekend and I have pegged down three unmissable games that must be seen.
The NPFL has served us some exciting fixtures in the past 4 match days with a total of 81 goals scored so far. 10 games will hold across the federation but the question is: “which of the games will you be seeing?”.
My pick of the NPFL this weekend is happening in Lagos:
– MFM FC V KANO PILLARS #MFMPIL
In the reverse fixture last season, the former champions couldn’t pick the maximum three points against the league’s newbies then, on both home and away soils.
The Olukoya Boys have started life well this season by churning out some great results at the Soccer Temple, Agege. They will fancy their chances based on that home form against a Pillars side which has struggled to grind out away results from home.
A win will take MFM FC to 10 points out of a possible 15 which is not a bad start for the Coach Ilechukwu-led side.
Fans should also watch out for Stephen Odey who bagged a hat-trick in their last home game and Sikiru Olatunbosun.
Kano Pillars also boast of an experienced side which understands how not to lose to small teams.
You will definitely want to be inside the stadium from 4pm on Sunday but if you are not in town, not to worry – the game will be live on TV.
*Prediction: MFM FC 3-1 Kano Pillars
Other fixtures in the NPFL will see high flyers ABS FC welcome 3SC to Ilorin, Rivers United will host Lobi Stars in Port Harcourt, Top scorer last season, Godwin Obaje will return to Bauchi with his new team, FC Ifeanyi Ubah when they play Wikki Tourists, Champions Rangers will host Niger Tornadoes. Akwa United will be seeking their first win away at newly promoted Katsina United while Remo Stars will welcome El-Kanemi Warriors to Sagamu, Enyimba will play Nasarawa United in Calabar, Gombe United will welcome Sunshine Stars while Abia Warriors will be the guests of table toppers and unbeaten side, Plateau United in Jos.
Staying on the continent, the AFCON is in the Quarterfinals and all of the 4 fixtures promise to be a cracker but my pick will be the Leopards of DR Congo facing the Black Stars of Ghana on Sunday evening.
– DR CONGO V GHANA #CAN2017
I have monitored the Leopards under coach Ibenge since winning the CHAN tourney in Rwanda early last year and I knew they have a team that can’t be overlooked in future tournaments.
They topped Group C in an impressive fashion, dumping out the defending champions Ivory Coast in the process while Ghana had to settle for the 2nd position in Group D following a loss in their last game.
For the two sides, this is not the time to entertain errors. The Black Stars will probably have to do this without their influential captain, Asamoah Gyan who picked up an injury in their last game.
This will be the 14th meeting between the two teams with Ghana having an advantage on head to head with seven wins, 3 loses and four of the games ending in a draw.
Watch out for Junior Kabanaga (DR Congo) – the tournament’s leading scorer so far with 3 goals and Christian Atsu (Ghana). Kickoff time is 5pm at Stade d’Oyem.
*PREDICTION: DR CONGO 2-1 GHANA
Finally, we will head to Germany on Saturday afternoon where there is a surprise Bundesliga blockbuster as second hosts third!
– RB LEIPZIG V TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. #Bundesliga
I like teams with fairytale runs and that’s why RB Leipzig has been one of my favorites lately. The team enters this match day 18 clash with an excellent 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt whilst the visitors Hoffenheim took care of Augsburg 2-0 away from home. The teams are currently 2nd and 3rd, respectively as the clash at the Red Bull Arena is set to be mouthwatering. Hoffenheim will be looking to continue their stellar season by solidifying a place in Europe whilst Leipzig needs victory to keep up the chase of Bundesliga leaders, Bayern Munich.
Some key players to watch out for are Timo Werner (Leipzig) and Sandro Wagner (Hoffenheim). With both players on the field of play, there will be goals in this one.
There’s so much at stake in this game- Leipzig have been good at home, Hoffenheim wilk be looking to protect their unbeaten run but it’s gonna be a tough one at the Red Bull Arena.
*PREDICTION: RB LEIPZIG 2-1 TSG 1899 HOFFENHEIM.
Join in the conversation – what other game are you looking forward to seeing this weekend?
Copyright 2017 AOIFootball. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.AOIFootball.com as the source.