NPFL MD17 preview: Remo aims to remain top; more Heartland drama?

The Nigeria Premier Football League resumes this weekend after the holidays with two games on Saturday and the rest on Sunday.

Matchday 17 starts with Katsina United's visit to Pantami to face a rampant Doma United who have made their home turf a fortress. They sit second on the log and will look to consolidate that with another win while Katsina, who have under-performed this season, seek to improve their fortunes on the road.

Saturday's other game will see Bendel Insurance welcome Rangers to the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin, brimming with confidence from their draw in their last fixture in Port Harcourt against a tough Rivers United side.

NPFL – Rangers visit Benin after winning return to the Cathedral

Rangers had a triumphant return to the traditional home ground after about two years away playing at Awka. They defeated Shooting Stars 2-0 and will hope their visit to Benin yields good dividends.

Kano Pillars are at home this weekend to fifth-placed Plateau United who make the short trip to Kano on the back of a narrow 1-0 win over Sporting Lagos. Pillars also got a win in their last game with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Kwara United which only points to a great clash ahead.


Akwa United are in dire straits as they are languishing in the bottom half of the table—19th position to be precise and if they are to avoid relegation, they need to get points on board quickly.

A 1-0 loss in Katsina meant they've only garnered 15 points from 16 games and are only one point ahead of bottom-placed Bayelsa United. They play Abia Warriors next.

The Umuahia side has fared better than their hosts as they are in eighth place and won their last game 3-1 against Gombe United.

Kwara United, who are 12th on the log, will welcome second-placed Lobi Stars to Ilorin while Shooting Stars will seek to bounce back after their loss in Enugu when they host Bayelsa United who are bottom of the log.

Heartland: Drama in Owerri

The drama in Heartland reached a crescendo last week as Kennedy Boboye, who had barely spent days on the job, was asked to step aside for Christian Obi whom he had replaced.


Boboye had led Heartland to an impressive 3-1 win over top-of-the-table Remo Stars—their third win of the season, but that wasn't enough as he had to make way for Obi, reportedly upon the request of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma.

The former Plateau United coach was appointed on a year contract back in November to rescue Heartland. The Naze Millionaires had yet to secure a win in nine games with Obi in charge, garnering a meagre six points. Upon his appointment, Boboye led the team out of the relegation zone, securing three wins and picking 10 points in seven games.

This new turn of events means Obi returns to the dugout against Niger Tornadoes in Kaduna. The hosts are behind them in 18th place.

Fans, many unhappy with the move, will be keen to see how this move pans out for the Owerri side.

Gombe and Rivers United are set for an intense clash at the Pantami Stadium, while table leaders Remo Stars aim to solidify their position against Sunshine Stars at Ikenne this Sunday.

NPFL – Enyimba to compound Sporting Lagos woes?

As the weekend fixtures unfold, reigning champions Enyimba of Aba continue their impressive climb up the table, currently sitting in fourth place after a slow start to the season. Their recent 2-1 away victory against Bayelsa United in Matchday 16 reflects their turnaround.

Next up for them is Sporting Lagos, a team grappling with a dip in form. A recent 1-0 loss in Jos pushed them down to 15th place, hovering just one point above the relegation zone. They will also be missing the services of first choice goalkeeper Christian Nwoke who is suspended due to cards accumulation.

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NPFL MD17 preview: Remo aims to remain top; more Heartland drama?
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.