NPFL big guns bank on home form to extend dominance

Akwa United celebrate a goal during their NPFL match. Colin Udoh

The NPFL's top three teams are all at home this weekend, and each of the trio will be expecting to consolidate their positions at the top of the table with convincing victories in front of their own fans.

Plateau United will be determined to bounce back from a midweek away defeat against fourth-place Sunshine Stars at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos.

The champions have started the season strongly, looking particularly threatening on home turf, maintaining a 100-percent record and an unbreached backline, as they only trail leaders Akwa United by one point.

By contrast, Sunshine's strong start to the season is exclusively due to their home form, as they've failed to score in 270 minutes on the road.

They will need a big performance on the road on Sunday if they are to halt a run of successive losses against Plateau United dating back to last term.

League leaders Akwa United could extend their unbeaten streak to five games if they avoid defeat at home to Wikki Tourists.

The visitors are four points adrift of the leaders and, in an ideal world, should provide stiff competition in this tie.

However, that might prove not to be the case as Wikki have lost all previous away games this season, including at lowly Kwara United.

Should Akwa United fail to pick up maximum points, which looks unlikely based on current form, either Plateau United or Kano Pillars, both breathing heavily down their necks, could end top of the log on Sunday.

MFM FC, in 10th, trail Kano Pillars, who are seven spots ahead by two points, and have their work cut out as they attempt to close the gap.

The privately sponsored team appear to have a hangover from last season's terrific league run -which ended with a CAF Champions League ticket - as they haven't looked like a formidable team this term. New signing Jesse Akila has been the one encouraging sign during a tough start to the campaign.

However, the situation is different for Pillars, who have enjoyed a strong start to the campaign, thanks largely to the strikes of six-goal hero Junior Lokosa.

Speaking exclusively to KweséESPN ahead of the game, Lokosa was optimistic of both personal and team glory.

"I believe in the way we are playing and by the grace of God we are getting the maximum points," he began. "Tactically, I like the pairing with Nyima Nwagua, and I remain confident of scoring my seventh goal of the season."

Elsewhere, an El-Kanemi Warriors team fast on the decline host an improving Enyimba side.

The People's Elephant are unbeaten in three games, and appear to have steadied the ship after a slow start to the campaign, partly due to the fine scoring form of Stanley Dimgba.

They could arrest their abysmal record in Maiduguri, which has seen them lose in their last three visits, and could capitalise on a 14th-place El-Kanemi team who have failed to score in three successive games and are clearly lacking leaders within their ranks.

Elsewhere, Abia Warriors welcome Enugu Rangers to Umuahia in the Oriental Derby.

The Flying Antelopes have bounced back from their troubled start to the season, and appear to have found some form in recent games, with three in their last four matches.

Kelvin Itoya has being the standout player, scoring a goal and providing two assists, and his fine form could help spring a surprise against an Abia Warriors team who are just a point above the last relegation spot.

Finally, the NPFL hosts its first-ever Rivers Derby between Rivers United and Go Round FC at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium this weekend.

There's nothing to separate the duo as both are shaping up for a long and testing season, although could Rivers' experience see them past the visitors, who are without injured first-choice Stanley Nwabali.