Permutations ahead NPFL MD 35 fixtures

By JOHN PAUL NNAMDI
As the 2016/17 season of the Nigeria Professional Football League gets to its completion, the nervousness in various camps is palpable. Even though, there is less than five games to go down, the outcome of many clubs remain unknown, safe for Remo Stars who are mathematically displaced from top flight football. 
In the bottom rank of the log, the battle for survival is rife and might be stretched to the end of the championship. For the continental contenders, nothing is sure yet, but Plateau United has shown great intent on their first NPFL title and a place in the CAF Champions League.
Here are some permutations as clubs get into the fray across then nation.
Plateau United (1)
The Kennedy Boboye led squad are on a 5 match unbeaten streak as they head to face ABS FC.
The Peace Boys have been the best team on the road this season and ABS FC will need more than the usual motivation to stop their guests from getting closer to the Holy Grail.
Plateau United’s goal tender, Dele Ajiboye and influential defender, Elisha Golbe will, apparently, be out of the party to Ilorin since they just concluded a national team commitment with the Super Eagles B. the visitors will also miss the services of workaholic midfielder, Jimmy Ambrose who is suspended for the encounter.
FC Ifeanyi Ubah (5) v Akwa United (3)
Both side still nurse the ambition of clinching a space to represent the country in next term’s continental football.
The Anambra Warriors have garnered 50 points so far and they can’t afford to drop more points at home after doing so against Abia Warriors, Wikki Tourists and Gombe United. At this point, their hope of making the top 3 on the log largely depends on how other teams in front fumble, and, or if they can amass more points on the road.
As for Abdul Maikaba and his brilliant fellows, getting some points against FC Ifeanyi Ubah, without the likes of Afeez Aremu, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Ariwa Emmanuel and Al-Hassan Ibrahim, is a priority for the sake of maintaining their stand on the ladder. Without the quartet in the previous game, Akwa United secured maximum point. But FC Ifeanyi Ubah is a different opposition.
The revers fixture in Uyo ended in a stalemate: 1-1.
Enyimba FC (4)
The seven-time champions are on 54 points, same with neighbors Akwa United, but are below due to goal difference. The task is to make everything possible to leave Port Harcourt with something in the kitty.
Since the Abia Giants have lost out in the AITEO Cup, the only hope to make their presence in the continent is to find themselves among the top three in the NPFL.
The face Rivers United who are bedeviled with contrasting fortune; Stanley Eguma’s United are fighting hard to avoid the drop.
Rivers United (14)
By this stage last year, the race to clinch the title was very much lively for Rivers United. They were putting pressure on Rangers International who eventually lifted the trophy. This term, it is a different, sad tale for the Pride of Rivers.
With only 45 points, their destiny in the top flight carries a big question mark. Their opponent, Enyimba FC are not underdogs, on paper, thus this presents the Port Harcourt based side a tough tie, which can make or mar their NPFL purpose.
3SC (17)
Shooting Stars Sports Club is another traditional side who risk tasting the second tier of Nigerian football next season. Playing at home against Nasarawa United gives the Ibadan side a lifeline of leave the red zone for the umpteenth time.
Keeping the next three points is important, as important as picking some points on the road.
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