NPFL Matchday 17 Preview: Dakkada Battle Jigawa Golden Stars In Uyo

NPFL Matchday 17 Preview: Dakkada Battle Jigawa Golden Stars In Uyo

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Edidiong Stephen

This weekend’s early kick-off in the Nigeria Professional Football League takes place at the prestigious Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, on Saturday afternoon as 5th-placed Dakkada FC play hosts to 18th-placed northern visitors, Jigawa Golden Stars.

This fixture, which precedes the rest of the fixtures of Match Day Seventeen, features two sides without a win in their last two NPFL outings.

Dakkada FC arrive this encounter with their heads held high after a courageous performance saw them become the first team to prevent Lobi Stars from winning an NPFL match in Makurdi this campaign.

Even though the Uyo-based side will feel they should have left Makurdi with more than one point having missed a plethora of goal-scoring chances but it was the perfect revival they needed after series of recent venomous attacks at home.

With tricky ties in the offing for the four teams above them, Dakkada will be hoping to pounce on any slip-ups to narrow in on the summit of the standings with victory over a Jigawa GS side who are one of only two NPFL sides yet to muster a point on their travels; the other being neighbours, Adamawa United.

Coach Caleb Esu who has guided the Dakkada ship into common waters where they now appear well on course to reach their destination will be demanding an immediate positive reaction after suffering the worst defeat of his managerial career – a 3-0 home loss to Nasarawa United on Match Day Fifteen.

On account of current form and the return from injury of several first team players, Dakkada FC are far and away the odds-on favourites to win this contest but they will know only too well that stranger things have happened in this season’s NPFL which is shaping up, match after match, to become one of the most unpredictable in the annals of Nigerian league football.

This year’s NPFL has already witnessed a total of 306 goals, 22 away wins, 42 draws and 88 home wins in only 152 matches which represents 40% of the 380 guaranteed matches while signs abound of more staggering records ahead.

The Jigawa GS side on the trip to Uyo are a much changed side with the acquisition of at least ten new players in the just concluded January transfer window and the appointment of a new Head Coach.

The northerners relied on a late own goal by Rivers United’s Austin Festus to snatch a point last week but Coach Rabiu Tata will be hoping that his strikers would come to Saturday’s party in their scoring boots – their last two goals have been own goals in their favour.

It would be interesting to see how Jigawa’s top scorer Kalla Ali who has three goals to his name and compatriots Kingsley Innocent, Manir Ubale and Lala Abdulahi, who have two goals each, fare in company of Dakkada’s in-form defenders Harrison Ibukun, Imo Obot and Alalibo Somiari as well as the ever-present Osimaga Duke.

Kick-off in Uyo is at four o’clock in the afternoon while live text updates are available on Dakkada’s social media handles.

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