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NPFL Challenge: Sunshine’s stars to dim Shooting’s

NPFL Challenge: Sunshine’s stars to dim Shooting’s
May 10
12:02 2015
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Your favourite programme, the NPFL Challenge, is back on “air” after a week off due to an unavoidable glitch.

Our guest this week is Remi Sulola.

Remi started her journalism career in 2009 with Kayode Tijani’s Sports Focus International as his Abuja correspondent.

In 2011, she started writing a weekly column for SportsDay newspaper. She later became not just a columnist with the paper but also their Abuja reporter till January 2015 when she moved to The Nation/Sporting Life newspapers.

Brazil 2014 was her first ever World Cup as an accredited journalist. Her experience will be better served first hand.

“It was an awesome experience for me,” she said.

“I met and was able to interview some of the football stars I watch on TV. I spoke with stars like Dzeko, Pogba, Messi, Higuain, Aguero, Bergovic, Spahic. I couldn’t suppress the goose bumps!”

Her hobbies are travelling, reading, writing and watching TV. She’s not new to football challenges as she has appeared in one sponsored by a popular brewery. That explains her ease while on the NPFL Challenge’s hotseat!

ENYIMBA V GIWA FC

Remi: When two Elephants meet the grass, well this time the pitch, suffer. The People’s Elephants welcome Jos Elephants to Aba in one of the star games of the week. Giwa currently tops the league and are in buoyant mood going into this game. They picked up a point the last time the two sides met in Aba and they could repeat or better that result if striker Shaibu Ibrahim wakes up from the right side of the bed Sunday morning! But Kadiri Ikhana, Enyimba’s coach, knows Giwa too well being their manager some part of last season. I see the game ending in a draw yet I will predict a win for the home side.

Remi’s prediction: 2-0

Victor’s prediction: 1-0

LOBI STARS V EL KANEMI WARRIORS

Remi: Lobi Stars are still chasing their first win of the season after seven games. It’s highly unlikely they achieve that against the Borno Army who sit pretty on 5th place on the league table. Lobi lost 2-0 to Dolphins in their last league game and would be lucky not to suffer another loss despite playing at home. El Kanemi beat Akwa United 1-0 on Match Day 7 and I think a draw is the worst result they will get here.

Remi’s prediction: 1-1

Victor’s prediction: 2-1

lobi-Stars-players-celebrate

FC TARABA V GABROS

Remi: Gabros are on a high after beating top-side Enyimba 2-0 the last time out. They are currently second on the log and would definitely fancy their chances against FC Taraba at the Jolly Nyame Stadium. The Jalingo based team picked a point away to Sharks in Match Day 7, though. Eight points in seven games is not particularly a decent outlay, but a win here should move them up from their current 12th position. They can count on Usman Mohammed and Chinedu Ohanachom to give them the maximum points.

Remi’s prediction: 1-0

Victor’s prediction: 2-1

AKWA UNITED V SHARKS

Remi: Akwa United started the season impressively after unexpectedly picking a point in Aba against Enyimba on Match Day 1. But it has been downhill afterwards. Currently, they are only five places above the bottom placed team in the league. If things do not change for the better, coach Zakary Baraje could be the first coaching casualty of the season. It won’t get better in this game, though.

Remi’s prediction: 0-1

Victor’s prediction: 1-1

ABIA WARRIORS V KWARA UNITED

Remi: The weight of expectations seems to be overwhelming Chisom Chikatara, the star man in the ranks of Abia Warriors. The young striker has only scored three league goals, but his talent and industry deserve more. Warriors lie 9th on the log with 10 points and they face a team two steps above them. The game could go either way but being at home, Abia Warriors might just nick a win.

Remi’s prediction: 2-1

Victor’s prediction: 2-1

ABIA-PILLARS

 

ENUGU RANGERS V HEARTLAND

Remi: Rangers go into this game on the back of three consecutive defeats. Heartlands are not covered in glory either as they have been poor of late. Their last game ended in an embarrassing 3-0 loss at home to Sunshine Stars. This derby of troubled coaches – Kelechi Emeotole of Rangers and Erasmus Onu of Heartland – should live up to the billing as the star match of the week on paper and pitch.

Remi’s prediction: 2-1

Victor’s prediction: 0-0

SUNSHINE STARS V SHOOTING STARS

Remi: Both teams go into this “derby” on a bounce. Sunshine spanked Heartland 3-0 in front of their faithful in Owerri while Shooting defeated Kano Pillars 1-0 in their rescheduled game in Ibadan. This game is too close to call and I will rather sit on the fence here.

Victor: There’s no sidon look in the NPFL Challenge!

Remi: Hmmmm…Okay, if you insist, I go for a win for Stars…Sunshine Stars!

Remi’s prediction: 1-0

Victor’s prediction: 2-1

BAYELSA UNITED V DOLPHINS

Remi: Fatigue could come to play here as Dolphins played their rescheduled league game against Warri Wolves on Thursday and that’s three games, if you include this, in seven days! That match ended goalless in Port Harcourt but playing Bayelsa United who lost their last league game in Jos to Giwa could come see them come out of it with nothing. Five places separate both sides on the log with host Bayelsa on 17th position and Dolphins on 12th. It won’t count for much, though, as Bayelsa should pick the maximum points at stake.

Remi’s prediction: 3-1

Victor’s prediction: 1-1

bayelsa utd..

WARRI WOLVES V NASARAWA UNITED

Remi: Warri Wolves have been distracted by their continental engagement and they could only pick up a point in their rescheduled league game against Dolphins on Thursday. Nasarawa have so far lost all their games on the road and they shouldn’t expect a change in fortune against a team backed by a vociferous home support in Warri.

Remi’s prediction: 2-0

Victor’s prediction: 3-1

KANO PILLARS V WIKKI TOURISTS

Remi: League champions Kano Pillars have not started this campaign on a bright note. After five games (they have two outstanding matches), they have won only two and lost the rest. Luckily, this tie is in their fortress – Sani Abacha Stadium – where they have not lost any match in 11 years! I don’t see Wikki tarnishing that feat despite being 4th on the log.

Remi’s prediction: 3-0

Victor’s prediction: 3-1

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH REMI SULOLA

remi

Remi with South Africa’s coach Shakes Mashaba

 

WHICH TEAM AMONG THE 20 NPFL CLUBS DO YOU SUPPORT?

I was born and brought up in Lagos – Obalende to be precise. I grew up watching football games at the St. Gregory’s football pitch. Some weekends, I, my elder brother and one or two of his friends will go to the Onikan bridge to perch on to watch Stationery Stores FC play. I was just enthralled with the round leather game. I wasn’t much into any particular club side then but more into the players and which team played better. I could say late Muda Lawal and my uncle, Sam Ojebode made me love IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan while late Haruna Ilerika “the Master Dribbler” – one of the best midfield maestros Nigeria ever had – endeared me to Stationery Stores.

WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE CURRENT PLAYER?

Hmmmmmmm. A tough one but I will pick Mfon Udoh. This is so because of his confidence on and off the pitch of play. He is one of the few players that I see with a sense of purpose and direction, on and off the pitch.

WHEN DID YOU GO TO YOUR FIRST LEAGUE MATCH?

In the 80’s. I remember I was in primary school then. And it was a game between Stationery Stores and Iwuanyanwu Nationale of Owerri, where Stores beat Iwuanyanwu 3-0. I watched from one of the trees close to the Onikan Stadium!

WHO WAS YOUR FIRST LEAGUE HERO?

Haruna Ilerika was my first League hero because of his entertainment-like style of play. The way he dribbles and uses his left leg to score some great goals for his club then.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MATCH?

There are many of them but will still stick to the game between Stationery Stores and Iwuanyanwu Nationale of Owerri, where Iwuanyanwu were beaten from the fluid and entertaining style of play by Super Stores.

IF YOU HAD A TIME-MACHINE, WHICH LEAGUE PLAYER OR TEAM WOULD YOU GO BACK AND SEE PLAY?

1990: Iwuanyanwu Nationale beat Stationery Stores of Lagos in Lagos in a Professional League’s commemorative game 2–1. Nationale went on to emerge the first pro league winners in Nigeria. And I would give anything to see Haruna Ilerika in the Stores’ midfield where he dribbled the opponent non-stop.

WHO HAS BEEN THE MOST INTERESTING LEAGUE PERSON YOU HAVE INTERVIEWED?

mfon...

 

Well, I have not really interviewed many of the NPFL players but among the few ones I have had the opportunity to have interviewed, Mfon Udoh of Enyimba stood out for me with his command of English and attitude.

So, that’s the programme this week. Join us same time next week for another interesting edition of the NPFL Challenge!

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