STORIES BY PAUL EREWUBA
The race for the title of the Nigeria Premier Football League enters its home stretch with teams trying very hard to avoid relegation.
But the real race that is heading to the wire is that of the title race between leaders Plateau United, MFM, Akwa United and Enyimba of Aba.
No doubt, the top four positions and relegation-bound teams will be decided after the remaining five games.
Plateau United are looking good as strong favourites to be crowned the NPFL champions, two others, MFM and Akwa United, have outside chances competing for the title. At the rear, four clubs; Shooting Stars, Gombe United, Remo Stars and ABS are stepping up their battles for survival.
Plateau United’s 1-1 draw away at Kano Pillars on matchday-33 further strengthened their position at the top of the Nigeria Professional Football League, but playing three away games against teams battling for survival and aiming for a continental ticket in their next five games could ruin their chances of winning the title.
A home clash against title rivals MFM tomorrow will surely be a tricky one in which Kennedy Boboye’s men must win to firmly close in on the title.
On paper, Plateau United have the motivation to win their two remaining home fixtures, but nothing is certain when it comes to this NPFL, as we have seen all season. They are the form team in the division winning three games, drawing two in their last five games.
In the same vein, MFM’s goalless draw against Enyimba has also given a new twist to the title race. The Fidelis Ilechukwu tutored side are back to form now with one draw, three wins and a defeat in their last five games after hitting a bump on the road in search for their first ever NPFL title. They need to win all their remaining games and hope that Plateau United drop at least four points to stand a good chance of landing the title.
Plateau United are their greatest threat, though the Olukoya Boys still have much to do if they intend to stage a late-season surge for the title. Their opponent on Sunday, leaders Plateau, have their eyes on a different route to the title and their final game away to Enugu Rangers could be a cog in Akwa United’s chance of winning the title.
The Uyo side’s run-in begins with a home clash against Niger Tornadoes and with four key players missing due to national assignment with the CHAN Super Eagles, leaves much to be desired.In the relegation zone are Shooting Stars, Remo Stars, ABS, Gombe Utd, and Rivers Utd.