Fittingly, old rivals Enyimba FC and Aiteo cup Kano Pillars holders Kano Pillars meet on Sunday at the Enyimba Arena for their first meeting in the Nigeria Professional Football League 2020/21 season.
The encounter is most of the most ferocious meeting between the two Nigerian giants, as both are former champions, Enyimba FC have won the NPFL title eight times while Kano Pillars have won the title four times.
Sai Masu Gida desperately in need of a win to continue their new discover form and compete for the title this season.
After another win on Wednesday against another rival Plateau United sees climbing to third on the log with 8 points from 4 games, just behind of relentless Rangers International who are also on 8 points and Rivers United – with an impressive back to back four games winning streak of 9 points already this season in midweek, their prestigious host arrives in the unfamiliar position of the tenth, some two points behind – but with a game in hand.
Unfortunately, though, both sides were knocked out of their various continental engagements before the season kickoff, Enyimba will continue to their quest on the continent with the CAF Confederation preliminary round between the likely winners of Rivers United and Blomfoetain Celtics.
Enyimba midweek oriental derby lost to struggling Heartland FC might have given the visitors a chance to continue their discovered form or the verse versa.
Although the host scintillating attacking stats draw the most attention, Kano Pillars also have the third-best defensive record in the NPFL with a more dreaded midfield led by NPFL great Rabiu Ali who have almost 45 goals in the Sai Masu Gida colours sparing over 20 seasons with the Kano based club.
If the impossible dream is going to occur in the French-born Emmanuel Soccoia’s first season in charge, Enyimba FC must not only resist the Sai Masu Gida’s super-efficient midfield and attack on Sunday but also break a notable current run of failure against Adamawa United and Nasarawa United.
In short, all three points at the Enyimba arena are essential for both clubs – even at this relatively early stage of the season – so underperforming players in both teams are required to step up their game against a fresh-faced.
Enyimba NPFL form: WWL
Kano Pillars: WWDD
7 Jun 2019 – Kano Pillars 2-0Enyimba
18 Feb 2018 – Kano Pillars1-1Enyimba
30 Jul 2017 – Enyimba1-0Kano Pillars
5 Mar 2017 – Kano Pillars3-1Enyimba
17 Jul 2016 – Enyimba2-1Kano Pillars
4 May 2016 – Kano Pillars1-2Enyimba
19 Aug 2015 – Enyimba1-0Kano Pillars
Teams Enyimba Kano Pillars played so far 23 matches.
Enyimba won 10 direct matches. Kano Pillars won 9 matches. 4 matches ended in a draw. On average in direct matches both teams scored a 2.43 goals per Match.
Enyimba in actual season average scored 0.60 goals per match. In 1 (33.33%) matches played at home was total goals (team and opponent) Over 1.5 goals. In 0 (0.00%) matches in season 2021 played at home was total goals (team and opponent) Over 2.5 goals.
Kano Pillars average scored 1.25 goals per match in season 2021. In 2 (100.00%) matches played away was total goals (team and opponent) Over 1.5 goals. In 0 (0.00%) matches played away team was total goals (team and opponent) Over 2.5 goals.
Both clubs will be with their more integral players for the Sunday’s clash, Coach Emmanuel Soccia will be relying on the midfield maestro Rabiu Ali to continue with his form and defender jibreen Mustapha who joined the club during offseason will also be available.
Meanwhile, Enyimba FC goalkeeper Olufemi Kayode could make a return to the starting lineup after he was pulled off during the midweek clash against Heartland FC, Austin Oladapo and Victor Mbaoma are in good shape to continue up front.
Enyimba FC possible starting lineup:
Bassa; Austin Oladapo, Victor Mbaoma, Samad Kadiri,Cyril Olisema,Abiodun Adebayo,Imo Obot,Nabil Yarou, Dare Olatunji,Stanley Okorum, Sadiq Abubakar
Kano Pillars possible starting lineup:
Idrissu Ibrahim 1, Victor Dennis 27, Fahad Usman 30, Jerome Hechong 32, Ndasi Denis Kadiang 2, Auwalu Ali Malam 17, Chinedu Ike 4, Umar Hassan 38, Yusuf Bala Maigoro 31, Rabiu Ali 10, David Ebuka 24