Kwara United v Abia Warriors prediction, playing 11, team news and more | NPFL 2019-20
After a brief break to usher in the new year, hostilities would resume in the Nigerian top-flight, with 20 clubs prosecuting league fixtures across different venues in the country.
One of the matchday 12 clashes would see Kwara United host Abia Warriors at the Kwara State Stadium in Ilorin.
The two sides have enjoyed contrasting fortunes in the league to date, with the hosts one of the poorer teams so far, while Warriors have been the high-fliers.
Kwara United are currently engaged in a relegation dogfight, having won just three of their 11 matches which sees them sitting at 18th spot on the points table, while their visitors are pushing for a continental place and are currently placed 4th on the table.
Kwara United v Abia Warriors Head-To-Head
Kwara United have locked horns with Abia Warriors on three occasions in the past, with the 'Umuahia Warlords' coming out triumphant on two occasions, while United won the other remaining fixture.
The first time the two sides met was in May of the 2015/2016 season, with Abia Warriors defeating Kwara United 2-0 in Umuahia, while United exacted revenge just four months later with a 1-0 victory.
The most recent meeting between the pair came in March of 2018 and Abia Warriors were once more victorious on their home turf, winning the game 1-0.
Kwara United form guide: L W L L L
Abia Warriors Form Guide: W D W L D
Kwara United v Abia Warriors Team News
Coach Abdullahi Biffo was unveiled less than four months ago as the new Kwara United manager but the dire start to his tenure means that his job is very much on the line.
He would thus field his best side against Abia Warriors, in the hope that he can pick up the much-needed three points in front of their own fans.
For his part, Warriors coach Emmanuel Deutsch would have been impressed with the application of his wards thus far and the message of more of the same from him would be echoing in the dressing room ahead of their encounter against Abia Warriors.
Uche Okafor would likely man the goal and would be shielded by a back four comprising of Austin Oboroakpo, Parfait Jean, Innocent Gabriel, and Isaac Emeka.
The tenacious and combative Fatai Abdullahi would function as his midfield enforcer and would be complemented by Oghenetega Ebetomame and Yakub Hammed in the middle of the park.
Former FWC Abuja man Bello Lukman would hope to continue his fine run of form on the flanks and he would star opposite Ugwuka Emmanuel, while center-forward Oni Jimoh would seek to add to his five-goal tally when he leads the line at Ilorin.
Kwara United v Abia Warriors Playing 11
Kwara United Predicted XI: Abdullateef Ishola, Mutiiu Oladejo, Dede Monghara, Isah Magaji, Nwanze Christopher, Isiah Ejeh, Abdulsalam Abdulsalam, Tobi Adeyi, Sunday Adeyemi, Ajibola Adeleke, Joshua Agboola
Abia Warriors Predicted XI: Uche Okafor; Austin Oboroakpo, Parfait Jean, Innocent Gabriel; Fatai Abdullahi, Oghenetega Ebetomame, Yakub Hammed; Bello Lukman, Ugwuka Emmanuel, Oni Jimoh
Kwara United v Abia Warrior Prediction
Abia Warriors have been regulars since they first gained promotion to the top-flight in 2013 and they have proven their mettle and ability to compete with the big boys.
Although they are still in the shadows of their more illustrious city rivals Enyimba, the 'Ochendo Boys' are more than capable of beating anyone in the league on their day and given their bright start to the campaign, they would fancy their chances of securing continental football for the first time come the end of the season.
For their part, Kwara United have been something of a yo-yo team in the last few years, alternately shuffling between the top-flight and second division.
Their last participation in the NPFL came in 2017 but they were relegated after just one season and had started the current campaign in the Nigerian National League until financial troubles experienced by Delta Force saw Kwara United promoted to the top-flight in their stead.
It has been a tough return for the middle-belt club and they have struggled to make the transition to the highest level.
Though we are yet to hit the midway point of the campaign, Kwara United are already looking like sure candidates for relegation.
Their form goes in stark contrast with their visitors who have lost just one of their last seven matches and showed great determination to defeat leaders Plateau United 3-0 in Abia on matchday 11.
As such, Kwara United might find Warriors a tough hurdle to climb and their travails could continue with more dropped points.
Verdict: Kwara United 1-1 Abia WarriorsPublished 03 Jan 2020, 19:13 IST